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NT3.51 Just turned 25 Today!

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First post, by chinny22

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According to Wiki NT 3.51 turns 25 today so lets celebrate with a bit of a post about one of the most overlooked family of Windows.

I shall be using my somewhat period correct dual PPro with 256MB of Ram, Matrox Mystique and 2 8GB CF cards.
Duel Pentium Pro build

My first hurdle was HDD partitioning.
I was dual booting with dos 7 so c:\ needs to be Fat16
The drive that you are installing NT on should be at max 2GB, any more and setup crashes when converting it from Fat to NTFS, work around do exist but 2GB is massive anyway.
Also for some reason NT cant read logical partitions I create in fdisk. Not a big problem, just create them in NT after and Dos can read them fine.

In the end I went with 2GB FAT 16 for c:\ and rest of the first CF card is a Fat32 partition of dos games.
the 2nd CF card has a 2GB NTFS partition for NT, 1GB Fat16 as a dumping ground shared between the 2 OS's and rest a NTFS data drive for programs.

With that out the way installing NT is easy enough and much like NT4. Start with 3 floppies and has an amusing option to install by floppy or CD once it reaches that point. It detects my multiple CPU’s and loads the correct HAL automatically. In fact the only change I have to make is select UK rather then US region at the text level set up.

Graphical part is different to NT4 but straightforward. If you have your NIC drivers on the HDD like I did make a note of the path, as you don’t have the browse option!

Unlike Windows 3x this is built round TCP which makes life easy. IF you are installing SMS server may as well install the “Network Monitor Agent” now and save a step later on.

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Once up and running, install any drivers and SP5. SP5 also changes the blue boot reporting total RAM from KB to MB, nice touch!

Winworld has a download of all post SP5 updates, most interesting for me was Y2k, and an update for this brand new currency the euro. Dates seem to display ok and none of the security patches bother me so haven’t applied any myself.

Onto the software!
The 16bit IE 5.01 is the latest version supported, cool thing here is it supports right mouse click. Where as the OS itself doesn’t.
I’ve also installed Netscape 3 as it just feels right on Windows 3x machines

I also like Winzip on my 3.x GUI’s in which case Winzip 7.0 SR1 is the latest. Office 97 is the final version supported which is what I’m typing this up on 😀

Backoffice 2.0 gives you the last version of Microsoft server software like Exchange and SQL but will get more into them later.

As you can see the desktop looks very Windows 3.x but with a few small differences.

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Up the top it tells you the logged on user, in this case Administrator of the NT351 domain
The little head on some of the program groups indicate they are user specific. The ones without the head are common to all users, That’s right This is Windows 3 with proper user profiles.
You also have NT type things as services, event viewer, etc which 9x never got.

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Thais it for Part 1, I admit this is a rush post to get out on the correct day.
Part 2 will be installing Backoffice 2.0 (which isn't actually 25 yet)

Reply 1 of 56, by Intel486dx33

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I did not know Win NT 3.5.1 could support up to 32 CPU’s. Do you know of any computers or motherboards with 4 or more CPU’s ?
http://www.os2museum.com/wp/more-cpus-in-nt-3-x-workstation/

Last edited by Intel486dx33 on 2020-05-30, 08:24. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 2 of 56, by kolderman

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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2020-05-30, 07:09:

I did not know Win NT 3.5.1 could support up ti 32 CPU’s. Do you know of any computers or motherboards with 4 or more CPU’s ?
http://www.os2museum.com/wp/more-cpus-in-nt-3-x-workstation/

Maybe the DEC Alpha Server range?

Reply 4 of 56, by chinny22

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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2020-05-30, 07:09:

I did not know Win NT 3.5.1 could support up to 32 CPU’s. Do you know of any computers or motherboards with 4 or more CPU’s ?
http://www.os2museum.com/wp/more-cpus-in-nt-3-x-workstation/

Have a soft spot for early Compaq servers and both the Proliant 6400 and 8000 are 4 way Pentium Pro systems.
Compaq's earliest 8 way servers didn't come out until the P3 era, at least on the Intel side of things.

Reply 5 of 56, by chrismeyer6

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Wow NT 3.51 is 25 boy has time flown by. I remember when I was in third grade my elementary School had gotten a new server in the computer lab and it was running NT 3.5. This has brought back some great memories of mine.

