ARCHIVED: What is Microsoft Windows NT?

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Note: For security and support reasons, UITS recommends using Windows 2000 Professional or Windows XP Professional, rather than NT Workstation 4.0, on Indiana University's network. Microsoft retired both mainstream and extended support for this version in June 2004, which means security updates are no longer being developed. For more information, see Microsoft's Windows Desktop Product Lifecycle Guidelines page at:

In 1993, when it was first released, Microsoft Windows NT was Microsoft's platform of choice for high-end systems. The current version, 4.0, is intended for use as a network server (NT Server) or a workstation (NT Workstation). Windows NT did not replace Windows 95. While Windows NT contains the Windows 95 interface, it is entirely 32-bit.

Technical features of Windows NT

  • Interface
    • Contains the Windows 95 interface and features like the Start button, Taskbar, Explorer, Network Neighborhood, and Briefcase

  • Networking
    • NetWare client and login script support
    • Enhanced meta-file (EMF) spooling for improved network printing speed
    • Support for 15 network protocols
    • Peer-to-peer and FTP server capabilities
    • Client software for both telnet and FTP services

  • Messaging Capabilities
    • Windows Messaging Subsystem
    • Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Schedule+ included

  • Remote Management
    • Remote management utilities such as Event Viewer, Performance Monitor, Service Controller, and Registry Editor
    • Dial-out capability to remote servers
    • Remote dial-in capability

  • Remote Access Services (RAS)
    • Internet access to Windows NT Server and DNS names for resource connections
    • Dial-out capability to remote servers, including Internet services
    • Remote dial-in ability to any workstation
    • Full network functionality over remote links using NetBEUI, IPX/SPX, and TCP/IP protocols
    • Dial-in capability to remote NetWare servers using RAS
    • Multi-link capability for channel aggregation of multiple modem connections

  • Security
    • Per-file and per-directory security with the NT file system (NTFS)
    • Local desktop security; user ID and password required for access
    • Account lockout capabilities to prevent unlimited login attempts
    • Network security with single network login using challenge/response protocol
    • Government C-2 level certifiable security

  • Application Support
    • Native support for all applications based on Windows 95, Win32, 16-bit Windows, 16-bit MS-DOS, 16-bit OS/2, and POSIX 1003.1
    • Separate memory spaces for 16-bit applications (multiple virtual MS-DOS machines)
    • Preemptive multitasking for 16-bit and 32-bit applications
    • 486 emulator allows 386-enhanced 16-bit applications to run on RISC machines
    • OLE support between all 16-bit and 32-bit Windows based applications
    • Asynchronous I/O queue for improved responsiveness
    • Structured exception handling for easy troubleshooting

  • Graphics and Multimedia
    • Significant performance gains for graphic intensive applications
    • OpenGL APIs for high-performance three-dimensional color graphics
    • 16-bit and 32-bit API support for the Video for Windows 1.1 feature set

  • Utilities
    • File compression with NTFS
    • User Manager for configuration and security
    • Disk Administrator for graphical disk configuration
    • Diagnostics utility that details basic system information
    • Performance Monitor for local and remote troubleshooting
    • Tape backup
    • Event Viewer and logging utility for local and remote troubleshooting
    • Long filename support on FAT and NTFS
    • Configuration details managed in registry database

  • Hardware Support
    • Multiple hardware configuration; you can specify a hardware profile at start time, including services, devices, and video resolutions
    • Intel, Alpha AXP, MIPS, and PowerPC platforms
    • Symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) support

Windows NT Workstation 4.0 system requirements

  • Intel based Systems
    • 486/25MHz (or faster) or Pentium based system
    • 12MB memory (RAM); 16MB recommended
    • 110MB available hard disk space
    • CD-ROM drive or access to a CD-ROM over a network
    • VGA or higher resolution display adapter
    • Microsoft mouse or compatible pointing device

  • RISC-based Systems
    • Workstation with Alpha AXP, MIPS R4x00, or PowerPC processor
    • 16MB of memory
    • 110MB of available hard disk space
    • CD-ROM drive or access to a CD-ROM over a network
    • VGA or higher resolution display adapter
    • Microsoft mouse or compatible pointing device

  • Optional
    • Network adapter card
    • Audio board

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Last modified on 2018-01-18 08:53:15.