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Frequently Asked Questions

Revision - 5.5

Windows 2000 Basics

Q: When was Windows 2000 released?
A: Windows 2000 was released into stores February 17, 2000. Some computer manufacturers were selling computers preinstalled with Win 2000 in January, however. 

Q: What Is Windows 2000?
A: Windows 2000 is the new name for Windows NT 5.0, the replacement for the current Windows NT 4.0. It employs the same core technologies as NT, but adds many new ones that were not previously available in NT, such as Plug-and-Play, support for USB devices, power management, DirectX 7.x, etc. It is not for consumers, but for businesses. 

Q: How many different versions of Windows 2000 will there be?
A: There are four:

  • Windows 2000 Professional is the workstation edition of Windows 2000.

  • Windows 2000 Server/Advanced Server is the server edition of Windows 2000, which is designed to serve small- to mid-sized businesses and workgroups. Server supports up to 4GB of physical RAM and up to 4 processors per computer. Advanced Server supports up to 8GB of RAM and 8 processors per computer.

  • Windows 2000 Datacenter Server is designed for large businesses and computer clusters. Datacenter supports up to 32 processors per computer and up to 64GB of RAM, as well as built-in clustering and load-balancing features.

Q: Is Microsoft Windows 2000 available in multiple languages?
A: Yes, Microsoft released a MultiLanguage Version of Windows 2000. The operating system allows users to change the language of the user interface, choosing from any one of 24 languages. Menus, help files and dialog boxes can be switched to Japanese, for example, or Italian or Swedish. Plus, users can create, edit and print documents in hundreds of different languages. Users change the interface language by simply selecting Control Panel and then Regional Options. A drop-down box lists the languages available.

Q: How much does Windows 2000 cost?
A: The standalone version of Windows 2000 Professional costs $319. Upgrades from Windows 95 or Windows 98 are $219. Upgrades from Windows NT Workstation 4.0 are $149.

Windows 2000 Server costs $1,199 and comes with ten client access licenses. Upgrading from an existing copy of NT Server is $599.

Windows 2000 Advanced Server costs $3,999 and comes with 25 client access licenses. Upgrading from an existing copy of Advanced Server is $1,999.

Q: What are the OEM prices for Windows 2000?
A: Windows 2000 3-Pack: $386.00
      Windows 2000 Server: $725.00

Q: How much does Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter cost?
A: The numbers are vague, but it costs anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 per processor. 

Q: Is there a service pack for Windows 2000?
A: Yes, Service Pack 1, Asteroid, was released July 31, 2000. Visit our Windows 2000 Service Pack 1 Page for more information.

Q: Has service pack 2 been released?
A: Yes, on May 16th, 2001. Check out our list of bugs here.

Q: What about Service Pack 3, when was that released?
A: July 31, 2002.

Q: On what date was Service Pack 4 released?
A: The forth Service Pack for Windows 2000 was released on June 26, 2003.

Q: What bugs have been fixed by Windows 2000 SP3?
A: There are several hundred bug fixes included in SP4. Visit the SP4 Bug Fix List page for more information. 

Q: How big is Windows 2000 Service Pack 4? Where can I get it?
A: You can either download the full installation, express installation, or order the CD. 

Windows 2000 SP4 Express Installation

The Express installation detects your system components and installs only the updates that are necessary for your computer. For example, files for Windows 2000 Professional will not be installed if your computer is running Windows 2000 Server. As a result, the number of files installed and the download times may vary depending whether you are using Windows 2000 Professional or Windows 2000 Server. This installation method is recommended for customers who want to reduce their download time.

Typical sizes and times for the Express installation:
Windows 2000 Professional: 22 MB | 55 minutes @ 56K | 2 minutes @ T1
Windows 2000 Server Family: 33.6 MB | 84 minutes @ 56K | 3 minutes @ T1

  • For single computer installation only.
  • Requires an Internet connection during installation.
  • Anti-virus software programs may interfere with the installation. Please disable anti-virus software while installing Windows 2000 SP4.
  • Windows 2000 SP3 includes the updates contained in all previous Windows 2000 service packs.

Note If you have not installed a previous Windows 2000 Service Pack, you only need to install Windows 2000 SP3 to get all of the Windows 2000 updates. If you have already installed Windows 2000 SP3, Microsoft recommends that you install Windows 2000 SP4 without uninstalling Windows 2000 SP3.

Windows 2000 SP4 Network Installation

The Network installation includes all of the Windows 2000 SP4 files needed for installation on Windows 2000 Professional, Server, Advanced Server, and Windows 2000 with Server Appliance Kit. This is an ideal download mechanism for IT professionals who require a downloadable copy of Windows 2000 SP4 that they can use for network deployment. ISDN or faster connection is highly recommended.

