16. March. 2019
Like many Gen Z children, my first contact with computers was a beige box running a Windows NT distribution. I was in the camp who had a Windows 2000 compy, as my dad had received a decommissioned PC from work. He already had an XP box so he gave it to me. It was pretty good as it ran all the games I was given, but do not get it twisted, this was a computer designed to crunch numbers and process words. From the 500 mb of RAM to the workplace OS it was a Bitty-box. Windows 2000 was simply made to be a work OS and was not really designed for a home market, but that doesn’t mean that Microsoft wern’t trying to rectify that. There was an OS that never saw the light of day.
Microsoft Neptune was an operating system based on NT5 that was designed specifically for a home market, complete with a user friendly profile select screen, children and guest modes, and a fresh name that could hint at a world where Windows would have been a business word and Microsoft would become a household word. The ISO beta version 5111 is available on a certain abandon-ware website and I simply had to see what it was all about. My windows 2000 computer took to the distribution like a duck to water. Running it felt a lot like using an alternate reality Windows XP where XP was much less robust and could run on next to no memory. When I started it up, I felt like I was walking into a building with the scaffolds still erected. A few pieces of software came with it. The usual late 90s early 2000s fare was at my disposal; AT&T World Connection, CompServe, some Usenet clients, a workable TELNET client, an AOL subscription if I were so enticed, and the tried and true IE client. The most striking thing was that the whole OS was dead silent, be it from a missing driver or a lack of sound implementation. All the games I had in my old floppy caddie worked just fine, only silently. While the OS was mostly stable, it did crash at least thrice as I used it, which was a better track record then the actually released designed for home users counterpart to win2k, Windows Millennium Edition. As a sidebar, I think it’s funny that a distribution named after the new millennium was based on the scaffold of the Win9x engine.
I rather liked Microsoft Neptune in my time using it. It felt nostalgic although I had never used it and I think I know the reason, it is Windows 2000 with some speshie feechies. It is really just a rebadged copy of Windows NT5 that didn’t get all the way through the process of being made as it felt entirely redundant when compared directly to Win2k. I can see why Microsoft didn’t carry through with Neptune, but it is still an interesting toy.