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RC2 Win2k USB 2.0 drivers leak

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Microsoft produced Release Candidate 2 of the USB 2.0 drivers for Windows 2000 late on Friday, and they promptly leaked to littlewhitedog.com and Digital Silence. There is as yet no word on when finished drivers will be available, although finished WinXP drivers themselves leaked two weeks ago, and are also downloadable via Intel, and Microsoft's hotfix FTP site.

The release of the RC2 drivers ends almost three months of famine for Windows 2000 USB 2.0 owners. Microsoft thoughtfully expired the RC1 drivers when Windows XP was released in October, although it left the expired drivers up on Windows Update until December, so people could download them and not be able to use them.

The lateness of Win2k drivers is, in the view of Jeff Roberts of USBman, suspicious. During most of the beta process new USB 2.0 driver releases from Microsoft contained both XP and Win2k code, but while it appears the WinXP drivers were finished in November, the brakes have been mysteriously slammed on the Win2k ones. Is Microsoft trying to tell Win2k users something?

Microsoft certainly isn't above stage-managing releases in order to coax people over to its currrent preferred products, but the company isn't exactly shouting about XP USB 2.0 availability from the rooftops. The drivers were announced at CES, but fairly quietly, in a USB Implementers Forum press release. They've been made available to OEMs and system builders, according to Microsoft group program manager Stacey Breyfogle, and they'll be up on Windows Update "by early January." Which they weren't, last time anybody could get into Windows Update to check. But it's still "early January" until Thursday, in rolloutspeak. ®

Related links:
WinXP USB 2.0 driver slides out, Win2k version MIA?
littlewhitedog.com Win2k USB 2.0 driver download
Digital Silence download.

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