NT Service Pack 4.0 released

Microsoft chooses the season's largest networking show to release the latest additions to its corporate operating system.

ATLANTA--Microsoft chose the season's largest networking-oriented event to unveil the latest additions to its Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 operating system.

The release of NT's fourth service pack here at Networld+Interop follows the posting of upgrade documentation on the company's Web site last weekend. For Microsoft, service packs have essentially replaced "point releases" as a way to introduce new features to an existing piece of software.

Along with the previously reported features--support for the new euro currency symbol, various Year 2000 patches, and fixes for various and sundry issues--the service pack includes about 40 components the company has completed for the next upgrade, NT 5.0, Microsoft executives said. The goal is to make it easier for users to begin implementing 5.0 technology, despite ever-slipping ship dates for the final version of the software. NT 5.0 is now expected to ship in the second half of next year.

The service pack is available for download on Microsoft's Web site.

Separately, both Hewlett-Packard and Data General announced programs to guarantee uptime for Windows NT-based systems, an unheard of promise when NT 4.0 first shipped. "I don't think a year ago those companies would be comfortable making that guarantee," said Ed Muth, group product manager for Windows NT Server.

Also, Microsoft announced that PC maker Dell Computer will replace over 200 server systems running versions of Novell's NetWare operating system with about 25 Windows NT-based systems as part of a year 2000 roll out.