If you've been following the SuperSite for a while now, you've probably been expecting to see my coverage of Millennium begin with the release of Beta 1. Well so was I, actually. But Microsoft has decided not to supply the press with copies of Millennium Beta 1 because the product, at this point in time, doesn't accurately reflect the way it will look and feel when it's released in mid-to-late 2000. According to my contacts at Waggener Edstrom and Microsoft, the features in Millennium Beta 1 are largely structural, dealing with changes to the underpinnings of the operating system.

OK, I understand. So in the days leading up to Millennium Beta 2, which I'm hoping to see by the end of 1999 (update: It was released in November 1999), I'll be supplying some analytical articles that look at the things we're likely to see in Millennium. These include the removal of Real Mode DOS, the driver signing issue, HTML-based Activity Centers and anything else we can think of. If you've got a burning desire to know more about Millennium, just let me know. I'll write it up here or in the FAQ.

Anyway, here's what we know so far:

  • Millennium will be packaged as a point release upgrade, similar to Windows 98 and Windows 98 SE.
  • Plans for HTML-based Activity Centers have allegedly been scrapped. But I've seen at least four Activity Centers, Help Center, System Restore, Media Center, and Photo Center, in early builds of Millennium. We should know more by the time beta 2 is released.
  • Support for Real Mode DOS has been canned: You cannot boot into DOS mode or reboot into MS-DOS.
  • The user interface will not be dramatically different. In fact, it will be almost identical to Windows 2000.

If you've got more info about Millennium, I'm listening: Let me know!