Microsoft Windows 2000 is one of a series of operating systems in the Windows line. Windows 2000 comes in four versions: Windows 2000 Professional, Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2000 Advanced Server, and Windows 2000 Datacenter Server. Additionally, Microsoft offers Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Limited Edition, released in 2001, which runs on Intel Itanium 64-bit processors.
Windows 2000 Core Features
All versions of Windows 2000 share certain new features. Some of the more significant of these features are:
- NTFS5 - a new version of the NTFS file system
- EFS - (Encrypting File System) allowing encryption of some or all files on a disk
- WDM - (Windows Driver Model) an enhancement for hardware support
Windows 2000 introduced the WDM driver model to the NT kernel. WDM (standing for Windows Driver Model) is a multilayer driver model used to separate general functionality of devices from the specifics. For example, Microsoft may provide a standard USB driver that provides the basic functionality a USB device may use, such as raw bus protocol communication. The harware vendor then only has to implement a driver that provides the functionality specific for whatever the device does. This can greatly simplify driver programming, and keeps programmers from introducing bugs every time a basic device protocol is reimplemented for a new product. Additionally, WDM drivers are theoretically compatible with any version of Windows supporting WDM (Win98, WinME, WinXP) regardless of the kernel. Drivers are the leading cause of instability in Windows, and WDM addresses this.
Windows 2000 Desktop Features
Windows 2000 Professional is designed as a desktop operating system in business environments. It offers greater security and stability than previous Windows desktop operating systems.
Windows 2000 Server Features
The various server products share the same user interface with Windows 2000 Professional, but contain additional components for running infrastructure and application software. A significant component of the server products is Active Directory, which is an enterprise-wide directory service based on LDAP. Additionally, Microsoft integrated Kerberos network authentification, replacing the oft-criticised NT 4 authentification system. This also provided a purely transitive-trust relationship that someone else could probably explain better than me.
- See also: History of Microsoft Windows