Reply 6 of 56, by kixs

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Nice project... have to add it to my to-do list 😉

I only once installed Windows NT 3.1 on my 386DX-40 with 8MB ram in 1994... it was fun 😀

My Amibay: SALE | BUY - Updated on 2020-05-25

Reply 7 of 56, by chinny22

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Onto Part 2 after all whats the point of a server without anything to serve?
Really if I was keeping with the 25 year thing I'd be installing Back Office 1.5 The main difference been it came with MS Mail 3.5 That Mail icon that came with Windows 95. That was the client for this.
But we'll be going with Back Office 2.0 released in 96 and final version that supported NT3. Other differences are SQL6.5 over 6.0 and the very first release of IIS and Exchange.

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SNA server lets you connect to things like mainframes which I don’t know anything about so we'll be skipping that one.

IIS.1.0, yep very first one! The default page is bit more interesting then later versions helping to explain the underlying layer of this new fad the www.

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And here is that sample site in good old Netscape, how 90’s is that!

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It also support s FTP and Gopher but it’s a pretty basic web server overall. Enough for some basic tasks but not what you want to be using as your primary web server, much like it is still today.

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Reply 8 of 56, by chinny22

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Exchange 4 is actually the first version, it just carried on the numbering from the completely different MS Mail product.

Setup is a bit tricky if not paying attention. You will be asked for a organisation and a site name. Organisation will become your domain and site will become a sub domain so in this example my email addresses will be administrator@nt351.exchange4.com, um ok?

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Rest of the setup is easy enough you’ll need to apply SP2 before SP5. Every copy of SP2 I found doesn’t extract properly if you just run the exe as doesn’t create the folders, just use Winzip or whatever to extract the file restoring the directory structure and it works fine. It's basic but you can tell its Exchange

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Next onto SQL 6.5
Again not my strong point but its needed for SMS. SP5 takes forever to apply.

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Finally SMS 1.1
No it doesn't allow text messaging form your PC!
SMS or System Management Server is used to manage and deploy software over a domain. 1.1 added support for Win95. It’s something I want to play with in more depth later on but for now all I can do is check out the 1 PC in my domain the server.

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And that's about it for now!
I have a good period correct PC in mind to install the Workstation on but it's been delayed with everyone in lock down.
Another more famous windows version is released later the year which I will also attach to this domain, but that'll have to wait till end of August, did I give it away 😉

Reply 10 of 56, by chinny22

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chrismeyer6 wrote on 2020-06-01, 12:20:

Wow NT 3.51 is 25 boy has time flown by. I remember when I was in third grade my elementary School had gotten a new server in the computer lab and it was running NT 3.5. This has brought back some great memories of mine.

That's pretty impressive. We had bunch of 486/33's running Windows for Workgoups and I graduated Dec 98 (Aussie school and calendar years are the same)
From memory I think only 1 of the 2 labs had a peer to peer network setup.

Even though I'm a system administrator by trade I only discovered NT3 in the last 10 years! I know about NT4 and early 16bit versions of windows but somehow this completely flew under my radar until getting into retro computers.

kixs wrote on 2020-06-01, 12:22:

Nice project... have to add it to my to-do list 😉

I only once installed Windows NT 3.1 on my 386DX-40 with 8MB ram in 1994... it was fun 😀

It's a strange OS, even if its even less useful then Windows 3x. At least you can use that to manage a dos PC.
I guess you could use it as a more stable version of Win3x if you kept to Fat16 drives. I've had to end task once or twice, that would have blue screened Win3x
It is a nice OS to play around with though, it has a certain charm in its simplicity. I do recommend installing it, even if its just a weekend project 😀

Reply 12 of 56, by gdjacobs

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chinny22 wrote on 2020-05-30, 01:16:
According to Wiki NT 3.51 turns 25 today so lets celebrate with a bit of a post about one of the most overlooked family of Windo […]
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According to Wiki NT 3.51 turns 25 today so lets celebrate with a bit of a post about one of the most overlooked family of Windows.

I shall be using my somewhat period correct dual PPro with 256MB of Ram, Matrox Mystique and 2 8GB CF cards.
Duel Pentium Pro build

My first hurdle was HDD partitioning.
I was dual booting with dos 7 so c:\ needs to be Fat16
The drive that you are installing NT on should be at max 2GB, any more and setup crashes when converting it from Fat to NTFS, work around do exist but 2GB is massive anyway.
Also for some reason NT cant read logical partitions I create in fdisk. Not a big problem, just create them in NT after and Dos can read them fine.

In the end I went with 2GB FAT 16 for c:\ and rest of the first CF card is a Fat32 partition of dos games.
the 2nd CF card has a 2GB NTFS partition for NT, 1GB Fat16 as a dumping ground shared between the 2 OS's and rest a NTFS data drive for programs.

