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Advantages of Windows NT

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First post, by fsmith2003

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I have never dove into the world of Windows NT. Mostly because I don't exactly understand its use. I've always heard of people using it in some version since it was released. So I was curious if it could be explained what advantages it has over the other versions released at the same time. Is it something I should try out for any reason on some of my retro builds? What exactly does it do differently than the others?

Reply 1 of 29, by derSammler

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NT was Microsoft's continuation of OS/2 after they split with IBM. It's a true 32-bit OS with no 16-bit crap, does not rely on DOS, and it's very stable. We are all using Windows NT now, since Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 8.x, and 10 are all part of the Windows NT line, even if "NT" was dropped from the name during development of Windows 2000 (which was called NT 5.0 up to RC1).

Reply 2 of 29, by Errius

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Performance, stability and security. However it won't run DOS games at all, and will only run a minority of Windows games.

One nice thing about NT 4.0 is that it still networks smoothly with Windows 7.

“Your mission is to attack and destroy the Apple Computer manufacturing plant. You are allotted 35 bombs and 60 lasers."

Reply 3 of 29, by fsmith2003

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So basically NT is the beginnings of what we use today? Since it is not based off of DOS then are there some notable programs or games that did use this technology prior to the release of Windows 2000?

Reply 4 of 29, by Jo22

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fsmith2003 wrote:

So basically NT is the beginnings of what we use today?

Yes, pretty much. NT prior NT 5.1 (Win XP) had some interersting features.
* NT up to 3.5x ran GDI in User Space (NT4 GDI ran in Kernal Space. Vista was same again)
* NT 3.x or 4.0 still can read HPFS volumes
* NT had a better/more complete network stack than 9x
* NT 5.0 (Win 2000) still contained IPX/SPX (optional in XP)
* NT 3.1 supported multi-processor setups with 386 CPUs
* NT 5.0 (Win 2000) was the last OS for the PC-98 platform (and inofficially, the 486)
* NT up to 4.0 or 5.0 (Win 2000) sill supported OS/2 text mode apps
(and 16-Bit PM apps with the OS2 Presentation Manager For NT.)

fsmith2003 wrote:

Since it is not based off of DOS then are there some notable programs or games that did use this technology prior to the release of Windows 2000?

I don't know for sure. But programs that used threading did perhaps benefit from its better multi-tasking abilities.
Windows 3.1 and 9x did not support multi-processor setups, even though Dual-Pentium mainboards existed in the 90s.
On such a system, Windows NT was perhaps much smoother than anything else.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Reply 5 of 29, by feipoa

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I used Windows 95 for 2 years before switching to NT 4.0 and was blown away at how stable the OS was in comparison. On my retro systems, I tend to install NT4 along with w9x on separate partitions. I think there is a list on Vogons somewhere which listed games that run well on NT4. Obviously the Quakes all run on NT4.

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Reply 6 of 29, by chinny22

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NT4 can be fun as its the "same but different"
It has a very Win95 feel about it but doesn't have Plug and Play or device manager so quite different as well.

Stability and security were its big selling points, things like joining domains, different levels of users (administrators, guests, etc) NTFS and file/folder permissions
None of this is possible in Win9x

For Gaming though its pretty useless as its stuck at DirectX 3

Windows 2000 Makes a good alternate to Win9x for gaming though if you want to try something different than Win9x

Reply 8 of 29, by fsmith2003

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Thanks for all the help everyone! I may go ahead and give it a try and see for myself what its capable of. I like the idea of a retro file server.

Reply 9 of 29, by feipoa

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I used to use NT4 as a HTTP and FTP server. worked fine for me, but the load was very light.

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Reply 10 of 29, by Errius

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Did anyone here use NT Workstation professionally back in the day?

“Your mission is to attack and destroy the Apple Computer manufacturing plant. You are allotted 35 bombs and 60 lasers."

Reply 11 of 29, by feipoa

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I used it as my everyday use computer from late 1998 until around 2004

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Reply 12 of 29, by DosFreak

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Workstation
Used at home from 96 until the beta of Windows 2000.
Used at work from 99-2002?. Can't remember.

Server
Used at work from 99-2004.

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Reply 13 of 29, by chinny22

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When I first started IT back in 2002 A massive multinational client were still on NT4 both workstation/server, but I didnt do much work for them been the most junior employee
By the time they had a plan on how to roll out 2000 across the globe 2003 was out so project was pushed back about a year, so guess around 2004 it was finally upgraded. They were definitely on 2003/XP when I did do work for them in 2005.

A smaller customer had NT4 server, Exchange 5.5, but the PC's were all Win9x and that was upgraded in 2002.

Reply 14 of 29, by Errius

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Why did MS never update DirectX for NT 4.0?

Is it because most professional CAD software used OpenGL so there was no demand?

“Your mission is to attack and destroy the Apple Computer manufacturing plant. You are allotted 35 bombs and 60 lasers."

Reply 15 of 29, by Jo22

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Hi, I think NT 4 supported DirectX 6 by applying some sort of patch.

There also were other APIs around the time; OpenGL was still in its infant, I believe.
Other APIs, such as Heidi, BRender, Renderware, RenderMan, GKS, IrisGL, etc.
Source: https://users.cg.tuwien.ac.at/wimmer/apis/API_Summary.html

Speaking of OpenGL, version 1.x is/was the most recent supported by pure software-rendering.
It also was supported by that Win10-on-ARM Win32-x86 Emulator that was so hyped in the press not long ago.
https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/02/windo … tion-no-opengl/

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 16 of 29, by feipoa

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Does it have something to do with Microsoft wanting users to migrate to W2K?

Wasn't the patch for DX5?

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Reply 17 of 29, by Errius

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I've heard about a DX6 patch but could never find it.

“Your mission is to attack and destroy the Apple Computer manufacturing plant. You are allotted 35 bombs and 60 lasers."

Reply 18 of 29, by tayyare

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Errius wrote:

Did anyone here use NT Workstation professionally back in the day?

A CAD software that I used then was ported from UNIX (IDEAS) and was running on an X for Windows type shell, which definately required Windows NT. So, yes, from 1998 to 2000, I had a Windows NT 4.0 Workstation (a PPRO 200 with an insanely expensive display card and an insane amount of RAM for the period). Our company servers were a Novell Netware one (used by finance), and NT 4.0 Server (used by engineering).

GA-6VTXE PIII 1.4+512MB
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Reply 19 of 29, by Errius

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That sounds interesting. Do you remember the video card and the amount of memory? What size monitors were used for CAD back then?

“Your mission is to attack and destroy the Apple Computer manufacturing plant. You are allotted 35 bombs and 60 lasers."