| Windows 2000 |
Windows 2000 is an operating system for use on both client and server computers. It was produced by Microsoft and released to manufacturing on December 15, 1999 and launched to retail on February 17, 2000. It is the successor to Windows NT 4.0, and is the last version of Microsoft Windows to display the "Windows NT" designation. It is succeeded by Windows XP (released in October 2001) and Windows Server 2003 (released in April 2003). During development, Windows 2000 was known as Windows NT 5.0.
Four editions of Windows 2000 were released: Professional, Server, Advanced Server, and Datacenter Server; the latter was both released to manufacturing and launched months after the other editions. While each edition of Windows 2000 was targeted at a different market, they shared a core set of features, including many system utilities such as the Microsoft Management Console and standard system administration applications.
Support for people with disabilities was improved over Windows NT 4.0 with a number of new assistive technologies, and Microsoft increased support for different languages and locale information.
All versions of the operating system support NTFS 3.0, Encrypting File System, as well as basic and dynamic disk storage. The Windows 2000 Server family has additional features, including the ability to provide Active Directory services (a hierarchical framework of resources), Distributed File System (a file system that supports sharing of files) and fault-redundant storage volumes. Windows 2000 can be installed through either a manual or unattended installation. Unattended installations rely on the use of answer files to fill in installation information, and can be performed through a bootable CD using Microsoft Systems Management Server, by the System Preparation Tool.
Microsoft marketed Windows 2000 as the most secure Windows version ever at the time; however, it became the target of a number of high-profile virus attacks such as Code Red and Nimda. For ten years after its release, it continued to receive patches for security vulnerabilities nearly every month until reaching the end of its lifecycle on July 13, 2010.