The credit for making Microsoft an Operating System for most of the computers and crushing the Netware goes to Windows NT 4.0. However, Windows 2000 Server and Advanced Server took Microsoft to new heights and got into maximum systems worldwide to give Microsoft a status of a giant in operating systems. It is the end of Windows 2000 officially.

On July 13, 2010, Microsoft made an official announcement regarding the end of its famous Windows 2000. The announcement from the Microsoft states clearly that the upgrades from Windows 2000’s Server editions that include the Server, the advanced server and the Datacenter Server directly to the Windows 2008 R2 which is the current server operating system for Microsoft, are not supported any more. It stands true for the desktop variations including the Windows 2000 Pro versions.

Microsoft strongly recommends following an Aztec three step process to get up to date. The official announcement from Microsoft states that Microsoft will not offer any security updates and hot fixes for the Windows 2000 operating systems after 13 July 2010.

Anyways, all this is not a matter of surprise for all those Windows 2000 users. It is a known fact that Windows 2000 has been on extended support from Microsoft since 2005. In the mean time, the operating system has been served with four Service Packs and even a updated security patch on SP4. In all, Windows 2000 has been offered a decade long support by the Microsoft that is a considerable time for any operating system.

Looking into the history of this very successful operating system, the OS was developed with the code name of “Memphis”. The OS made its debut in February 2000. It took quite long than expected to launch Windows 2000 by Microsoft. Hard work of six long years was put-in to improve upon the Windows NT to position Windows 2000 in its place. Windows 2000 gave a setback to many, particularly the Unisys and NEC that held the market at that time.

The Windows 2000 Server by Microsoft was designed for two-socket and four-socket x86 servers and infrastructure workloads. This was assisted by the development of Microsoft’s Active Directory services middleware that authenticated users based on the LDAP protocol. However, all this came with the expected Redmond twist.

At the time when things were not so advanced, Windows 2000 advanced Server had the capability to scale up to eight processor sockets in one image. It could exploit a feature called the PAE or the physical address extension that would support a 32-bit machine with 8GB memory. The Windows Advanced Server came up with the ‘Wolfpack’ Cluster Services. The service had initially debuted in the Windows NT by Microsoft. This cluster offered a high availability fail-over and assisted in balancing the load in multiple Windows Servers. The Advanced Server and Datacenter Server were able to support the “Merced” Itanium processors that are now outdated.

It is difficult to get an estimate of the right figures of Windows 2000 Server licenses sold across the world over the years, but was really huge. Microsoft’s Partner Network estimates that there are more than 3 million machines still using the Windows 2000 Server across the globe.

Microsoft is encouraging the users of Windows 2000 Servers to upgrade to Windows Server 2008 R2.