The PC Expo show in New York this week will be the focus for the first NetPCs, Microsoft Corp and Intel Corp’s somewhat limp alternative to the network computer (NC). Compaq Computer Corp, Dell Computer Corp, Gateway 2000 Inc, Hewlett-Packard Co, IBM Corp and Toshiba Corp yesterday unveiled their first NetPCs – basically restricted personal computers without expansion slots or floppy drives, but with hard drives, sealed cases and additional desktop management and administration software (CI No 3,032, 3119). First shipments have been promised for this summer. And for those who want to change their existing PCs into NetPCs, Microsoft will be launching its Zero Administration Kit for Windows NT Workstation 4.0 next week. It’s a free set of software utilities designed to cut the running costs of PCs by centralizing configuration, restricting end-users from installing their own applications, and enabling applications and data to be accessed from the server. The kit will be available to download from the Microsoft web site from June 26 at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/zak, and will also be offered by several leading computer makers, says Redmond. The company’s executive VP, Steve Ballmer, will use his show keynote tomorrow morning to extol the virtues of the Zero Administration Initiative for Windows, the Net PC and the somewhat less- publicized sub-$500 diskless Windows Terminals initiative which chairman Bill Gates has mentioned in passing, but never elaborated upon (CI No 3,135).