Typical download times for the Network installation:
All Platforms: 5.5 hours @ 56K | 11 minutes @ T1

  • Recommended for multiple-computer installation.
  • No Internet connection required during installation of Windows 2000 SP4 with this method.
  • Anti-virus software programs may interfere with the installation. Please disable anti-virus software while installing Windows 2000 SP4.
  • Can be integrated into your corporate network. Review the Windows 2000 Service Pack Installation and Deployment Guide for more information.
  • Windows 2000 SP4 includes the updates contained in all previous Windows 2000 service packs.

Note If you have not installed a previous Windows 2000 Service Pack, you only need to install Windows 2000 SP4 to get all of the Windows 2000 updates. If you have installed a previous Windows 2000 Service Pack, Microsoft recommends that you install Windows 2000 SP4 without uninstalling the previous service pack.

Q: Is there a Service Pack Website where I can find this information?
A: Yes:

Q: What are the exact links?
A: SP4 Express Installation
SP4 Network Installation 

Q: Where and what are the deployment tools ?
A: "The Windows 2000 Resource Kit Deployment Tools ( assists system administrators in installing Windows 2000 on multiple computers. This file contains updates to the deployment tools and documentation."
Get them here.

Q: What are the Support Tools?
A: "
These updated Windows 2000 Support Tools ( will help support personnel and network administrators better manage their networks and troubleshoot problems. For descriptions of the tools and examples of how they are used, read "Windows 2000 Support Tools" (W2rksupp.chm). This help file is included in the support cab." Get them here.

Q: Is there anything new in SP 3 other than the fixes?
A: Yes. There is automatic updates which " a proactive pull service that automatically downloads and installs Windows updates, such as critical operating system fixes and Windows security patches."

Q: What is the SP 4 Checked Build?
A: "Recommended for system administrators and other advanced users. The Windows 2000 SP3 Checked Build is a separate version of Windows 2000 SP4 and should not be installed in addition to the Windows 2000 SP4 Web download or the Windows 2000 SP4 CD.

The Checked Build is a compiled set of files that include debugging information, providing administrators with specific details about program functioning. The Checked Build files are not required for proper operation of your computer."

Q: Where is its link?
SP4 Checked Build. 136 MB.

Q: Did Microsoft publish a Readme for SP 3?
A: Yes, here.

Q: What are the installation methods for SP3?
A: Microsoft has stated the following installation methods:

  • Update installation. This is the standard method used to install Windows NT service packs. If you have previously installed a Windows NT 4.0 service pack, you should be familiar with the update installation method.
  • Integrated installation. This integrates the service pack with the Windows 2000 installation. The integrated installation method allows you to simultaneously install Windows 2000 and Windows 2000 SP3.
  • Combination installation. This allows you to install the service pack with a variety of other components by using a combination of update and integrated installation processes

Q: What about encryption in regards to SP 3?
A: Service Pack 3 automatically upgrades your computer to 128-bit encryption. If you remove SP3, you will not be able to remove the encryption.

Q: So you can remove SP 3?
A: Yes!

Q: I don't have Service Pack 1 or Service Pack 2 installed, and I just installed Service Pack 3. Do I need to install Service Pack 1 or 2?
Nope, luckily the Service Packs are cumulative. 

Q: Does SP 3 include Windows Installer 1.1?
A: No, SP 3 upgrades your computer to Windows Installer 2.0 which better security in addition to better support for digital signatures.

Q: I have a Beta version of Windows 2000, can I upgrade?
A: Yes, Microsoft supports upgrades of Beta 3 or later to the final release of Windows 2000.

Q: What are the system requirements for Windows 2000?

   Windows 2000 Professional:

  • 133 MHz or higher Pentium-compatible CPU.

  • 64 megabytes (MB) of RAM recommended minimum; more memory generally improves responsiveness.

  • 2 GB hard disk with a minimum of 1 GB of free space. (Additional free hard disk space is required if you are installing over a network.)

  • Windows 2000 Professional supports single and dual CPU systems.

    Windows 2000 Server:

  • 133 MHz or higher Pentium-compatible CPU.

  • 256 megabytes (MB) of RAM recommended minimum [128 MB minimum supported; 4 gigabytes (GB) maximum].

  • 2 GB hard disk with a minimum of 1.0 GB free space. (Additional free hard disk space is required if you are installing over a network.)

  • Windows 2000 Server supports up to four CPUs on one machine.

