DOS alive and not very well hidden in Millennium beta
So farewell then, allegations and hype to the contrary...
It now seems pretty clearly established that Microsoft will not be removing DOS from Millennium, but early reports form people who've seen Beta 1, which went out this week, indicate that the attempts to hide Dos instead are at best perfunctory. Getting rid of DOS no doubt remains on the MS wishlist, because it would make PCs easier to use and more reliable, but as far as Millennium is concerned it looks like wishing and doing are two different things. For Beta 1 Microsoft has removed the exit to Dos option from the shutdown menu, but according to one tester, "the Bootgui= option is still in the msdos.sys file; the default is '1' which boots to full blown Windows, and if '0' is used, the computer boots to DOS 7.1." Further testers who've contacted us however point out that changing this setting does not boot real mode Dos, and that "there is no way to access a real mode command prompt without replacing IO.SYS." Which is nevertheless an intriguing thought. Effectively, it would seem Dos is still there, and it's just the access hatches that are starting to come out. But if that's the case, Microsoft is really just putting off the day when it has to bite the bullet. This may come with Neptune, but that's a 2001 product at best, leaving a big hole between the product with DOS shoved under some camouflage netting and the one with no DOS at all. So, referring back to the PC2001 system design guide issued earlier this year we have a suggestion. PC2001 says that "Microsoft is investigating the development of non-retail versions of Windows 98 and Windows 2000 that will support PC systems that do not use legacy components such as Super I/O, the 8042 controller, and MS-DOS." Presuming that Microsoft is still investigating this, but won't exactly be doing it in Millennium, then there's the time, and probably the demand, for another rev between Millennium and Neptune. Gratuitous Register believe it or not: PC2001 is a joint effort between Microsoft and Intel, and was published around about the same time as Microsoft was sending out the first Millennium pre-beta code. At that time, brave and ambitious things were being said by Microsoft about Millennium as a major effort in the consumer OS market and a key plank of EasyPC. Subsequently, things seem to have gone into rapid reverse, with Millennium earlier this week being described as no big deal, maybe just a service release. Well folks, go back to PC2001, and remember this stuff was written when Millennium was being hyped as a big deal: "Supporting system features being proposed for the next OEM service release of Windows 98 (Windows 'Millennium')... Ahem. ®
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