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OSdata.com: Windows NT 


Windows NT

also: Windows NT Server and Windows NT Server Enterprise Edition


    Windows NT, Windows NT Server, and Windows NT Server Enterprise Edition are server and workstation operating systems made by Microsoft that run on Intel/Cyrix/AMD Pentium, Intel 80x86, and DEC Alpha.

    Also see the summary at Windows.


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special topics

Intended purpose

server/mainframe: Microsoft intends Windows NT for server use

desktop/workstation: Microsoft intends Windows NT for workstation use, but recommends Windows 98 for desktop use

handheld: not appropriate

real time: not appropriate

    “Microsoft is driven to protect its monopoly on the desktop at all costs even if it means its ultimate design goals for NT must change to meet every threat. … The future of Windows NT is threatened less by the superiority of its competition than the inferiority of Windows NT, which results from Microsoft’s misplaced priorities. Microsoft’s design decisions are driven more by its attempt to protect its desktop monopoly than by technical excellence.” —Nicholas Petreley, “The new Unix alters NT’s orbit”, NC Worldw74

Kind of OS: proprietary

Release Date:

Current Version: 4.0


Hardware Supported: Intel/Cyrix/AMD Pentiumw3 (note: Windows NT 3.51 was ported to DEC Alpha, SGI MIPS, and IBM/Motorola PowerPC, but is no longer supportede54; Windows NT Server Enterprise Edition was ported to DEC Alpha, but is no longer supported)

Maximum Number of Processors: 4 —Jim Carr, MicroTimes; Oct 30, 1998m1

Number of bits: 32w43

    “Digital UNIX continues to dominate the 64-bit arena, leaving HP-UX and IRIX to contest the second position, followed closely by AIX. Solaris and NT trail significantly behind. Support for 64-bit processes [and] for large amounts of physical memory are still missing from NT. NT runs on 64-bit Alpha hardware and offers 64-bit files and file systems but has yet to address the key 64-bit requirement to support large amounts of physical memory for enhancing database performance.” —D.H. Brown Associatesw43

Kernel: proprietary

POSIX: partially supported

Peripherals: “Many PC peripherals work with NT, many don’t. See the HCL for a list of devices that are certified to work.” —Kristian Elof Sørensenw36

File Systems Supported:

Other Systems Emulated:

Graphics Engine:

Text Command Shell: DOS command line

User Interface (graphic):

Graphic Command Shell: Explorere80

Disabled support:

Internet Services:

Powered By ...?

    Businesses and organizations with servers powered by Windows NT: ABCNews.com, AudioHighway.com, Burger King, Compaq, Ebay.com, EDiets.com, ESPN, Ford, Gillette, Intel, MarthaStewart.com, NextCard.comw52

    http://www.baynetworks.com/Products/nav/f_netid_3_0.html “NetID” commercial DHCP/DDNS server from Bay Networks that runs on Solaris, HP-UX, Windows NT 4.0, and Windows 95; links into Oracle and Sybase, with tools for managing IP addresses.

    “When it comes to more sophisticated networking functionality, it seems that Microsoft’s NT Server 4.0 Enterprise Edition can’t hold a candle to the more mature commercial UNIX operating systems. Although not essential to network performance, 64-bit computing is here today with these UNIX operating systems (as opposed to NT’s 32-bit operating system).” —John Kirsch, “Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 versus UNIX”w51

    Microsoft NT 4.0 lags behind the leading UNIX vendors due to poor support for directory services, network security, NFS, and few TCP/IP extensions. Microsoft has largely focused adding value to its bundled Web server product and to tuning its Java Virtual Machine.” —Digital Equipment Corporation, “AIX 4.3 Leaps To 64-Bits In Dead Heat With Digital UNIX 4.0”w51

HP-UX 11.0 Solaris 2.6 AIX 4.3 Irix 6.4 Digital UNIX 4.0d NTS 4.0/EE
IPSec Yes No Yes No Yes No
IPv6 Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
RSVP Yes Partial Yes Yes Yes No
IP Multiplexing Yes Yes Yes No No No
IP Multicast Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Partial
Performance Optimizations
Telnet in kernel No Yes Yes No No No
Kernel Sockets No Yes Yes Yes Yes No
TCP Large Windows No Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Zero Copy TCP/Hardware Checksum No Yes No Yes No No
Path MTU Discovery No No Yes Yes Yes No
OpenShortestPathFirst (OSPF) Yes No Yes No Yes Yes
RTP: Real Time Protocol No No Yes Yes No No
RTCP: Real Time Control Protocol No No Yes Yes No No
Parallelized TCP/IP Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No