    Windows 2000 Advanced Server:

  • 133 MHz or higher Pentium-compatible CPU.

  • 256 MB of RAM recommended minimum (128 MB minimum supported; 8 GB maximum).

  • 2 GB hard disk with a minimum of 1.0 GB free space. (Additional free hard disk space is required if you are installing over a network.)

  • Windows 2000 Advanced Server supports up to eight CPUs on one machine.

   Windows 2000 DataCenter Server:

  • 8-way capable or higher server (supports up to 32-way).*
  • Pentium III Xeon processors or higher.
  • 256 megabytes (MB) of RAM recommended.
  • 2 gigabyte (GB) hard disk with a minimum of 1 GB free space. (Additional free hard disk space is required if you are installing over a network.)
  • CD-ROM or DVD drive.
  • VGA or higher resolution monitor.
    * Note: Fault-tolerant system configurations are required to have at least 8 processors within the hardware solution.

Q: Can Windows 2000 Run DOS Applications?
A: Under Certain Conditions. 

Q: What is the final build number for Windows 2000?
A: 2195

Q: Should I upgrade to Windows 2000?
A: If you must upgrade today, choose NT5 on two conditions: You should have 32MB of RAM and your hardware, software and peripherals must support NT. Otherwise, choose Win98--particularly for games. If you can delay an upgrade decision until later this year, choose Win2000 on two conditions: You should have 64MB of RAM and a 166MHz processor, and your hardware, software and peripherals must support it. Otherwise, choose Win98.

Does my computer need to be ACPI ready to run Windows 2000?
A. No, systems that are not ACPI ready will support and run Windows 2000 reliably. Such systems will continue to support power management and Plug and Play features offered today under Windows NT 4 and Windows 95/98. However, ACPI-compliant systems will support new advanced power management capabilities found in Windows 2000. To gain the complete manageability of Windows 2000, you will want to ensure that your hardware, BIOS and drivers support ACPI.

Q: What are some of the features for Windows 2000?
A: The features in Windows 2000 are great. Check out our features page for the full list of new features on Windows 2000 Professional and the features page for Windows 2000 Server.

Q: Will Windows 2000 be suitable for gaming?
A: Microsoft Windows 2000 is now very suitable for gaming with recently released games, especially ones from Microsoft. However, Microsoft has been releasing compatiblity updates on their website to fix issues with some older games. There may be some very early games (especially DOS) that will not work on Windows 2000.

Q: Can I Upgrade From Windows 98 & Windows 98 Second Edition?
A: Yes

Q: Can I Upgrade From Windows 95?
A: Yes

Q: What is the availability of Windows Media in Windows 2000?
A: Windows Media Services is a feature of Windows 2000 Server and Windows 2000 Advanced Server. Windows Media Player is a feature of Windows 2000 Professional, Windows 2000 Server and Windows 2000 Advanced Server.

Q: What are Windows Media Services?
The new Windows Media Services feature of Windows 2000 Server breaks down the barriers to enterprise streaming by offering the following benefits:

  • Highest-quality audio and video at any connection speed with the Windows Media Format for audio and near-broadcast-quality video, using less bandwidth compared to other formats; and integrated intelligent streaming that automatically adapts the quality of streaming broadcasts based on network availability and connection speeds
  • Best scalability in the industry, with the ability to serve up to 9,000 concurrent streams per server and over 2,400 broadband streams at 100KB*
  • Most cost-effective solution, with no per-stream licensing costs and average savings on deployment costs of over 50 percent compared with competing solutions.*Windows Media has also proven to offer a return of investment of up to 1,800 percent for enterprise customers.
  • Easier deployment and interoperation because Windows Media is a core feature of Windows 2000 with seamless compatibility with Microsoft Office and the BackOffice family

Q: Will Windows 2000 run on laptops?
A: Yes, however the requirements for Windows 2000 are great. At minimum you would need 32 MB of Ram, 64 MB recommended. 

Q: What is the default mail client in Windows 2000?
A: Microsoft Windows Messaging is not supported in Windows 2000. The default mail client for Windows 2000 is Microsoft Outlook Express. If you upgrade from Windows Microsoft Windows 95 or Microsoft Windows 98, the Microsoft Mail Post Office folder is still available, but Windows Messaging does not work properly. Outlook will also work.

Q: Is File Manager included in Windows 2000?
A: When you install Windows 2000, you may notice that File Manager (Winfile.exe) is not available. However, if you upgrade a computer that is running Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Windows 98, or Microsoft Windows NT, File Manager may be available and may still function normally. File Manager is not included with Windows 2000. If you upgrade a computer on which File Manager is available, it remains available.

