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Dvorak said that he had received a slew of screenshots--actually PowerPoint slides--from a Microsoft developer which supposedly showed off the interface for the next consumer Windows. Not Neptune, but an interesting Activity Center design study Microsoft finally admitted that the images did come from within the company but that they were never intended to be the final UI.

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Instead, it was just a study to see what a task-based Windows interface might look like. The thing is more of a disservice to customers at this point because it doesn't represent something they can realize the benefits of today. One Neptune build did make it to testers, This build showed off some early work on the new logon screen "Welcome" in Windows XP" and an activity center-based User Accounts control panel.

But Neptune was never meant to be: Clashes over previously promised features and a desire to do something new with the product eventually doomed this project. Build was the only build of Neptune to make it out to testers What really killed Neptune, of course, is what killed so many other Microsoft projects: It had inherited all of the then-unready baggage from previous OSes--Windows and Millennium--and didn't have a clear purpose of its own, aside from collecting all of the features that didn't make it in previous releases.

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Microsoft had originally intended for Millennium to be at the center of its aborted "EasyPC" initiative, but that 9x-based OS wasn't up to the task. So Neptune's primary feature-set--a task-based UI with deep digital media integration--was in jeopardy. Instead of trying to make it all work, Microsoft regrouped. And in late December , they cancelled Neptune and its business oriented cousin, code-named Odyssey, and set about to make things right.

I was the first person to reveal this change to the public, though Microsoft employees returning to work after Christmas break were told of the plan changes in an internal memo. The memo outlines an even more basic plan as well, where products would be developed more quickly, with fewer features, rather than in massive three-year development cycles. Not coincidentally, I recommended this very change to Microsoft when I concluded that the development of Windows which stretched from mid to late proves that long-term, monolithic software development was a thing of the past.

But the ramifications would be felt for months afterward. Microsoft has cancelled the previously separate "Neptune" and "Odyssey" projects, I wrote, melding the two into a cohesive strategy for the future of Windows And "Odyssey" was the previous codename for the next version of Windows for businesses. My sources tell me that the consumer version of Neptune became a black hole when all the features that were cut from Millennium Windows 98 Third Edition, due this summer were simply re-tagged as Neptune features.

And since Neptune and Odyssey would be based on the same code-base anyway, it made sense to combine them into a single project, in the same way that Windows Professional and Server were tested together. What's the codename for this revamped next-generation version of Windows that will come in business and consumer flavors, you ask?

It's called "Whistler. Whistler Build Immediately, every major computer news outlet on the planet picked up the story. Microsoft had made sweeping product changes before, of course, but this was the first one in the always-on, wired Internet age, and the world wanted to know more. Three days later, I summed up the changed in an analysis piece called Future Windows still in flux. The company was looking for a software engineer that [could] design and develop a new "basic [user interface] framework for [Windows that will] provide modern UI features.

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That next-generation user interface was later incorporated into Whistler under the code-name "Luna. I reported that Blackcomb was designed to be quicker than Windows , as NT 3. And the basic engine, or kernel, would be much changed in Blackcomb, though the basic set of functions it performs would not.

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Improvements to Active Directory were in the works for Blackcomb as well. NET, "Dot Net". The reorg was destined to fail, and soon did, but not before Allchin and Maritz butted heads over strategy.

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Maritz left the company less than a year later, with Allchin taking sole control of Windows. The company said that Whistler would feature a componentized architecture that would allow systems makers to strip away various layers of the operating system so that it would work well on even the smallest handheld devices. Whistler build So when you log off your applications can still be in the background running exactly where you left them, and someone else can log on. This allows people to simultaneously use the same computer. A new version of Windows Media Player was shown off, as was a speech interface.

Both of these products will be built from the same code base, they'll use the same device drivers; they'll have the same kinds of application compatibility. This, we think, is an enormous step forward for the industry, as it lets us all focus our development investments, our testing investments, our investments in quality and features in one environment to address both those market segments. This represents design concepts that we're working on right now, as to what the user interface of the Whistler product may look like.

Given the importance of the consumer market to the Whistler release, this program also introduces "Whistler Personal" intended for focused, key consumer testers. This is not an evaluation-based program. In June, Microsoft was caught up in excitement over its. The company held a late June meeting with industry analysts to unveil the technology, and noted that future versions of Windows would be called Windows. Eventually, the company said,. NET, and not Windows, would be its primary platform.

How to Tweak Windows XP and Stop Worrying About the Apocalypse

In the meantime, however, the Whistler beta began with a promise to ship the first milestone release--Beta later that year. The company also released its first build to testers, build , on July Whistler build closely resembled Windows and Windows Me and didn't appear to offer many new features, but it did offer the first glimpse at the new UI technology, which went through a lot of names before its final release.

In build , it was called "Visual Styles," and this build featured what would have been the "Professional" later "Watercolor" theme, which was dropped in January Firstly the updates are designed for Windows Embedded Industry not Windows XP and while that should not matter, it is possible there may be some compatibility issues. Secondly — and most importantly - it is impossible to say whether these hacks will keep working until support ends for Windows Embedded Industry in or if Microsoft will close this loophole. The cynical viewpoint is Microsoft would prefer users to move to a newer operating system so closing the loophole would be in its interest.

Either way Microsoft is left in a tricky situation. I am an experienced freelance technology journalist. I began in b Share to facebook Share to twitter Share to linkedin Forget Wolverine, clearly there is nothing more difficult to kill than Windows XP. This is how you do it: 1.

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