The benefits add up quickly

Migrating from Windows NT 4.0 to Windows 2000 is more difficult than migrating between versions of NT. However, making the jump to Win2K is a good idea for many reasons. In this Top 10, I present the ten primary reasons that you should think about before taking the plunge.

10.
Better application performance—Win2K's optimized network stack offers improved performance for all network applications. SAP benchmarks showed a gain of more than 100,000 transactions per hour after an NT-to-Win2K server migration. For good reason, Win2K is the OS for all of the Windows database TPC-C benchmarks.

9.
Improved scalability—Win2K offers a much higher scalability ceiling than any version of NT. At the absolute high end, Win2K Datacenter Server supports as much as 4-node failover clustering, 32-processor SMP systems, and 64GB of RAM. The more commonly implemented Win2K Advanced Server supports as much as 2-node failover clustering, 8-processor SMP systems, and 8GB of RAM.

8.
Better security—Thanks to Win2K's Encrypting File System (EFS), each user can easily encrypt files, thereby securing them from other users' prying eyes. Only the file owner or the designated recovery agent can open encrypted files. This functionality can be especially handy for protecting corporate laptop users.

7.
Improved remote management—Under NT, support for terminal services requires an entirely separate version of the OS: NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition (WTS). Microsoft has built terminal services support into Win2K. You can immediately utilize Win2K Server Terminal Services for remote administration—without additional licensing costs.

6.
Service pack slipstreaming—Although you can easily install NT to a network share, the procedure requires multiple steps: You always need to apply the latest service pack after completing the initial OS installation. Win2K's support for service pack slipstreaming lets you apply service packs to the network installation share. Therefore, new installations immediately incorporate the latest updates.

5.
Effective Plug and Play (PnP) support—Unlike NT 4.0's "plug and pray" support, Win2K's PnP functionality works. Although Win2K still has problems finding drivers for some devices, the driver situation is much better than that of NT 4.0 at this point in the OS's life cycle.

4.
Built-in support for disk quotas—Under NT, you need third-party products or sophisticated management scripts to implement disk quotas. Microsoft has built disk-quota support into Win2K. You can easily implement quotas on the Quotas tab of the disk's Properties page.

3.
More desktop control—Like NT's System Policies, Win2K's Group Policies let you easily configure and control client desktop settings throughout your network. To set up Group Policies, you use the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Group Policies snap-in. Group Policies, which Win2K integrates with Active Directory (AD), let you control groups of computers and users.

2.
Active Directory—AD provides a central point for enterprise network administration. AD makes your networks easier to manage and lets you consolidate your NT domains. To store information about network objects, AD uses a hierarchical organization that consists of forests, domains, and organizational units (OUs).

1.
Fewer reboots—Perhaps the most important reason to migrate to Win2K is its improved stability. After Microsoft conducted user studies, the company worked hard to eliminate the top 50 reasons that caused NT users to reboot their systems. More uptime equals happier users.