Microsoft previews Memphis

Microsoft showed off several key features of Memphis--the code-name for the next version of Windows 95--and Windows NT 5.0 yesterday at the TechEd conference in Orlando, Florida. Both operating systems are due in early to mid-1998.

Web View, a merger of the tradition file system view with the one-click access used by Web browsers, will be added to Explorer and My Computer, according to Microsoft program manager Bernard Wong. Another Web-based feature, called Active Desktop, allows live Web content to be placed on the Windows desktop. Both Memphis and NT 5.0 Workstation will support a feature called "Enhanced PC" that allows TV broadcast-quality video and HTML code to be displayed simultaneously in a browser window. Windows Scripting Host allows developers and users to "script" the Windows shell in a manner similar to DOS batch files. A new feature called Web Share caches Web data and network data so that users can browse these resources even when they are offline.

Administrative features are being added as well. Code Download Manager allows a Web server to determine whether your system has the proper drivers and system software. If not, it can install the necessary files automatically. Super SysEdit lets administrators determine which drivers are loaded when the system boots. A new tool for help desks called Windows Management Instrumentation collects device performance information and passes it on to system performance monitoring tools through SNMP and other Internet protocols.

Microsoft is also adding multi-monitor support to Memphis and Windows NT 5.0. The multi-display support will split the standard desktop view across two or more monitors. The monitors can be positioned next to each other on a desk, or stacked on top of each other.

Bernard Wong says that Web authors \[and presumably programmers\] can take advantage of this capability by driving each monitor at different display resolutions to see how Web sites \[or application programs\] look on different systems. Each video card in a multi-monitor setup has to be PCI- based and the primary adapter must be a Windows driver, according to Wong.

Wong mentioned that Memphis will go to manufacturing by the end of 1997 and that beta testing for Windows NT 5.0 will begin by mid-year with a release expected in 1998

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