Networking Features Graph

Copyright Digital Equipment Corporation 1995-1998. All Rights Reserved.w51

    “Since Microsoft sees NT as a viable alternative to all other network-capable operating systems on the market, UNIX and Novell included, one would assume that NT would come with all the tools necessary to accomplish the most basic tasks required: file and printer services. Any systems/network administrator knows from experience that there are two important issues to be considered when setting up a file server or adding a new network user: security, i.e. passwords and file permissions; and quotas for limiting disk usage of any new or existing users or groups. Although NT provides basic password security, it only provides file-level security if you choose to use its proprietary filesystem called NTFS. Some MIS departments are reluctant to implement this file system (at least on users’ machines), because they feel that recovering from disk problems is hindered by the use of NTFS. More important than this issue, however, is that NT does not provide any mechanism for limiting a user’s disk usage! UNIX and Novell, on the other hand, provide software for performing this seemingly elementary control.” —John Kirsch, “Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 versus UNIX”w51

    “For most businesses, e-mail has become an indispensable tool for communication, and most companies run their own internal/external e-mail systems. With Windows NT, you will have to buy a separate software package in order to set up an e-mail server. UNIX operating systems come with a program called Sendmail. There are other mail server software packages (or MTAs, Mail Transport Agents) available for UNIX, but this one is the most widely used, and it is free. Some UNIX administrators feel that exim or qmail are better choices since they are not as difficult to configure as sendmail. Both exim and qmail, like sendmail as well, are free for use even in a commercial environment. Many NT-based companies use Microsoft Exchange Server as their MTA. This is an expensive solution with limited success in an enterprise environment. Microsoft Exchange Server Enterprise Edition — 25 Client Access Licenses costs $3,549.00. If you have more than 25 employees, the same package with 50 Client Access Licenses costs $4,859.00 (Source: Microsoft). For more information on this topic see http://www.unix-vs-nt.org/kirch/sendmail-exchange.html ֹMicrosoft Exchange versus Sendmail: Views of Other MIS Professionals’.” —John Kirsch, “Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 versus UNIX”w51

    “Meanwhile, Windows NT already loses on many more competitive issues. Linux, FreeBSD, and other forms of Unix can be configured as a firewall right out of the box. Windows NT cannot. Free Unix operating systems have built-in features like IP masquerading. Windows NT doesn’t even do basic IP filtering without additional software.” —Nicholas Petreley, “The new Unix alters NT’s orbit”, NC Worldw74

Microsoft has 26% of the Web server software market share 60% of defaced Web sites run Microsoft Web server software
Market share as of January 2002 Defacements = about 30,000 between April 2000 and February 2002
Microsoft software runs about a quarter of Web servers, but is the target of the majority of successful Web defacement attacks. —Los Angeles Times, February 13, 2002n3

Application Programs:


    “As Windows users are being plagued by computer viruses, spam, buggy software, and Web pop-up ads, some are questioning why the Redmond, Wash.-based software behemoth has failed to integrate security and repair features that could make computers less prone to problems.
    “ ‘Microsoft has added lots of bells and whistles to Windows to protect their operating system franchise over the years, but when it comes to Windows security and reliability, they’ve done comparitively little until recently,’ said Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute, a Bethesda, Md.-based computer security and training organization.
    “ ‘It’s like they are selling faster cars with more powerful engines but leaving off the seat belts and air bags — all those critical things that make customers safe when using their products,’ he added.
    “Microsoft’s critics say the reason the company isn’t eager to add security features is simple: Doing so wouldn’t help it fend off competitors whose products could undermine the spread of Windows.
    “ ‘You would think there would be money to be made in Microsoft having some kind of more effective antiviral program of their own,’ said Andrew Gavil, an antitrust expert and law professor at Howard University. ‘But virus programs don’t present any threat to their operating system monopoly.’ ” —Los Angeles Times, “Microsoft Runs Into Bundling Dilemma”, March 27, 2004n4

    Microsoft falsely claimed that it would make security a company-wide priority in its much publicized 2002 “trustworthy computing initiaitve”. Since then, Microsoft Windows (all versions) has become even more vulnerable to viruses and other internet attacks. Security is a purposely false and misleading marketing slogan at Microsoft.

