Starting and shutting down a computer running Windows 2000 Professional is not simply a matter of turning the machine on and off. If your computer is part of a network, you must log on and log off. Even if your computer isn't part of a network, there's more to shutting it down properly than just cutting the power.
When you log on to a Windows 2000 PC, you introduce yourself with a name and password.
What separates Windows 2000 (and Windows NT) from all the other versions of Windows (95, 98, Me) is the element of security. Because Windows 2000 is designed primarily for the business market, you can configure its security to be very tight.
A basic element of network security is the ability to keep out anyone who doesn't belong. Also important is the ability to control who gets to see what folders and files are on the network and who gets to access them. For example, in most companies, the payroll records, profit and loss statements, and customer list are not available for inspection by just anyone on the network.
One way to control access is through the use of user accounts. When you log on with a password, Windows 2000 checks your name and password against a user database, either on your PC or a network server, to see if you have an authorized account. Your account specifies what you can do and see on the network.
On many networks, this log-on-to-your-account system confers a second terrific benefit: You can get at your files ...