Friendly Expert Computer Help - In Plain English
As Seen On TechTV
PC911 > How-To > Windows > Getting Started With Windows 2000

- Alex -

Download this article as a self-extracting text file
View this article in printer-friendly plain-text format
E-mail this article to a friend

Say hello to Windows 2000, also referred to as Win2K or W2K (ok, I admit: I'm a lazy typist). Actually, say hello to Windows 2000 Professional, basically for work stations, and Windows 2000 Server, for network servers, and Windows 2000 Advanced Server, for high-end network and web servers. In this article, we'll focus on Windows 2000 Professional and show you how to get started, what to do before installation, give you a few tips for installation to help make it a smooth one, and help you take your first steps with Win2K.

Before you get started

The very first thing to think about is whether W2K is for you. Why do you want to upgrade? Is it worth $300 to you (for the full professional version)? Do you already have a perfectly working Windows 98 install? Are you sure it will work with all your hardware? Consider these next few points to decide whether you need it:

System Requirements

To run W2K at an absolute minimum, you need a Pentium 133, 64 MB of RAM, and a 2 GB hard drive with at least 650 MB free. It won't be exactly a speed demon, but it will run fine. To make it run smoothly, a 300 MHz or faster CPU, 128 MB of RAM, and 1 GB free hard drive space are recommended. I'm running it currently on a Slot 1 Celeron 450 with 128 MB PC-100 SDRAM and a 13 GB IBM Deskstar 7200 RPM UDMA66 drive, and W2K performance is very swift.

Incompatibility Issues

Not all programs will work on W2K. Some of them just can't handle it, others just won't install because they can't detect a valid version of Windows because they were written only for Windows 95/98/NT, and refuse to install on anything else. You should first make a list of all the software you want to install on W2K and check with the manufacturer to confirm that the application will work in W2K, or that they have a W2K compliant version available (if you are so inclined to spend money on an upgrade).


W2K comes with a plethora of drivers for all kinds of hardware. But the list is not necessarily complete. If you have a really old and outdated piece of equipment, or something brand-spanking new that came on the market right around the same time or after W2K was released, W2K will not have drivers for it and you need to supply your own. Make a list of devices and hardware used in or with your PC, and visit first of all the Microsoft Windows 2000 Compatiblity web site to check the hardware compatibility list and/or download the W2K Readiness Analyzer Tool to scan your system for compatibility. After that, visit each manufacturer's web site to make sure that W2K drivers are available. But don't expect everybody to have drivers ready right away. Chances are that most manufacturers won't release drivers until a few weeks or even months after W2K becomes available.
Tip: For some devices, Windows NT 4.0 drivers might work as a temporary solution.

Back To Top Of Page