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From MCP TechMentor: "Don't Wait for Whistler"

Brian Komar, contract program manager with Microsoft's Official Curriculum team, details benefits of pushing through Windows 2000 efforts instead of waiting for Windows XP.

Orlando, Florida -- The next version of Windows finally gets a new name -- Windows XP -- but like the partial name change, "it's an incremental upgrade," said Brian Komar, contract program manager from Microsoft's Official Curriculum team, during his opening keynote speech at the MCP TechMentor Conference in Orlando.

"Don't wait for Whistler," he said, likening the upgrade from Windows 2000 to Windows XP to the upgrade companies experienced in moving from version Windows NT 3.5 to NT 3.51. "The designs you create today for Windows will come through for Whistler," said Komar assuredly. He adds that adapting to and designing networks within the Win2K infrastructure may even help you cope with existing reliability problems. "Active Directory can be used today to solve your problems."

Although he seemed to de-emphasize Windows XP, Komar didn't waste time in calling this version "the most dependable Windows ever," then listed a few of the new interface and management features:

  • Multiple profiles on one machine that can be in use simultaneously. For example, one person can use one profile to do a download from a secure site, while somebody else can run a program using the second profile on that same machine. Neither person can toggle between the other person's applications. These profiles can be quickly created by a non-technical user through a wizard.
  • A task bar that offers a summary function with a pop-up listing each document or spreadsheet currently open. For example, if a user has 20 Outlook messages open, the task bar will show "Outlook (20)" and allow immediate access to those messages.
  • The new Credential Manager will offer single-sign-on capabilities across Windows servers.
  • Active Directory will include drag and drop capabilities for managing objects and a Resultant Set of Policies feature. This will allow administrators to identify policies that have been applied to a given object and perform what-if scenarios before committing changes.

Microsoft seems to be taking a stand on what version of Windows the company expects businesses to upgrade to in the corporate environment. Komar estimated that 95 percent of the top one thousand applications for Windows 9x will work on Whistler. But what's key is that computers sporting Windows XP Personal will no longer be allowed to join a domain. "In business, Personal won't work," he stressed.

How does Windows XP fit into the .NET? Komar stated, "Whistler is the 1.0 .NET release." He reiterated that .NET will encompass ISA Server, Application Center, Commerce Server, BizTalk Server, SQL Server, Exchange Server, and Host Integration Server. "Everything will be tied together by developers using Visual Studio.NET."

Komar says an Windows XP client will likely go to its second beta in the next few weeks, with a release candidate being available in spring. He said that Microsoft hopes to release Windows XP to manufacturers sometime in the first half of this year, with Server, Advanced Server, Datacenter, and Embedded versions to follow thereafter.

To read Microsoft's official press release regarding the Windows name change, go to http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2001/Feb01/02-05NamingPR.asp.

-- Dian L. Schaffhauser and Manuel Rodriguez from Orlando

Excerpts from Brian Komar's keynote:

  • Let's first look at these Active Directory enhancements. There's been a few things that people were aware of....
    komar-ad.wma (5MB; 5 min. 28 sec.)
  • People like icons for some reason. This goes back to Windows 3.51...They've really improved the icons in here....
    komar-iu.wma (2.9MB; 3 min. 6 sec.)
  • One of the goals of Whistler is unification of the code base....
    komar-design.wma (4.9MB; 5 min. 13 sec.)

[To listen to the audio excerpts, we recommend Windows Media Player 7 or newer. We also recommend that you download the files to your hard drive to listen at optimal quality.]

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