    “Ironically, some experts say, product bundling is partly to blame for Windows’ security woes.
    “Lee A. Hollaar, a computer science professor at University of Utah, said the widespread proliferation of the Melissa computer virus stemmed from the tight integration of Microsoft’s Outlook e-mail program with its writing application, Word.
    “ ‘The Melissa virus exists only because Microsoft expanded Word documents to contain functions that let it access the Outlook address book’, Hollaar said.
    “Similarly, he explained, when the Internet Explorer Web browser was folded into the operating system, it exposed Windows to greater security risks from the Net.’ ” —Los Angeles Times, “Microsoft Runs Into Bundling Dilemma”, March 27, 2004n4


    “NT, even in its Enterprise Edition incarnation, trails in virtually every area except PC interoperability. As a comparatively new system targeting broader market requirements, NT simply lacks the functional depth of UNIX today.” —D.H. Brown Associatesw42

    “Randy Kessell, manager of technical analysis for a Southwestern Bell operation center, notes that because Linux allows his company to do more remote network administration and software loads than was possible with either Microsoft or NetWare products, it has driven down their network management costs.” —Ann Harrison, “In LINUX We…”, Software Magazine, Cover Story, September 1998w51

    Although the network capabilities of Windows NT Server and Windows NT Workstation are very different, this is the result of of a marketing decision rather than a technical difference. Although it is a violation of Microsoft’s license, a few minor changes in the NT Registry will convert Windows NT Workstation into a fully functional version of Windows NT Server.w65

alternatives to Windows NT


1.1 MB QuickTime movie of Bill Gates explaining his criteria for selecting the best operating system.

    “Unix on Intel is invading IT both overtly and covertly. Premature competition between Windows NT vs. Unix on Intel is exposing flaws in NT.” —Nicholas Petreley, “The new Unix alters NT’s orbit”, NC Worldw74

    “Yesterday’s college students learned their Unix expertise on Linux and FreeBSD. Today they’re working in IT departments, and many of them are openly hostile to both Microsoft and Windows NT. As a result, Linux, BSD, Solaris, and other forms of Unix are finding their way into IT departments, both overtly and on the sly.” —Nicholas Petreley, “The new Unix alters NT’s orbit”, NC Worldw74

    “Technically, Windows NT Server 4.0 is no match for any UNIX operating system, not even the non-commercial BSDs [FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD] or Linux.” —Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 versus UNIX w51

    “Microsoft enjoyed its great success not because it had great software but because people were stuck with it. Market domination, not innovation, drove the company’s success,” wrote James Wallace in the book “Overdrive: Bill Gates and the Race to Control Cyberspace”, John Wiley & Sons, September 1997.

    “Windows machines have advantages, too, such as more configuration options, cheaper up front cost, availability of software, snappier response on window controls, cheaper components, more peripherals.” —Why Monopolies Are Bad, by Jeff Adkinsw77

    Commentary: Quite simply, Windows guarantees more work for the M.I.S. departments — because it computers require far more technical support to do the same work. And when the M.I.S. departments make computer recommendations to management, they tend to look out for their own job security over the best interests of the business. The same reason that many retail stores also push Wintel machines — it guarantees more work for their highly profitable service departments.

    “What can you expect from Windows NT Server out of the box and from UNIX out of the box? NT can communicate with many different types of computers. So can UNIX. NT can secure sensitive data and keep unauthorized users off the network. So can UNIX. Essentially, both operating systems meet the minimum requirements for operating systems functioning in a networked environment. Put briefly, UNIX can do anything that NT can do and more.” —“Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 versus UNIX”w51

    In addition to Macintosh OS X (formerly Rhapsody) (which combines the ease of use and professional content creation capabilities of the Macintosh with the power, reliability, and speed of the NeXT version of UNIX), BeOS, NetWare, and OS/2 Warp Server, any of the many free and commercial versions of UNIX offer a better high end operating system than Windows NT. See John Kirch’s article “Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 versus UNIX” at http://www.unix-vs-nt.org/.

    Serious commercial UNIXs include: AIX, Digital UNIX, HP-UX, IRIX, Macintosh OS X, Mac OS X Server, Rhapsody, and Solaris.

    Leading free UNIXs include: FreeBSD, GNU Hurd, LINUX, NetBSD, and OpenBSD.

    And in the server arena, the leader (in number of installations) is still NetWare.

     Study after study has shown that Macintoshes are less expensive to support and maintain than Wintel machines. Wintel computers typically cost four to 10 times as much in support costs. Even Intel’s own internal study showed that it was costing them four times as much to support Windows machines as it did to support their Macintoshes (yes, Intel used Macintoshes for mission critical work — and since that study they have been expanding their use of Macintoshes).

     Independent studies over the years continually show that worker productivity is substantially higher on Macintoshes than on Wintel computers. And the difference is greatest in the creative fields (pre-press, illustration, digital photography, 2-D and 3-D animation, 3-D modelling and rendering, film special effects, broadcast video editting, CD-ROM production, multi-media, music composition and performance, sound editting, and web site production), where the Macintosh is the most prevalent computer (even more than the high end graphics work stations — and Macintosh OS X (formerly Rhapsody) brings the Macintosh to the high end graphics work stations). Macintosh OS X is numerically the most used form of UNIX, bringing the flexibility, reliability, power, and speed of NeXT’s object oriented frameworks together with some of the ease of use, user interface, and consumer software of the Macintosh.

