Windows 2000

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Windows 2000
Version of Microsoft Windows
OS familyWindows NT
Preliminary nameWindows NT 5.0
Latest build
Release date2000-02-17
Support end2010-07-13
Advanced Server
Datacenter Server
Windows NT 4.0
Replaced by
Windows XP, Windows Server 2003

Windows 2000 (known as Windows NT 5.0 during development) is an NT-based version of Windows released by Microsoft. It succeeded Windows NT 4.0. Its Professional SKU was replaced by Windows XP, while its Server SKUs were replaced by Windows Server 2003. Windows 2000 was the last NT-based Windows product before the unification of the Windows NT and DOS-based line. It reached general availability on 2000-02-17. Microsoft ended support for Windows 2000 on 2010-07-13.

Windows 2000 targeted both the high-end consumer market, as well as server and business markets. Multiple SKUs were made for both client and server uses, albeit the user interface remains largely the same.


Slide from an internal Microsoft presentation discussing the naming of Windows 2000

Prior to the final announcement, Windows 2000 was called Windows NT 5.0 both in marketing materials and the operating system builds themselves. On 1998-10-27, Microsoft announced the renaming of the Windows NT 5.0 product line to Windows 2000, which according to Microsoft reflects the growing mainstream role of Windows NT.[1] The name continues the year-based naming scheme for consumer-oriented versions of Windows, which started with Windows 95. This reflected the initial plan for Windows 2000 to succeed both the consumer-oriented Windows 98 and business-oriented Windows NT 4.0 operating systems. However, in the end, Windows Millenium Edition was released to succeed Windows 98, which led to confusion between the two. Due to the removal of the NT moniker, Windows 2000 branding often included the "Based on NT technology" tag line to clear out doubts.

An internal Microsoft presentation released during the U.S. v. Microsoft trial titled "Windows Launch Review" from 1997-11-21 briefly discusses naming options of the workstation edition.[2] According to the document, Microsoft considered the following names:

  • Windows NT Workstation 5.0
  • Windows NT Client 5.0
  • Windows NT Desktop 5.0
  • Windows NT 5.0
  • Windows 99/2000


There are 4 major editions of Windows 2000. Windows 2000 was intended mainly for use in businesses and Windows ME was more targeted at home users, however, due to Windows ME's negative reception, many home users ended up buying the Professional SKU of Windows 2000 during the time. Files from the ia64 compile of Windows Server 2003 build 2462 show a "Windows 2000 Personal" login banner, which indicates that such edition could also have been in planning.

  • Windows 2000 Professional
  • Windows 2000 Server
  • Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Windows 2000 Datacenter Server

Service Packs

There are 4 service packs of Windows 2000. Windows 2000 SP4 is the latest version. Microsoft had originally intended to release a fifth service pack for Windows 2000, but Microsoft canceled it, and instead released Update Rollup 1 for SP4, a collection of all the security-related hotfixes and some other significant issues.The Update Rollup does not include all non-security related hotfixes and is not subjected to the same extensive regression testing as a full-service pack. Microsoft states that this update will meet customers' needs better than a whole new service pack, and will still help Windows 2000 customers secure their PCs, reduce support costs, and support existing computer hardware.

Leaking of source code

On or shortly before 2004-02-12, portions of the Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0 source code were illegally made available on the Internet. The source of the leak remains unannounced. Microsoft issued the following statement: "Microsoft source code is both copyrighted and protected as a trade secret. As such, it is illegal to post it, make it available to others, download it or use it." Despite the warnings, the archive containing the leaked code spread widely on the file-sharing networks. On 2004-02-16, an exploit allegedly discovered by an individual studying the leaked source code for certain versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer was reported.



Beta 1

Interim Developer's Release

Beta 2

Beta 3





Service Pack 1 Beta

Small Business Server Beta

Service Pack 1

Service Pack 2 Beta

Service Pack 2

Service Pack 3 Beta

Service Pack 3

Service Pack 4 Beta

Service Pack 4

Update SP4