Windows 2000 Professional Eliminates Challenges of Working Away From the Office

REDMOND Wash., Nov. 14, 2000 — In recent years, portable computers have changed the way people work, much like desktop computers transformed the workplace before that. Now, busy professionals can type reports during airplane flights, read backlogged memos and email on their daily commuter-rail trip or work from home without having to boot the kids off the family PC.

But this freedom has had limits. It was difficult and time consuming for mobile users to synchronize work done away from the office with their corporate networks. Laptop users also lost work time and battery life when logging off their laptops each time the airline pilot turned on the
“No Electronics”
sign or their train arrived at its destination. In addition, there were limits to the peripheral devices, such as mice and Pocket PCs, that could be used with laptops — and users had to manually reconfigure and reboot the machines each time they installed these devices.

Since its release earlier this year, Windows 2000 Professional has allowed on-the-go professionals to kiss these computing frustrations goodbye. In addition to making laptop computing more manageable and easy, Windows 2000 Professional adds new security features to protect documents during transmission or when a laptop is stolen.

“Busy professionals no longer must be chained to their desks by operating systems that don’t address the unique challenges of mobile computing,”
said Art Pettigrue, product manager for Microsoft’s Windows Desktop Division.
“Windows 2000 Professional allows laptop users to work on any document, anywhere, at any time. And they can save time and be more productive while they are at it.”

Nearly three-quarters of the professionals polled by the research firm Sosinsky Group thought Windows 2000 Professional was a
“very good”
laptop operating system. Satisfaction was even greater — 82 percent — among those who used Windows 2000 Professional as their primary operating system.

Since adopting Windows 2000 Professional, Access Markets International (AMI — ) has noticed
“measurable productivity gains,”
said Eric Shuster, managing director of the New York City-based research and consulting firm. One reason: synchronization.

Synchronization Keeps Crucial Information Up to Date

Windows 2000 Professional’s Synchronization Manager eliminates the need to manually download network files onto a laptop before working offline. Also, mobile users no longer need to remember to delete the old version of files and manually download revised versions when they get back online or return to the office.

The operating system allows users to label files or larger collections of files, called
at any time for later offline use. Synchronization Manager then automatically stores the most recent version of the files when the user leaves the corporate network. When the user returns or gets online remotely, Synchronization Manager automatically synchronizes any changes in the files with the version on the network.

Synchronization Manager does the same with a user’s corporate intranet site or favorite Web sites, allowing busy professionals to review company memos or read the latest version of an online newspaper when there’s no online access.

“If you go out on the road, you need to be able to easily synchronize your data,”
Shuster said.
“With Windows 2000 Professional, you can. It’s a one-click operation.”

Hibernation Saves Valuable Laptop Power

Laptop users also no longer must manually save files and log off their computers each time they need to stop working. Windows 2000 Professional allows them to put their documents on hold — a function Microsoft calls
When a user activates the function, the operating system takes a snapshot of the most recent version of all active documents and then turns off the computer. When the computer is switched on again, the documents return exactly as the user left them.

“It’s a convenient and reliable bookmark,”
Shuster said.
“Hibernate brings the operating environment right back to where you left it.”

Prior to Windows 2000 Professional, AMI Partners’ employees put their laptops into standby mode when they needed to stop working fast. But standby can drain the batteries, even if used for a short time, because it doesn’t fully shut down the laptop. Hibernation turns off all power, thus conserving battery life.

“Hibernate is the perfect combination of convenience, battery conservation and timesavings,”
Shuster said.

Hibernate also can be a lifesaver when a laptop’s batteries are fading.
“If you only have a few seconds of power left, you don’t have time to manually save files and shut down your computer,”
Pettigrue said.
“Hibernate provides the solution.”

Broader Hardware Support and Simpler Installation

Technology analysts and publications have heaped praise on Windows 2000 Professional’s enhancements for mobile users. IT Week called it an
“essential upgrade for laptops.”
ZDNet called it a
“great notebook OS.”
Giga Group proclaimed: the
“laptop support alone is enough to migrate to Windows 2000 Professional.”

Another of those supports is Windows 2000 Professional’s ability to automatically accept and configure new peripheral devices — what is called
“hot docking.”

“When you add an extra monitor, keyboard or mouse, it allows you to do it with minimal fuss and without having to reboot your computer,”
Pettigrue said.
“When you want to undock an item, it’s just as easy.”

This convenience is due to Windows 2000 Professional’s support for advanced Plug and Play hardware. When the operating system detects new Plug and Play devices, it offers to install their drivers. Users no longer need to manually configure the drivers and reboot their computers after adding devices.
“The computer does everything automatically,”
Pettigrue said.

Windows 2000 Professional also allows users to transfer files to another laptop via a wireless connection, using their laptop’s infrared port. Or they can link peripherals in a daisy-chain fashion with Universal Serial Bus (USB) devices.

USB compatibility allows AMI Partners’ employees to take photographs on a digital camera and feed the images directly to the corporate network. Before, they had to scan pictures into their system.

Windows 2000 Professional also supports DVD technology, allowing traveling professionals to watch training seminars, which are increasingly presented on DVDs, Pettigrue said.

“And when the workday is over,”
he added,
“a traveling worker can watch a movie on the plane ride home.”

Keeping Data Safe and Secure

The law firm Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, LLP was among the earliest adopters of Windows 2000 Professional when it installed the operating system and new desktop and laptop computers at its offices in nine states earlier this year.

With so much change, the firm expected calls to its technology help desk to soar. Instead, there have been no more reports of computer problems than the previous year, said Chief Information Officer Steven Agnoli.

“The stability of Windows 2000 Professional has been tremendous. We have had none of the problems you would expect when changing to a new operating system,”
he said.

Agnoli credits the lockdown features of Windows 2000 as one reason for the easy transition, particularly with the firm’s 500 laptops. No longer can attorneys accidentally load a file or program onto their computer that isn’t compatible with the firm’s system. The security features of Windows 2000 Professional avert breakdowns and other problems.

In addition to the lockdown security, Windows 2000 Professional offers a host of other features that reduce the chances a PC or information thief can access files stored on a laptop or intercept remote communications over phone lines. The operating system is so secure, Pettigrue said, that banks such as Credit Suisse First Boston use it.

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