Like many people around the world, I've been playing with the Windows 2000 operating system. I've been upgrading machines, generally having a great time and being impressed by the software.
During my antics, I've upgraded business and consumer PCs, standalone and multiprocessor rackmounted servers, as well as mobile computers.
I then made the mistake of dusting off my ageing workstation and banging Windows 2000 onto that, which is when my problems started.
Playing hard to get
You see, my four-year-old workstation - which is still a beast with its two processors, bucketful of memory and hard disk - is now defunct. As a result, Windows 2000 doesn't want to play.
I rang Compaq's technical support line and spoke to a really helpful guy. We chatted for a while, ran through the specification and the problem with the graphics card and we both, almost simultaneously, came to the decision that I was screwed.
Oh, the guy was really nice and polite about it, and even offered that I try a Windows NT 4.0 driver and cross my fingers, but to no avail. I was still knackered and my workstation, which still runs like a dream with Windows NT Workstation 4.0, has no future to look forward to.
So, given Microsoft's opinion that upgrading to a new PC will get the most out of Windows 2000, I'm wondering how many other companies are going to find that their computers won't work with the new operating system and are now defunct.
The logic is theoretically fine: you need the latest and greatest hardware to best take advantage of the latest and the greatest software.
That said, I've never had a problem retro-fitting a Novell operating system to a server.
Far from perfect
Windows 2000 starts to ship in the last week of January, a little deal that Microsoft has set up with the likes of big boys Dell and Compaq.
The software becomes available to the general public on 17 February. It's Microsoft's most important new product for years, and it's supposed to seal Redmond's respectability with corporate users, but you can be sure it's far from perfect.
For example, I'm still worried about the Active Directory (AD) components of the operating system, around which so many key functions and benefits of this software hinge. Microsoft makes this new directory technology sound like a walk in the park - as, indeed, does Novell.
However, the ignorance level of IT people is high when it comes to directory technology. Essentially, most don't understand what it is. So, just think of the possible chaos that will happen when they've rolled one out and realised just how committed they are to it. This is where the real fun will begin, because they'll have to design, roll out and then manage directory schemas.
This stuff is hard, and please let's not forget that AD is a new and relatively untested technology. I know that it's based around stuff Microsoft has already done with its Exchange product, but this is the big time now.
Companies will bet far more than their email on AD, so it had better work.
Running on NT
My workstation problem is just one of those quibbling, annoying hassles that will eventually be fixed. Actually, I'm just going to keep running Windows NT 4.0 on it. And my problem isn't something that will affect a company with 500 PCs rolled out to an expectant user base.
I'm looking forward to the proper arrival of Windows 2000, even though there'll be bugs that will crawl out of the woodwork, making my device driver issue look very trivial indeed.
While I'm on the crusade of reliability and quality, I spoke to a network manager the other day who had finally got round to upgrading a Novell Netware server from version 3 to 4.
He was amazed to find that it hadn't been powered down or rebooted for three and a half years. I'd like to hear from anyone else who has a server that's been running this long, or longer. I'm even more keen to hear of a Windows NT server that has gone this long without being rebooted!
Contact me at [email protected]
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago