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MS tunes up Windows NT

Microsoft releases an Option Pack for Windows NT Server 4.0 that includes a new version of its Web server and communications software.

On the eve of its annual Professional Developer's Conference, Microsoft (MSFT) posted a new package of enhancements for its Windows NT Server version 4.0 operating system.

Dubbed the Option Pack, the suite of software tools includes the third beta version of Internet Information Server 4.0, previously code-named K2, and a set of communications technologies called BaseCamp that provide secure connections across the public Internet.

Also included in the release are third beta versions of the Personal Web Server 4.0 for Windows 95 and NT Workstation, Message Queue Server 1.0, Certificate Server 1.0, Index Server 2.0, and Site Server Express 2.0. A version of Internet Explorer 4.0 for Windows NT Workstation is also included.

The Option Pack strategy means that other periodic upgrades released by Microsoft called Service Packs will now contain bug fixes, as they were originally intended, said analysts. Microsoft had been supplying both bug fixes and new software in the Service Packs, said Dwight Davis, editor of Windows Watcher.

The Option Pack is available for download at Microsoft's Web site.

Microsoft officials said the third beta version IIS 4.0 would be the last before a final version of the free add-on for Windows NT Server 4.0 is released.