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Windows 2000 Boot Files

The boot files used by NT/2000 are completely different than Windows 9x and are listed below:

  • BOOT.INI - Specifies boot defaults, operating system locations, settings and menu selections.
  • BOOTSECT.DOS - A file located in the system partition that allows the option to boot into another operating system such as Win98 or DOS.
  • NTDETECT.COM - Hardware detection program that is located on the root of the system partition.
  • NTLDR - File that loads the operating system and is located on the root of the system partition.
  • NTOSKRNL.EXE - The executable file.
  • OSLOADER.EXE - This is the OS loader for RISC based systems.
  • NTBOOTDD.SYS - File used when the system or boot partition is located on a SCSI drive and the BIOS is disabled.

Windows NT/2000 Structure
Windows NT and 2000 are 32 bit operating systems that run in 2 different modes which are kernel(protected) and user. Applications use Application Program Interfaces(APIs) to pass threads between the 2 modes. User mode provides no direct access to the system's hardware. The subsystems of these operating systems are outlined below.

  • WIN32 -- This subsystem handles support for 32-bit windows applications and is also known as the Client/Server subsystem. This subsystem has the following features:
    • 32-bit architecture
    • Multiple execution threads are supported for each process
    • Memory Protection - each Win32 application is separated and protected from other applications
    • OpenGL - Support for 2D and 3D graphics cards
    • 2GB nonsegmented address spaces are assigned to each application
    • NT/2000 supports DOS applications via VDMs(Virtual DOS Machines). A VDM is a Win32 application that creates an environment where DOS applications can run. It does this by making the NT Workstation resemble a DOS environment and tricks the DOS applications into thinking that they have unrestricted access to the computer's hardware. NT can only support DOS applications that use VDDs(Virtual Device Drivers) to intercept the applications calls to the computer's hardware.
    • NT/2000 also supports Win16 applications with the use of a DOS application called WOW(Windows on Windows). WOW runs within a VDM that runs as a 32-bit process. If a Win16 application crashes it will only corrupt the WOW, but will not affect the rest of the NT operating system.

In addition to the above, Windows 2000 also adds the Plug and Play Manager and the Power Management Manager

The registry editors included with Windows NT/2000 include Regedt32 and Regedit. For Windows 2000, the Regedt32 tool should be used while Windows NT can use either. Most of the registry(the static items) are contained in hive files which are located in the \WINNT\SYSTEM32\CONFIG directory. The 5 hives are SAM, security, software, system and default.

In Windows 2000 most system administration tasks are performed in the Computer Management Console that contains all of the various Microsoft Management Consoles(MMCs) in one location.

Windows 2000 filenames can be up to 255 characters long and cannot contain the following: <>\/?*"|

Windows 2000 fully supports PnP while NT has partial support since Service Pack 4.

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