Microsoft announced via email to its beta testers on Thursday, November 18 that Windows 2000 (Win2K) Release Candidate 3 (RC3) is now available for download. Only a few beta testers will receive the CD-ROM version. (For those of you who are counting, RC3 is build 2183.) If you need the disc version, contact Microsoft at [email protected], and include your beta ID in the message.
Unlike the multitude of changes that accompanied RC2, the current Win2K interface in RC3 has few or no changes from RC2. The bulk of the changes are application fixes and device-driver updates.
Ever since build 2176, installing Win2K requires that you enter a unique Product Key during setup. If you’re a member of the beta test program, you can obtain your Product Key from Microsoft's Win2K beta Web site. You’ll receive Product Keys for both Win2K Server and Win2K Professional (Win2K Pro) after you enter your six-digit beta ID and password. After successfully retrieving your Product Keys, you can return to that site to get the keys again should you lose them.
The RC3 files available for download include:
• Windows 2000 Professional RC3 Build 2183 for x86-based systems
• Windows 2000 Server RC3 Build 2183 for x86-based systems
• Windows 2000 RC3 Build 2183 Customer Support Diagnostics (includes Books Online and Debugging Symbols)
• Release Notes (read1st.txt and relnotes.doc)
• Windows 2000 Professional RC3 Build 2183 Bootdisk Directory (used to create bootable floppy disk set)
• Windows 2000 Server RC3 Build 2183 Bootdisk Directory (used to create bootable floppy disk set)
• Windows 2000 Advanced Server RC3 Build 2183 Bootdisk Directory (used to create bootable floppy disk set)
• Windows 2000 Professional Checked RC3 Build 2183 for x86-based systems
• Windows 2000 Professional Checked RC3 Build 2183 Bootdisk Directory (used to create bootable floppy disk set)
Files to be available for download at Microsoft's Win2K beta FTP site shortly include:
• Microsoft Platform SDK for Windows 2000 RC3
• Windows 2000 RC3 Driver Development Kit
• Windows 2000 Advanced Server RC3 Build 2183 for x86-based systems
You can obtain further download information from Microsoft. Once you log in with your beta ID and password, switch to the directory /outgoing/nt5/build2183. After you download the software from the FTP site, run the executable from the command line to create a subdirectory and populate the files from the archive. Then, run Setup from the \i386 directory to initiate the installation. The software times out 444 days after you install it, and your license to use this beta version remains in effect until the commercial version of Win2K ships in February 2000. Microsoft suggests that you read the preinstallation notes in the read1st.txt file in your root directory before running Setup. Also, read the comprehensive setup and installation instructions in text files in the /setuptxt directory. Microsoft also recommends that you print and read the online release notes. Readme.doc is in the root directory, and it addresses important network, hardware, application, and printing usage information.