How Much Hard Drive Will Windows 2000 Take?

Add the size of the Windows 2000 code to religion and politics as things not to bring up in polite conversation.

Add the size of the Windows 2000 code to religion and politics as things not to bring up in polite conversation.

The folks at Microsoft Corp. have become very touchy about discussing the subject, which has been the butt of numerous anti-Microsoft jokes.

"I don’t want to give a lines of code answer," said Brian Valentine, vice president of Microsoft’s business enterprise division, in response to a code size question during the announcement of the Windows 2000 Beta 3 release in late April. Valentine said the number was less relevant than system requirements, and went on to decline to discuss those as well.

Valentine noted that Windows 2000 includes support for more than 2,000 printers as an example of the kinds of things that bloat the code and make a lines-of-code number irrelevant. The company has discussed lines of code in the past, and estimates have ranged from 20 million to 40 million.

Jonathan Perera, lead product manager for Windows 2000 Server, spells out some of the system requirements: a 266 MHz processor, 128 MB of system memory and a 1 GB hard drive. Perera wouldn’t reveal the exact footprint of Windows 2000 within that 1 GB. Instead, Perera notes, "The average NT 4.0 Server today is 300 MHz, 256 MB and 2 GB-plus hard drive."

Again, without providing specifics, Perera says, "There’s almost zero delta between NT 4.0 Server and Windows 2000." The base installation of Windows NT 4.0 Server takes about 124 MB of disk space.

It also wasn’t immediately clear whether Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2000 Advanced Server and Windows 2000 Datacenter Server would ship in different sizes.

With Datacenter Server especially, Perera says, there’s little need for more software. "The high memory services, the clustering services, the footprints of those are very small. The thing you really need is more hardware," Perera says.

Analyst Jean Bozman of International Data Corp. ( expects the three server versions of Windows 2000 to have different footprints.

"I believe that you will see, in the end, that they’ve got three different deliverables, that they’ve got software stacks that are slightly different," Bozman says. "I believe it’s in response to customer feedback, that if one is running a small server, they don’t need [all the middleware]."

Bozman also predicts that the higher end versions, Advanced Server and Datacenter Server, will ultimately have flexible installations. "They’re not going to force people to install every bit of it," she says.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has pushed back the target release date for Datacenter Server, which originally had been scheduled to come out two months after the rest of the Windows 2000 product family. During the news conference, Ed Muth, Microsoft’s group manager for Windows 2000, said the product will ship about three to four months after the other versions.