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Microsoft Spells Out Windows 2000 Server Retirement

Microsoft has given Windows 2000 Server its walking papers. Late Wednesday, the Redmond, Wash.-based developer outlined a multi-stage retirement plan for the older server software, which was supplanted this year by the newer Windows Server 2003.
Effective April 1, 2006, the Windows 2000 Server family will no longer be available.

The retirement comes almost eight months after the debut of Windows Server 2003, and nearly four years after Windows 2000 Server first appeared.

Microsoft will age out Windows Server 2000 over a two-year span, starting on April 1, 2004, when Windows Server 2000 and Windows 2000 Advanced Server will no longer be available in the retail channel or through the company's volume licensing programs.

As of Nov. 1, 2004, the two versions, as well as Windows 2000 Datacenter, will be pulled from the direct OEM channel. In other words, vendors such as Dell and HP, which have direct licenses from Microsoft, won't be able to sell systems packaged with the operating system. On Nov. 1, 2005, systems builders -- typically smaller firms that produce servers by assembling components -- will have to stop selling Windows 2000 Server products with their machines.

Although the server software is going out to pasture, users will still be able to obtain disk sets until April 1, 2006, and acquire additional licenses by purchasing one for Windows Server 2003, then exercising 'downgrade' rights to install the OS from disks the customer already holds.

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