Microsoft is set to release the first test version of upcoming Windows software that will finally marry two flavours of its PC operating system.
Code-named Whistler, the operating system will save Microsoft money by cutting down on support costs.
A beta of the product will be available in October, a month after the arrival of Windows Millennium, which will almost certainly be the final version of the Windows 95/98 family.
Whistler will be the first consumer version of Windows 2000, which has previously been restricted to enterprise environments because of its complexity.
Windows 2000 is based on NT code, which is more robust than Windows 95/98 aging DOS legacy.
Whistler is expected in the second half of next year.