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MS unique IDs to reappear in Win2k

Unique IDs are in the PC99 spec uniquely for Win2k's purposes. Go figure...

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The addendum to the Intel-Microsoft PC99 specification, PC99a, finally shipped a few days ago. It was originally due in April, in time for Microsoft's WinHEC, but shenanigans over operating system roadmapping seems to have torpedoed that. PC99a is now therefore out in time to furrow brows at Computex Taipei instead. The specification is intended, as with all PC9x specs, to provide manufacturers with design guidelines for the next generation of machines. On a preliminary reading there doesn't seem to be that much to furrow brows, but a "clarification" on unique system ID numbers is intriguing. "The initial use of the unique system ID will be for creating a Machine Account Object for the Windows 2000 Remote Installation Services." (our italics) System ID numbering by both Microsoft and Intel has of course come in for a lot of flak of late, but it's something that's been in PC99 for over a year, and the clarification shows that Wintel (or possibly just Microsoft here, because it's Win2k-specific) isn't backing off. The original reference to ID numbering dealt largely with providing the user with a printed record of the machine ID, which looks suspiciously like butt-covering to us. Clearly, Microsoft still wants to know who you are, where you live, what you buy, and Win2k is going to be the tool to achieve this. We look forward to seeing the shipping Win2k registration procedure. Something else worth noting about PC99a is what's not there. One of the things it was originally intended to cover was Windows 2000, but in reality most of the Windows 2000-specific references are simply replacements for NT 5 (the old product name) ones. For most of the PC99a planning process Microsoft was intending to pitch Win2k as the sole, unifying Microsoft OS platform, so a lot of consumer-related stuff was supposed to have gone in. The cancellation of that plan, and the reviving of the Win9x line earlier this year, meant less amendment was required. The stuff that would have gone in may eventually turn up in the Easy PC specification, announced at WinHEC by Intel and Microsoft, but then again it may not. The PC9x roadmap rolls on into PC 2000, so Easy PC looks like it might turn out to be a damp squib. Neither party seems to have bothered to follow-through on the initial announcement with some hard information, certainly. ®

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