The next major consumer version of Windows--currently due sometime in 2000--will include a parental lock feature that will allow parents to block the use of violent games by children. Dubbed "Windows Game Manager," the feature is similar to the Content Advisor in Internet Explorer, which allows parents to block adult Web sites. For the system to work, however, game companies will need to code some sort of compatible rating binary into each of the games they produce.

Microsoft, which abandoned its plans for using the Windows NT core of Windows 2000 for consumer products, will instead base its next "Consumer Windows" (as we'll call it for simplicity) on Windows 95 and 98. The Windows 9x operating systems are based on MS-DOS, a 16-bit operating system that dates back to 1981