Microsoft nears release of 64-bit Windows

Microsoft said Tuesday that it has released a near-final test version of updates to its Windows and Windows Server operating systems.

The company said it has reached the "release candidate" stage for Service Pack 1 of Windows Server 2003. Microsoft is also at a similar point with several 64-bit Windows versions that use the same code base, including Windows Server 2003 x64 Editions and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition. Microsoft reiterated that all three products are slated for final release in the first half of next year, with a second release candidate in between.

A second update for Windows Server 2003, known as R2, is also planned for next year. Microsoft is shooting for a private beta of that release later this month, with a goal of having about 1,000 testers. The company said it hopes to release a public beta of R2 in the first half of next year, with the final release some time in the second half of the year. For some time, Microsoft has been promising to deliver 64-bit versions of Windows to support AMD's Opteron and Athlon 64 processors, but final releases of the server and desktop operating systems were delayed until next year.

News source: C|Net News.com

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