Microsoft today released the first collection of Windows
2000 bug fixes, a move that could help spur adoption of the corporate
Availability of the service pack, which corrects bugs in Windows 2000 and enhances existing features, is expected to be an important event for Microsoft. Many industry analysts, among them Gartner and International Data Corp., had recommended that the bulk of businesses wait until the release of the first service pack before moving to Windows 2000.
Release of the service pack, available at the main Windows
Web site, could help Microsoft pick up more Windows 2000 Server
installations at a time when Linux is rapidly grabbing market share. In 1999, Linux
scooted past Novell's Netware to become the No. 2 server operating system
behind Microsoft's Windows NT, according to IDC.
As previously reported, Microsoft yesterday quietly posted the 83MB service pack file, called
Windows 2000 SP 1, on three Web sites: A, B and C.
These files are administrative versions used by network managers, and
Microsoft is expected to offer at least one smaller service pack for people
looking to update individual PCs.
Among the fixes included in Windows 2000 SP1: security issues involving
administrator passwords; memory leaks; network identification and access
problems; and issues setting up and administrating directory services.
Mark Croft, lead product manager for Microsoft's Windows 2000 group, said the service pack fixes problems in four main areas: reliability, applications and hardware compatibility, installation and security problems.
"It's what I call fit and finish," Croft said, acknowledging that Windows 2000 sales may improve after the release of SP1, especially to small and mid-size businesses without the information technology resources of larger corporations. "What we're saying is you should evaluate the role the service pack has to play. We're really not going out to the world saying you have to install it tomorrow."
Microsoft will release these bug fixes
|Gartner analysts Michael Silver and John Enck say the effect of releasing the first collection of Windows 2000
bug fixes needs to be viewed from two perspectives: client
every six months, Croft said, with the next round slated for delivery next February. "With Windows 2000, we said we would regularize service pack delivery schedules," he said.
In a Web posting, the Redmond, Wash.-based software company had said the service pack would be available today from the Microsoft Windows 2000 Web site or by using the operating system's Windows Update feature.
This would not be the first time Microsoft has put a service pack on the
Internet before its official release. Typically, Windows enthusiasts and
network administrators monitoring newsgroups spread word of a service pack's
availability, acting as a last line of real-world testing.
In fact, Paul Thurrott, editor of the "WinInfo" email newsletter, is
already reporting problems with the service pack. Thurrott said the service
pack disables two popular personal firewall software packages, ZoneAlarm
from Zone Labs and NetworkICE's BlackICE.
Microsoft released the service
pack to beta testers in May and said a final version would be ready as early as last week.
The collection of bug fixes, many of which address problems with server
versions of Windows 2000, could be a boon for sales.
Though Gartner recommended that corporations wait until the release of
the first service pack before moving to the server versions of Windows 2000, it found the operating system to be robust and stable enough for corporate desktops.
But in February the market researcher warned that one in four companies
moving to Windows 2000 in the next two years would run into troubles making
the operating system work with existing systems and software. The market
researcher concluded that 50 percent of midsize and large corporations would encounter new compatibility problems with Windows 2000, some of which might be resolved by the release of SP 1.
Windows 2000 should not be confused with Windows Me, or Millennium Edition.
Windows Me, expected to ship in September, is targeted at
consumers, while Windows 2000 is Microsoft's upgrade for corporate customers
using Windows NT, 95 or 98.
The service pack can be applied to all available versions of
Windows 2000: Professional, aimed at corporate laptops and desktops; Server,
for low-end servers; and Advanced Server, for more powerful machines with as
many as eight processors. A fourth version, Windows 2000 Data Center, was
expected to be available within four months of the other versions but has
By the end of this year, about 20 percent of Windows 9x and NT notebooks and
desktops are expected to be upgraded to Windows 2000, and about 45
percent by the end of 2001, according to Gartner. Server adoption is
expected to be slower, with only 6 percent of Windows NT Server users moving
to Windows 2000 Server.