Microsoft unveils speedy new Win Server 2003

Office 2003 isn't the only new piece of software coming from Microsoft Corp. The company last week launched its Windows Server 2003 family, with prices starting at $999.

The most noticeable improvement over Server 2000 is speed. In a brief trial, my applications ran more smoothly and hang-ups were less frequent.

Microsoft has made navigating the interface more logical. Also, .Net services are more prominent in Server 2003 than in any previous Microsoft operating system.

The Server 2003 lineup includes Web and media servers as well as an Extensible Markup Language application server. Microsoft clearly views XML as the wave of the future for information management.

Crash control

Despite the security vulnerabilities of Active Directory, Microsoft has improved its network storage of important object data for users as well as administrators. Active Directory is easier to get at and less prone to crashes than in Win 2000.

Speaking of crashes, Server 2003's terminal and storage servers are said to be more stable, too. I found them easier to access and use than the previous versions.

A new software engine called Common Language Runtime seems to be Microsoft's answer to vulnerability problems. It cuts down on common programming mistakes to reduce the bug population in Server 2003. It also verifies that applications are running without errors and checks for security permissions.

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