Whistler Beta Footprint Similar to Windows 2000

Beta 1 codeof Whistler, the next iteration of Windows contains an inevitable upward creep inhardware requirements over its predecessor. The change, however, pales incomparison to the massive delta between Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000.

Whistlerentered a narrow beta testing phase Oct. 31. This code, of course, is a far cryfrom final release code, which Microsoft currently projects for the second halfof 2001.

The code isnot feature complete and it will undergo significant optimization before itsrelease, but the Beta 1 gives IT an early look at what resources the newWhistler OS will require on desktops across the enterprise. The matter isimportant, because Whistler will unify the NT and Windows 9.x code bases.

TheWhistler Beta 1 code consumed about 1 GB of hard drive space and gobbled up 100MB of RAM on our 128 MB test system while idling. Microsoft says the betaversion of the new OS can be run with 64 MB of RAM and a Pentium II 133 MHzprocessor.

RobEnderle, senior analyst at Giga Information Group, wasn’t surprised thatWhistler's code base is fairly similar in size to Windows 2000.

"Windows2000 Professional was really where the size of the Windows NT code base doubledor even tripled," Enderle comments. "But Whistler isn't that kind ofdevelopment effort."

Windows NT4.0's minimal install footprint required about 130 MB of hard disk space -- forboth its Workstation and its Server portions.

Windows2000 Professional upped the ante to between 700 MB and 1 GB of hard disk space.Microsoft documentation puts the minimum install for Windows 2000 Professionalat 650 MB.

Standardcomputer hard drives grew faster than that in the four years since Windows NT4.0 came out, but hard drive size remains an issue for upgrades.

TheWhistler base install occupied about 1 GB of hard drive space. About 750 MB ofthis content was consolidated in the Windows system folder; another 250 MB ofdata resides in the Program Files directory and subdirectories, as well aselsewhere on the disk partition.

As far assystem memory was concerned, Windows NT 4.0 Workstation commonly idled ataround 25 MB of physical RAM; Windows 2000 Professional could easily require 60MB or more of system RAM.

WhileWhistler idles at 100 MB of system RAM, the reasons could be both design- andengineering-related. Whistler Professional boasts a sleeker, more stylized userinterface -- with a new splash screen that supplants the familiar Windows 2000"logon" prompt -- as well as the ability to support concurrent locallogon sessions for different users.

Whistler'slarger physical memory footprint and new UI stylings don't seem to adverselyaffect its performance. Our test install of Whistler ran with acceptable speed-- especially for beta code that hasn't yet been optimized for performance orstability. Whistler also detected and configured all of the components in ourtest machine, which included an ISA sound card, a first-generation AGP videocard, and a venerable 3Com 3C905-TX NIC.

MicrosoftBusiness Client OS Footprints

Thefollowing table shows minimum hardware requirements for the client operatingsystems Microsoft uses in business environments. While Windows ME is not abusiness client, we included it for comparison.

            Windows 98     Windows ME   Windows 2000Professional     Whistler Professional(beta)

Processor         486DX 66 MHz           Pentium 150 MHz        Pentium133 MHz        Pentium II 133 MHz

Memory           16 MB 32MB 64 MB 64MB

Hard drivespace          120 MB-355 MB         480 MB-645 MB         2 GB with 650 MB free            1GB

Sources:Microsoft and ENT test of Whistler hard drive space


Microsoft Corp., Redmond, Wash., www.microsoft.com
Giga Information Group, Cambridge, Mass., www.gigainformationgroup.com

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