Windows NT 4.0

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Windows NT 4.0
Version of the Windows NT operating system
A screenshot of Windows NT 4.0
Source modelClosed source
Released to
31 July 1996; 27 years ago (1996-07-31)[1]
Latest release4.0 SP6a (Build 1381) / 24 August 1996; 27 years ago (1996-08-24)[2]
PlatformsIA-32, Alpha, MIPS, PowerPC
Kernel typeHybrid
LicenseCommercial proprietary software
Preceded byWindows NT 3.51 (1995)
Succeeded byWindows 2000 (1999)
Official website
Support status
EmbeddedMainstream support ended on 30 June 2003[3]
Extended support ended on 11 July 2006[3]
ServerMainstream support ended on 31 December 2002[4]
Extended support ended on 31 December 2004[4]
WorkstationMainstream support ended on 30 June 2002[5]
Extended support ended on 30 June 2004[5]

Windows NT 4.0 is a preemptively multitasked[6] graphical operating system, designed to work with either a single processor or symmetric multi-processor computers. It was part of Microsoft's Windows NT family of operating systems and was released to manufacturing on 31 July 1996.[1] It is a 32-bit operating system available in both workstation and server editions with a graphical environment similar to that of Windows 95. It was officially released on August 24, 1996, about a year after Windows 95.

Overview[change | change source]

The successor to Windows NT 3.51, Windows NT 4.0 introduced the user interface of Windows 95 to the Windows NT family, including the Windows shell, File Explorer (known as Windows NT Explorer at the time), and the use of "My" nomenclature for shell folders (e.g. My Computer). It also includes most components introduced with Windows 95. Internally, Windows NT 4.0 was known as the Shell Update Release.[7] While many administrative tools, notably User Manager for Domains, Server Manager and Domain Name Service Manager still used the old graphical user interfaces, the Start menu in Windows NT 4.0 separated the per-user shortcuts and folders from the shared shortcuts and folders by a separator line.[8] Windows NT 4.0 includes some enhancements from Microsoft Plus! for Windows 95 such as the Space Cadet pinball table, font smoothing, showing window contents while dragging, high-color icons and stretching the wallpaper to fit the screen. Windows Desktop Update could also be installed on Windows NT 4.0 to update the shell version and install Task Scheduler.[9] Windows NT 4.0 Resource Kit included the Desktop Themes utility.[10]

Windows NT 4.0 is the last major release of Microsoft Windows to support the Alpha, MIPS or PowerPC CPU architectures. It remained in use by businesses for a number of years, despite Microsoft's many efforts to get customers to upgrade to Windows 2000 and newer versions. It was also the last release in the Windows NT family to be branded as Windows NT although Windows 2000 carried the designation "Built on NT Technology".

Editions[change | change source]

Windows NT 4.0 Workstation edition

Windows NT 4.0 Server was included in versions 4.0 and 4.5 of BackOffice Small Business Server suite.

Client[change | change source]

  • Windows NT 4.0 Workstation was designed for use as the general business desktop operating system.

Servers[change | change source]

  • Windows NT 4.0 Server, released in 1996, was designed for small-scale business server systems.
  • Windows NT 4.0 Server, Enterprise Edition, released in 1997, is the precursor to the Enterprise line of the Windows server family (Advanced Server in Windows 2000). Enterprise Server was designed for high-demand, high-traffic networks. Windows NT 4.0 Server, Enterprise Edition includes Service Pack 3.[11] The Enterprise Edition saw the introduction of the /3GB boot flag, which changed the default virtual address space mapping from 2 GB kernel and 2 GB userland to 1 GB kernel and 3 GB userland. It also introduced a PSE36 driver for mapping up to 64 GB memory (although chipsets then supported only up to 8 GB.)[12] This version also saw the first introduction of cluster service.
  • Windows NT 4.0 Terminal Server Edition, released in 1998, allows the users to log on remotely. The same functionality was called Terminal Services in Windows 2000 and later server releases, and also powers the Remote Desktop feature that first appeared in Windows XP.

Embedded[change | change source]

  • Windows NT 4.0 Embedded (abbreviated NTe) is an edition of Windows NT 4.0 that was aimed at computer-powered major appliances, vending machines, ATMs and other devices that cannot be considered general-purpose computers. It is the same system as the standard Windows NT 4.0, but it comes packaged in a database of components and dependencies, from which a developer can choose individual components to build customized setup CDs and hard disk boot images. Windows NT 4.0 Embedded includes Service Pack 5. It was succeeded by Windows XP Embedded.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Microsoft Announces the Release of Windows NT Workstation 4.0". News Center. Redmond, WA: Microsoft. 31 July 1996.
  2. "Post-Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 6a Security Rollup Package (SRP)". Support. Microsoft. 19 June 2014.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Microsoft Support Lifecycle for Windows NT Embedded 4.0". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 3 February 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Microsoft Support Lifecycle for Windows NT 4.0 Server". Microsoft. Retrieved 4 September 2009.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Microsoft Support Lifecycle for Windows NT 4.0 Workstation". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 4 February 2020. Retrieved 4 September 2009.
  6. Donald McLaughlin and Partha Dasgupta (4 August 1998). "Distributed Preemptive Scheduling on Windows NT". 2nd USENIX Windows NT Symposium. USENIX. Retrieved 4 September 2009.
  7. "Poking Around Under the Hood: A Programmer's View of Windows NT 4.0". Microsoft.
  8. "Windows 2000 Professional Beta 3 Review". Archived from the original on 2011-12-06. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  9. "The New Task Scheduler (Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0)". Microsoft.
  10. "NT 4.0 RESOURCE KIT UTILITIES Corrections and Comments". Microsoft.
  11. "Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition Administrator's Guide and Release Notes". Microsoft.
  12. Tuning IBM xSeries Servers for Performance (PDF) (3rd ed.). IBM SG24-5287-02. June 2002. pp. 92–93.
Preceded by
Windows 95
Windows Versions
Succeeded by
Windows 98