Welcome to Windows 2000 Pro UPDATE, a new email newsletter from Windows NT Magazine. I'm John Ruley, former senior technology editor at WINDOWS Magazine. As a long-time Windows NT user (I wrote the book Networking Windows NT, and have been using the system full-time on my desktops since NT 3.1 beta), I've been a fan of Microsoft's power desktop OS—and I look forward to keeping you up-to-date.

This week's major news is that Windows 2000 (Win2K) Release Candidate 2 (RC2) is out. It's build 2128, and Microsoft must be getting pretty comfortable with it because the company removed the usual nondisclosure agreement (NDA) restrictions on writing about RC2. I've been running the OS for more than a week, and on my system (an AST Pentium Pro-200 that I recently upgraded to 96MB), RC2 has been extremely stable, at least so far.

I'd like to say that RC2 is fully compatible with my hardware—but that wouldn't be completely true. I'm waiting for Microsoft and various OEM partners to sort out who's responsible for writing some new drivers—in my case, I need a driver for an HP OfficeJet 710 printer/scanner/fax device. I bought the device several months ago because it came with NT 4.0 drivers in the box, so I thought running under Win2K would be a cinch. Not so. I can print in color, using the DeskJet 560/660C drivers (thanks to Bill Bauman, who pointed this out in the news://microsoft.public.win2000.beta.printing newsgroup), but I can’t scan or fax. Neither Microsoft nor HP has been particularly helpful in providing beta users with answers about when (or if) this situation will improve. That's particularly annoying, given that one improvement to RC2 for desktop users is supposed to be improved support for multifunction devices. In fairness, RC2 provides huge improvements to the server—especially with respect to administering Active Directory (AD). If you're an IT specialist, you'll definitely want to give RC2 a long look.

In other respects, I'm pretty happy with RC2, and I have enough confidence to use it full time. I'll let you know what problems I'm experiencing (and the workarounds) in future columns. You can tell me what problems you're having and what topics interest you. Feel free to email me at jruley@winntmag.com.

Thanks for reading, and I'll be back next week with more Win2K Pro news and tips.