Like its predecessor, Windows 2000 was designed for professional use and as a server, thanks to its high performance, stability and security. The Professional edition was intended for CAD, graphics, math and as a personal workstation in the business environment. Server, Advanced Server and Datacenter Server editions were marketed. Two 64-bit versions were subsequently released for the new Intel Itanium and Itanium 2 processors in 2001 (Advanced Server Limited Edition and Datacenter Server Limited Edition).
Windows 2000 represented an objective evolution over the previous version. It featured a revamped user interface and a large number of technological innovations, including:
• Kernel almost completely rewritten, in most of the modules, compared to the previous structure (NT 4.0), especially in the management of network protocols and in the graphic interface;
• Active Directory - evolution of the Windows NT domain system, which allowed centralized management and administration of even large corporate networks
• File System Management - a new version of NTFS was introduced, the Distributed File System (which allowed to build a comprehensive and hierarchical view of a set of file servers on a network) and the EFS ( Encrypting File System) which allowed to encrypt files at the file system level (but for which the NSA could find the keys, according to this study)
• Plug and play - Windows 2000 was the first operating system on NT kernel that supported the Plug and play standard that allows automatic hardware configuration
• Energy support - thanks to APM management and energy saving functions, it allowed for easy use on portable systems
• USB - supported USB peripherals and hot swap
• Multimedia - supported DirectX, new Windows Driver Model (WDM) drivers and multimedia devices
• Background Intelligent Transfer System (BITS) - allows you to intelligently download resources from the network to update your operating system.
Windows 2000 had considerable sales success, many companies chose the Professional version as the company standard and the Server editions had significant market shares in both new installations and existing server conversions, especially at the expense of commercial Unixes despite the growing success of Linux and other open source operating systems. One notable exception was web servers, where Linux adoption has been superior despite some success. It is important to note that Windows 2000 was not intended by Microsoft for domestic users, although there was support for multimedia and plug and play. For non-professional users, Microsoft allocated Windows Millennium Edition, based on the Windows 95/98 kernel.