Microsoft is on track to release the first full test version (Beta 1) of the next major Windows release by the end of June. The final version of Longhorn is slated for the second half of next year. Beta 1 will be the first look at Longhorn in its current form. Microsoft released a developer preview version of Windows at the Professional Developers Conference in the fall of 2003 and updated that early code last spring. Microsoft has not talked a great deal about what features will be part of the beta release but revealed many of the updates have to do with improving the “operational characteristics” of the operating system–basically making Windows easier to manage and more reliable. Among the changes will be a new model for drivers–the bits of code that allow Windows to work effectively with hardware add-ons such as graphic cards and peripherals. Another improvement will come in the way businesses are able to install Windows on large numbers of machines.

Microsoft is on track to release the first full test version (Beta 1) of the next major Windows release by the end of June. The final version of Longhorn is slated for the second half of next year. Beta 1 will be the first look at Longhorn in its current form. Microsoft released a developer preview version of Windows at the Professional Developers Conference in the fall of 2003 and updated that early code last spring. Microsoft has not talked a great deal about what features will be part of the beta release but revealed many of the updates have to do with improving the “operational characteristics” of the operating system–basically making Windows easier to manage and more reliable. Among the changes will be a new model for drivers–the bits of code that allow Windows to work effectively with hardware add-ons such as graphic cards and peripherals. Another improvement will come in the way businesses are able to install Windows on large numbers of machines.