Microsoft will release two important public betas in time for Fall Comdex: Windows 98 beta 3 and Hydra beta 1. The limited beta of Hydra, the code-name for the upcoming multi-user version of Windows NT, will be formally announced at Comdex. The Windows 98 beta, which will be open to the public, will be available by the end of the month.

Hydra allows multiple "thin client" machines--Windows Terminals running Windows CE 2.0--to run Windows applications remotely from a Hydra-enabled Windows NT 4.0 Server machine. Hydra systems will be lower cost and maintenance because they are less expensive and complex.

As for Windows 98, the oft-delayed Beta 3 version of the OS will be made publicly available, similar to the public test of Windows 95 in April 1995. Windows 98 lost a lot of steam when it became more and more delayed this year. As a result, Microsoft will likely release the OS at the same time as Windows NT 5.0, sometime in mid-1998. Windows 98 includes IE 4.0 and Windows 3.1 migration tools