With that out the way installing NT is easy enough and much like NT4. Start with 3 floppies and has an amusing option to install by floppy or CD once it reaches that point. It detects my multiple CPU’s and loads the correct HAL automatically. In fact the only change I have to make is select UK rather then US region at the text level set up.

Graphical part is different to NT4 but straightforward. If you have your NIC drivers on the HDD like I did make a note of the path, as you don’t have the browse option!

Unlike Windows 3x this is built round TCP which makes life easy. IF you are installing SMS server may as well install the “Network Monitor Agent” now and save a step later on.

Network.jpg

Once up and running, install any drivers and SP5. SP5 also changes the blue boot reporting total RAM from KB to MB, nice touch!

Winworld has a download of all post SP5 updates, most interesting for me was Y2k, and an update for this brand new currency the euro. Dates seem to display ok and none of the security patches bother me so haven’t applied any myself.

Onto the software!
The 16bit IE 5.01 is the latest version supported, cool thing here is it supports right mouse click. Where as the OS itself doesn’t.
I’ve also installed Netscape 3 as it just feels right on Windows 3x machines

I also like Winzip on my 3.x GUI’s in which case Winzip 7.0 SR1 is the latest. Office 97 is the final version supported which is what I’m typing this up on 😀

Backoffice 2.0 gives you the last version of Microsoft server software like Exchange and SQL but will get more into them later.

As you can see the desktop looks very Windows 3.x but with a few small differences.

ProgramMGR.jpg

Up the top it tells you the logged on user, in this case Administrator of the NT351 domain
The little head on some of the program groups indicate they are user specific. The ones without the head are common to all users, That’s right This is Windows 3 with proper user profiles.
You also have NT type things as services, event viewer, etc which 9x never got.
EVTVWR.jpg

Thais it for Part 1, I admit this is a rush post to get out on the correct day.
Part 2 will be installing Backoffice 2.0 (which isn't actually 25 yet)

I think it's only right that I fire up Windows NT 3.51 on my dual P3 Epox machine. Twin 500mhz processors and 1GB of RAM will result in instant performance. I will contemplate today's software and how dog slow it is.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 13 of 56, by chinny22

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gdjacobs wrote on 2020-06-01, 22:33:

I think it's only right that I fire up Windows NT 3.51 on my dual P3 Epox machine. Twin 500mhz processors and 1GB of RAM will result in instant performance. I will contemplate today's software and how dog slow it is.

Agree it IS only right.
It's already pretty damn quick to boot on the 200's and no load times to speak of once I'm logged in.
Your rig would make windows it's bi*ch!
Would be interesting how long shutdown takes. That's the only time mine feels slow and suspect its due to clearing out my "massive" 256MB or ram
Imagine it'll have a mini heart attack when it sees your 1GB

Reply 14 of 56, by gdjacobs

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chinny22 wrote on 2020-06-02, 10:20:
Agree it IS only right. It's already pretty damn quick to boot on the 200's and no load times to speak of once I'm logged in. Yo […]
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gdjacobs wrote on 2020-06-01, 22:33:

I think it's only right that I fire up Windows NT 3.51 on my dual P3 Epox machine. Twin 500mhz processors and 1GB of RAM will result in instant performance. I will contemplate today's software and how dog slow it is.

Agree it IS only right.
It's already pretty damn quick to boot on the 200's and no load times to speak of once I'm logged in.
Your rig would make windows it's bi*ch!
Would be interesting how long shutdown takes. That's the only time mine feels slow and suspect its due to clearing out my "massive" 256MB or ram
Imagine it'll have a mini heart attack when it sees your 1GB

With this setup, NT almost feels like a mouse tied to a race horse with an elastic.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 15 of 56, by eisapc

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chinny22 wrote on 2020-06-01, 11:53:

...
Have a soft spot for early Compaq servers and both the Proliant 6400 and 8000 are 4 way Pentium Pro systems.
Compaq's earliest 8 way servers didn't come out until the P3 era, at least on the Intel side of things.

