Windows 2000

Windows 2000
Version of Microsoft Windows
OS familyWindows NT
Preliminary nameWindows NT 5.0
Latest build5.0.2195.7045 (Update Rollup 1)
Release date2000-02-17
Support end2010-07-13
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 that succeeded Windows NT 4.0. It reached general availability on 17 February 2000 after releasing to manufacturing two months prior on 15 December 1999. It is the fifth operating system in the Windows NT operating system line. Even though Windows 2000 is intended mainly for use in businesses and the consumer market was targeted by Windows Me, many home users installed Windows 2000 Professional at the time due to the highly significant issues that plagued Windows Me. Windows 2000 was ultimately replaced by Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

During the course of its support, four Service Packs and an update rollup were released for Windows 2000. Microsoft had originally intended to release a fifth service pack for Windows 2000, but eventually canceled it, and instead released the Update Rollup 1 for Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 in 2005, which is 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 proper service pack.

Mainstream support for Windows 2000 ended on 30 June 2005 and extended support ended on 13 July 2010, over ten years after its release.

Name[edit | edit source]

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 in both marketing materials and the operating system builds themselves. On 27 October 1998, 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 Millennium 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 "Built on NT Technology" tagline to clear out doubts.

An internal Microsoft presentation released during the U.S. v. Microsoft trial titled "Windows Launch Review" from 21 November 1997 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

Editions[edit | edit source]

There are 4 major editions of Windows 2000. One of the server editions, Windows Small Business Server 2000, is technically considered a separate version. Files from the IA-64 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. The Datacenter Server SKU was not available for Retail, as it was OEM-only. A version of Windows 2000 Advanced Server made mainly for network-attached storage devices (abbreviated as NAS) is known as Windows Powered. Windows Powered can only be obtained using a utility created by Microsoft – known as Microsoft Server Appliance Kit – that converts Advanced Server to Powered. An MSDN release was sent out to people who wished to evaluate Powered, but an update was pushed out to revert the branding back to Advanced Server.

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

IA-64 edition[edit | edit source]

Windows 2000 Personal 64-Bit login banner

An IA-64 edition of Windows 2000 was also in the planning stages. A banner for Windows 2000 Personal 64-Bit Edition was found within the aforementioned build 2462, suggesting an IA-64 edition was also in the works before it was scrapped and instead continued to be developed to become Windows XP 64-Bit Edition. This version was intended for Itanium 64-bit processors rather than AMD64, which was not introduced until 2005. It was also rumored that IA-64 builds of Windows 2000 would be sent out to OEMs which work with IA-64 processors such as Fujitsu-Siemens and Hewlett-Packard, but not much is known about these alleged builds, nor has anything leaked in relation to these alleged builds.[3]

The IA-64 edition of Windows 2000 was codenamed Janus and was shown off at the Las Vegas Convention Center in 2000. It was also stated that it had been in development for three years by this point, suggesting development started at some point in 1997. The OS also had a slated release date of sometime before the end of 2000, intended to coincide with Intel's launching of the IA-64 architecture.[4] It was cancelled due to Intel facing delays with the IA-64 architecture.

Source code leak[edit | edit source]

In early 2004, a portion of the Windows 2000 source code leaked online, together with the source code of Windows NT 4.0.[5] The source of the leak was traced to Mainsoft, the developer of MainWin, an application that allowed developers to port existing Windows programs to Unix systems, whose development required access to selected portions of Windows source code under Windows Interface Source Environment program.[6] In response, Microsoft released the following statement:

On Thursday, February 12, Microsoft became aware that portions of the Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0 source code were illegally made available on the Internet. Subsequent investigation has shown this was not the result of any breach of Microsoft's corporate network or internal security, nor is it related to Microsoft's Shared Source Initiative or its Government Security Program, which enable our customers and partners, as well as governments, to legally access Microsoft source code. Microsoft reaffirms its support for both the Shared Source Initiative and the Government Security Program.

Microsoft continues to work closely with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement authorities on this matter. 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. Microsoft will take all appropriate legal actions to protect its intellectual property. These actions include communicating both directly and indirectly with those who possess or seek to possess, post, download or share the illegally disclosed source code.

Specifically, Microsoft is sending letters explaining to individuals who have already downloaded the source code that such actions are in violation of the law. Additionally, Microsoft has instituted the use of alerts on several peer-to-peer clients where such illegal sharing of the source code has taken place. These alerts are designed to inform any user who conducts specific searches on these networks to locate and download the source code that such activity is illegal.

Questions about the ongoing investigation should be referred to the FBI.

— Microsoft Corporation[7]

Despite the warnings, the archive containing the leaked code spread widely on the file-sharing networks and, even later, on open-source repository websites. On 16 February 2004, an exploit allegedly discovered by an individual studying the leaked source code for certain versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer was reported. On 15 April 2015, a repository containing the leaked NT 4.0 source code was removed from GitHub at Microsoft's request,[8] although other repositories hosting the Windows 2000 source code continued to exist in the same website; most of them were taken down by Microsoft's request on 9 April 2021.[9]

Distributed Services Technology Preview[edit | edit source]

The Distributed Services Technology Preview is a backport of certain components including Active Directory, Microsoft Management Console, Task Scheduler and Windows Script Host from an early build of Windows 2000 to Windows NT 4.0, which was released at the November 1996 PDC. It is notable for being the only available build of these components compiled for the PowerPC architecture; a MIPS version was also planned to be released, but was canceled as Microsoft had dropped support for the architecture weeks prior to the event. The installer for these components continued to be compiled until as late as build 1631.

System requirements[edit | edit source]

Microsoft recommends that Windows 2000 should be installed on a system with at least a Pentium 133 MHz processor, 64 MB of RAM (128 MB for Server), 650 MB of hard drive space (1 GB for Server), and a VGA or better display.[10] Windows NT 3.51 or Windows 95 is now needed to upgrade to Windows 2000.

Despite Microsoft's recommendation, it is possible to install Windows 2000 on a 486 processor with as low as 32 MB of RAM.

List of known builds[edit | edit source]

Beta 1[edit | edit source]

Interim Developer's Release[edit | edit source]

Beta 2[edit | edit source]

Beta 3[edit | edit source]

Release Candidate 1[edit | edit source]

Release Candidate 2[edit | edit source]

Release Candidate 3[edit | edit source]

Pre-RTM[edit | edit source]

RTM[edit | edit source]

Service Pack 1[edit | edit source]

Beta[edit | edit source]

RTM[edit | edit source]

Service Pack 2[edit | edit source]

Beta[edit | edit source]

RTM[edit | edit source]

Service Pack 3[edit | edit source]

Beta[edit | edit source]

RTM[edit | edit source]

Service Pack 4[edit | edit source]

Beta[edit | edit source]

RTM[edit | edit source]

Update Rollup 1[edit | edit source]

Beta[edit | edit source]

RTM[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]