The functionality of File Manager is available by using Windows Explorer and the Shared Folders snap-in in Microsoft Management Console (MMC). The Shared Folder snap-in includes the ability to create and manage Macintosh volumes as well.

Q: Will Windows 2000 work with 64 bit processors? (from Winmag)
A: Windows 2000, like NT 4.0, is a 32-bit operating system, though it is being enhanced to support more than 4GB of physical memory. Windows 2000 Server, Advanced Server and Data Center Edition all support a new Enterprise Memory Architecture supported by Intel's Xeon processor and Compaq's Alpha. This allows addressing up to 64GB of physical RAM (32GB on Alpha-based systems) by 32-bit applications. However, the application in question must be specifically written to exploit the new memory model. Windows 2000 itself can exploit the additional RAM as a disk cache and to minimize swapping. Microsoft does have a true 64-bit operating system under development (Windows XP), but it's not expected to ship for another year or more.

Q: Will America Online work on Windows 2000?
A: Yes versions 4.0, 5.0 and 6.0 will work.

Q: Are the security updates included in the Service Packs?
A: Yes, all security updates and other misc. updates prior to each service pack will be included.

Q: Where can I find a list of security bulletins?
A: We have a short summary of each bulletin and a link to Microsoft here.

Q: What are Dynamic Disks?
A: Windows 2000 uses a new feature called Dynamic Disks, which introduces the concept of Disk Groups.

Disk Groups help you organize Dynamic Disks and help to prevent data loss. Windows 2000 allows only one Disk Group per computer (this may change). Disk Groups can organize storage when you use Veritas LDM-Pro.

A Disk Group uses a name consisting of the computer name plus a suffix of Dg0. If you use LDM-Pro, the suffix can be incremental, such as Dg1 or Dg2. To view the name of your disk group, see the following registry entry:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\dmio\Boot Info\Primary Disk Group\Name

Q: Can I dual boot in Windows 2000?
A: You can configure your computer to start Windows 2000, Windows NT, and either Windows 95 or Windows 98. However, you cannot configure a computer to multiple boot Windows 95 and Windows 98. Both Windows 95 and Windows 98 use the same boot file. Therefore, multiple booting Windows 95 and Windows 98 at the same time is not supported.

Your installations are less prone to problems if you install Windows 95 or Windows 98 before you install Windows NT and Windows 2000. This order is recommended because sometimes Windows 95 or Windows 98 replaces a Windows 2000 or Windows NT boot sector with its own boot sector. Because a Windows 95 or Windows 98 boot sector identifies the partition as a FAT16 partition, Windows NT and Windows 2000 can no longer access NTFS volumes. To install Windows 95 or Windows 98 first, use the installation procedures provided with the Windows 95 or Windows 98 Companion CD-ROM.

If you want to multiple boot Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows 95 or Windows 98, and MS-DOS, you should install MS-DOS first.

Q: What is the Windows 2000 Datacenter Program?
A: This new program is specifically designed to address the demanding requirements of enterprise customers and will include a joint support team with server vendors for single-point-of-contact support, rigorous system testing and qualification focused on the entire system vs. individual components, coordinated maintenance and change control for hardware and software updates, and new Microsoft Certified Support Center (MCSC) for Datacenter requirements.

Q: What is the Datacenter JDL program?
A: The Datacenter Joint Development Program was developed to test both Datacenter Server product functionality as well as overall program effectiveness. Customers were selected to represent a wide range of industries and deployment scenarios, including e-commerce, finance, banking, telecom, retail and manufacturing. JDP participants are a critical component of the software development process.

Q: Will the Microsoft Digital Sound System 80 Software install on Windows 2000?
A: No, as mentioned on ActiveWin a long time ago, the Digital Sound System 80 has been discontinued by Microsoft, so as they tend to do, there will not be any new software coming out for you are basically stuck with the speakers working in analog mode.

Q: Where can I find the latest Hardware Compatibility List for Windows 2000?

Q: How much more reliable is Windows 2000 than previous Operating Systems?
"Windows 2000 Professional is 50 times more reliable than Windows 98 and 17 times more reliable than Windows NT Workstation 4.0."

DirectX & Windows 2000

Q: What version of DirectX does Windows 2000 ship with?
A: Windows 2000 ships with a version of DirectX 7a.

Q: Will Windows 2000 users finally be able to update to each new version of DirectX as they are released, such as the upcoming DirectX 9?
A: Yes - all future versions of DirectX will install onto Windows 2000.

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