Editor's Desk

The New Windows

These four feature areas seem to be the most compelling of the new single-codebase Windows.

According to Microsoft, you can expect the client and server versions of Whistler, Microsoft’s next version of Windows, to be in second beta close to the time you read this. I hereby list four of the feature areas I find most intriguing in this new single-codebase Windows.

Credential Manager. Rather than typing in your security credentials every time you want to use a particular application — whether online or off — this component, working with Microsoft’s Passport service, should forevermore associate you and your credentials with those particular apps.

Remote Assistance. Take the concept of instant messaging, add it to the remote-control functionality already offered in Terminal Services, and put it to the client side. You now have an intuitive way for users to yell, "Help," and for you to take over their machines and find out what the problem is without leaving your chair. And, no, it won’t require Exchange 2000 to make happen.

Cross-directory management. No, we won’t see pruning and grafting tools per se in Whistler, but we will get tools that are steppingstones. You can expect the ability to manage multiple forests. Likewise, watch for improvements in the AD Migration Tool. While we’re on the topic, I like Resultant Set of Policies (RSoP) too. This tells you which policies are attached to which objects. Even better, a what-if tool lets you see what effect a given change will have.

Snapshot. Take a point-in-time image of your system and use that as your backup. Need to create a new Domain Controller? Snapshot will keep your system up and running while you work in the background. Along the same lines, RIS — Remote Installation Services — will surface for your servers, not just your client boxes. As MCPs, of course, you’re probably concerned about the effect of Whistler’s arrival on your latest certification efforts. According to Microsoft, between October and December the rate of request for Windows 2000 exams more than tripled compared to the three previous months. (Although the Training and Services folks won’t reveal Win2K-based MCSE counts under Win2K, they will say they saw growth of 129 percent in that same time period.) The good news: Whistler shouldn’t slow your momentum.

Some in the certification business have suggested any new Whistler-oriented exams would live alongside the existing ones and that if new exams did surface, they wouldn't mandate the retirement of the current roster. But I suspect Microsoft will simply seed that current roster with new questions that are specific to Whistler. Remember: If all works as it should in the testing business, you aren't supposed to see the same exam your neighbor gets. [Since the time of this writing, of course, Microsoft has announced different plans for its Whistler-related tests. Those are covered in MCPmag.com's News at http://www.mcpmag.com/news/default.asp?url=010209. — Ed.]

What do you hope Whistler includes? Tell me at dian.schaffhauser@mcpmag.com.

About the Author

Dian L. Schaffhauser is a freelance writer based in Northern California.

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