Proliant 6400 and 8000 are both PIII. 6400 has up to 4, 8000 and 8500 had up to 8 CPUs.
The 4 way Pentium Pros were the Proliant 5000 and 5500, featuring 2 CPU boards with 2 PPro each.
The HP Netserver LX Pro and the IBM PC Server 704 are technically the same with up to 4 PPro.
The only known machines with more than 4 PPro were the ALR Revolution 6x6 with 6 PPro.
Wikipedia mentiones a Netserver LXr Pro8, but I cannot find any information on that machine.
edit: just found some material:
https://www.1000bit.it/ad/bro/hp/netserverlxrpor8.pdf

The four PPro limit is due to Intel limits causing the need for additional circuits to connect more CPUs in one machine.
Same limits exist for Pentium (2), Pentium II/III (2), Pentium II/III Xeon (4), Xeon DP (2).

Reply 16 of 56, by chinny22

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Great so the site I got my info from was BS!
You know of a good site on early Proliant's? Finding info on the range before they changed to the ML/DL xxx Gx convention is really hard.

Reply 17 of 56, by Intel486dx33

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chrismeyer6 wrote on 2020-06-01, 13:20:

Yeah the school spent good money on the server and not so much on the lab computers. Still fun to remember back then we had tons of fun with the games

When I was in computer education school we took Microsoft certification courses in DOS, Win3.11, WinNT 3.5.1, MS-Access and Office and Win95. Novell server and Unix.

My classmates and I use to compete with each other to see who could get the highest score in certification test.
We would shoot for “instructor” Level test scores.

Later when I was working in computer education we use to use a WinNT-4.0 server ( HP LC-100 Netserver ) with Pentium-100mhz and 64mb of memory to push out hard drive images to all the classroom workstations. We had a custom image for every class they would teach. I was really cool to watch all those computers get a remote installation over the 10-base -T network. It would take about 3 to 5 minutes to complete the installation of about 30 classroom workstations. And to hear them all reboot at the same time with the Microsoft startup sound was awesome
https://youtu.be/TXW2mP6BQk8

It was so simple It only took 3 clicks of the mouse to setup and push out images to the entire classroom.

But it would have worked with WinNT 3.5.1 server too
We could even push out images for WinNT 3.5.1, WinNT 3.5.1 server, Win3x, Win95, DOS, Novell, and anything that could run on the PC back in 1997.

Reply 18 of 56, by martinot

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chinny22 wrote on 2020-06-01, 13:01:
That's pretty impressive. We had bunch of 486/33's running Windows for Workgoups and I graduated Dec 98 (Aussie school and calen […]
Show full quote
chrismeyer6 wrote on 2020-06-01, 12:20:

Wow NT 3.51 is 25 boy has time flown by. I remember when I was in third grade my elementary School had gotten a new server in the computer lab and it was running NT 3.5. This has brought back some great memories of mine.

That's pretty impressive. We had bunch of 486/33's running Windows for Workgoups and I graduated Dec 98 (Aussie school and calendar years are the same)
From memory I think only 1 of the 2 labs had a peer to peer network setup.

Even though I'm a system administrator by trade I only discovered NT3 in the last 10 years! I know about NT4 and early 16bit versions of windows but somehow this completely flew under my radar until getting into retro computers.

kixs wrote on 2020-06-01, 12:22:

Nice project... have to add it to my to-do list 😉

I only once installed Windows NT 3.1 on my 386DX-40 with 8MB ram in 1994... it was fun 😀

It's a strange OS, even if its even less useful then Windows 3x. At least you can use that to manage a dos PC.
I guess you could use it as a more stable version of Win3x if you kept to Fat16 drives. I've had to end task once or twice, that would have blue screened Win3x
It is a nice OS to play around with though, it has a certain charm in its simplicity. I do recommend installing it, even if its just a weekend project 😀

I was tired of all the crashes and bad memory protection in DOS/Win3, and had tried out both BSD-UNIX and OS/2 and enjoyed those systems high stability and good protection of bad behaving apps (BSD being really stable, OS/2 a little bit less so). Was really looking forward to the NT based Windows, and was an early beta tester since 1990/91. Loved that I could run Windows NT 3.1 and all Windows apps without crashing, but my computer at the time was really a bit to slow and too little RAM to use it as main system.

It was not until I got a 486 with 8MB that NT 3.5 really became my default OS (had OS/2, Win3, DOS, and FreeBSD as options), but I really liked that system combining the familiar Win3 GUI with the stability of a real operating system, and with all Windows apps to run. With the 3.51 release NT got even faster/zippier and very well tuned (mostly a performance upgrade to 3.5, and with new API and support for running W95 apps).

Great system, and great that you remember to note it's 25 year birthday! 😀

Reply 19 of 56, by Intel486dx33

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Back in 1990’s HP was able to create a Global computer network using WinNT 3.5.1

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