When Windows 2000 becomes generally available on February 17th, Microsoft Corporation will be offering the new operating system in a 128-bit encrypted version that will be sold outside of the United States. It's the first such product to be shipped internationally under a new relaxed federal encryption law that went into effect last week. Microsoft worked with U.S. regulators to ensure that the 128-bit encrypted version of Windows 2000 would be approved for export.

"Windows 2000 will be the most secure operating system Microsoft has ever shipped, and we are excited to be able to further extend this security for our international customers via 128-bit encryption," said Brian Valentine, senior VP of Microsoft's Windows Division. "In addition, we are pleased to have worked so closely with the federal government in developing a security solution that benefits all international computer users."

All four versions of Windows 2000--Professional, Server, Advanced Server, and DataCenter Server (which won't ship until mid-year)--will be available in 128-bit versions worldwide, and the non-encrypted versions can be updated easily via the Microsoft Windows Update Web site. Previously, international customers had to make do with less secure products because of U.S. encryption export laws