You have to give Microsoft credit: After delaying the release of Windows NT 5.0 Beta 2 over a year, the company brings almost 200 members of the press to Seattle, releases Beta 2 to over 250,000 testers, and now all bets are off: Windows NT 5.0 looks stable and ready for prime time, despite the fact that it's still almost a year away from release.

Maybe it was the food.

I'm going to be writing a full review of the Workshop this weekend, which I will publish to the WUGNET WinInfo Web site. In the meantime, I can tell you this: Windows NT 5.0 is basically done. It's complete. Sure, there are little things that need to be addressed, and the company will spend the next several months tweaking it, speeding it up a bit, and massaging it into release mode. But NT 5.0--the golden dodo of vaporware until this very week--is suddenly, surprisingly, ready for prime time.

Some key points from the Workshop:

  • Personalized menus in NT 5.0 were taken from Office 2000.

  • NT 5.0 will be a KILLER mobile platform with one-button synchronization that will just blow you away.

  • Faster than Windows 98 on systems with more than 32 MB of RAM.

  • Hardware requirements are identical to NT 4.0.

  • Hardware support will be better than Windows 98, with full USB, PnP, 1394, ACPI, DirectX 6.0 hardware support, and more.

  • NT 5.0 will really address the "Total Cost of Ownership" (TCO) issue in ways that NT 4.0 can't even touch.

  • Microsoft is working to resolve "DLL hell" where applications overwrite key system DLLs. The system will be self-healing.
OK, that's just a taste! Stay tuned for a huge review this weekend!

Also starting this weekend will be a weekly "NT 5.0 Technology showcase" feature that will highlight a specific area of NT 5.0, explain what it means, how it works, and how it will make your life better (or worse). I'll probably produce the piece each Friday if all goes according to plan, and post a version on the Web site that includes screenshots