Windows 2000 was a modernization of Windows NT 4.0 which brought many of the desktop changes, including Active Desktop, to Microsoft's Windows NT line. Four editions of Windows 2000 were released, Professional, Server, Advanced Server, Datacenter Server. Improvements over NT 4.0 include new Accessibility Options, increased language and locale support, NTFS 3.0, the Encrypting File System and Active Directory. Windows 2000 was first planned to replace both Windows 98 and Windows NT 4.0 although using the NT kernel for consumer and professional editions would not happen until Windows 2000's successor, Windows XP.
Windows 2000 introduces layered windows that allow for transparency, translucency and various transition effects like shadows, gradient fills and alpha-blended GUI elements to top-level windows. Menus support a new Fade transition effect.
Windows 2000 introduced the Microsoft Management Console (MMC), which is used to create, save, and open administrative tools. Each of these is called a console, and most allow an administrator to administer other Windows 2000 computers from one centralised computer. Each console can contain one or many specific administrative tools, called snap-ins. These can be either standalone (with one function), or an extension (adding functions to an existing snap-in). In order to provide the ability to control what snap-ins can be seen in a console, the MMC allows consoles to be created in author mode or user mode. Author mode allows snap-ins to be added, new windows to be created, all portions of the console tree to be displayed and consoles to be saved. User mode allows consoles to be distributed with restrictions applied. User mode consoles can grant full access to the user for any change, or they can grant limited access, preventing users from adding snapins to the console though they can view multiple windows in a console. Alternatively users can be granted limited access, preventing them from adding to the console and stopping them from viewing multiple windows in a single console. 2b1af7f3a8