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Preview version of Windows Whistler released

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Microsoft has given beta testers access to the first preview edition of Whistler, the next version of Win2k. Designated build 2250, the software is available at a private download site, and according to Paul Thurrott of WinInfo, includes the first version of a skinning feature called Visual Styles, which will allow the UI to be tailored.

The preview edition comes in two flavours, Whistler Personal and Whistler Professional. The software, although expected at base to be a relatively minor rev of Win2k, is intended to finally converge Microsoft's codebase for business and consumer, so Professional is aimed at business, Personal at consumer.

But of course we've heard that one before, for something like a decade, and as Microsoft has plenty of smaller footprint platforms to cater for, and plenty of other operating systems (even if it does finally shoot Win9x), the convergent nature of the deal kind of depends on how you look at it.

Whistler is also intended to be the first MS .NET-enabled OS. Earlier this week Microsoft knocked back its ship date a little, to second half 2001. It's likely to go into beta within the next two months. ®

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