Earlier this week, the company sent to a select set of testers what it is calling a beta release of Service Pack 2 for Windows 2000. Service packs are collections of bug fixes and patches but not new product features.
While Microsoft wouldn't talk about the types of bugs that SP2 will aim to fix, executives did confirm that the company released to testers a beta of the service pack.
Company executives also declined to offer any indication as to when Microsoft might make the final version of SP2 available.
Microsoft released the final version of Service Pack 1 for Windows 2000 in July. The company has said to expect regular fixes to its operating system products on a fairly frequent, possibly quarterly, basis.
Testing sources noted that, according to the beta code, SP2 is designated as "RC 2.52," or release-candidate 2.52. Release candidates, in Microsoft parlance, usually are the near-final beta releases of a product.
The Windows enthusiast site ActiveWin.com posted a list of what it said were some of the fixes included in the service pack beta.
"There are not any new features in this SP2 update, however, as Microsoft wants the service packs to focus mainly on fixes of existing bugs," said ActiveWin principal Bob Stein. "The vast majority of these bugs deal with hardware, driver, networking and security problems."
Microsoft shipped most of the Windows 2000 versions in February. The company released its high-end Windows 2000 Datacenter Server product in September.
Now the company is in the midst of developing its Windows 2000 successor, code-named Whistler, which is due to ship in the latter half of 2001. Whistler Beta 1 shipped to testers in late October.