    See also: http://www.unix-vs-nt.org/, John Kirch’s article “Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 versus UNIX”

    Ethics: Bill Gates is a longtime member of the Augusta National Golf Club, the official site of the Masters Golf Tournament. The Augusta National Golf Club refuses to allow any women join their club and for decades refused to allow Blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities to join, only relenting in 1990 to allow a few token Black members when facing criminal charges for Civil Rights violations. The only reason that Microsoft hires women and minorities is because of tough federal Civil Rights laws. If you are a woman, Black, Hispanic, Asian, or a member of any other minority group, remember that Bill Gates and Microsoft hate you and only take your money becuase they are forced to by law.


references within this web site

(for your convenience, look for this symbol marking passages about Windows NT)

further reading: web sites

Please send recommendations on additional URLs to Milo.

official web sites

    http://www.microsoft.com/ntworkstation/ “Microsoft Windows NT Workstation”

    http://www.microsoft.com/ntserver/default.asp “Microsoft Windows NT Server”


(Frequently Asked Questions)

user group web sites

other related web sites

    http://www.unix-vs-nt.org/ John Kirch’s article “Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 versus UNIX”

    http://www.linuxrx.com/WS_Linux/OS_comparison.html “The Linux resource exchange — Operating systems comparison” LINUX, HPUX, Windows NT, BSDi, FreeBSD, IRIX, Digital UNIX, Solaris, Macintosh, OS/2, UnixWare, OpenServere83

    http://www.dhbrown.com/pdfs/osscorecard.html “Operating System Scorecard — D.H. Brown Associates”

    http://www.baynetworks.com/Products/nav/f_netid_3_0.html “NetID” commercial DHCP/DDNS server from Bay Networks that runs on Solaris, HP-UX, Windows NT 4.0, and Windows 95; links into Oracle and Sybase, with tools for managing IP addresses.

further reading: books

If you want your book reviewed, please send a copy to: Milo, POB 1361, Tustin, CA 92781, USA.

Price listings are for courtesy purposes only and may be changed by the referenced businesses at any time without notice.

further reading: books: introductory/general

    1 Microsoft Way: A Cookbook To Breaking Bill Gates Windows Monopoly Without Breaking Windows (with Linux CD Operating System); by Reginald P Burgess; American Group Publishing; April 27, 1998; ISBN 1891950088; paperback; 208 pages; $17.95

further reading: books: administration

    Universal Command Guide; by Guy Lotgering (UCG Team); Hungry Minds, Inc; April 2002; ISBN 0764548336; hardcover with CD-ROM; 1,600 pages; $69.99; cross references all of the commands from: AIX; Solaris; RedHat Linux; Berkeley BSD; NetWare 3.2, 4.11, 5, and 6; DOS 6.22; Windows 95, 98, ME, XP, NT 4 Workstation, NT 4 Server, NT 4 Terminal Server, 2000 Professional, 2000 Server, 2000 Advanced Server; Citrix Mainframe 1.8; and Mac 9

The Complete Guide to Netware 4.11/Intranetware; 2nd edition; by James E. Gaskin; Sybex; December 1996; ISBN 078211931X; paperback; $47.99; includes information on getting NetWare working with Windows, Macintosh, UNIX, and OS/2

further reading: books: internet

further reading: books: enterprise/business

further reading: books: content creation

    The Multimedia Production Handbook for the PC, Macintosh, and Amiga; by Tom Yager; Academic Press Professional; December 1993; ISBN 0127680306; Paperback; 382 pages; $31.96

further reading: books: programming

    Software Implementation Techniques: Writing Software in OpenVMS, OS/2, Unix, and Windows NT; 2nd edition; by Donald E. Merusi; Digital Press; November 1995; ISBN 155558134X; paperback; 567 pages; $52.95

further reading: books: hardware

further reading: books: miscellaneous

In Association with Amazon.com

If you want your book reviewed, please send a copy to: Milo, POB 1361, Tustin, CA 92781, USA.

    Also see the summary at Windows.

geek humor

    “Windows NT: Insert Wallet into Drive A: and press any key to empty.” —Matt Garrison,MacLine

    “How many Microsoft technicians does it take to screw in a light bulb?
    “Three: two to hold the ladder and one to screw the bulb into a faucet.” —Matt Garrison,MacLine

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    Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004 Milo

    Last Updated: March 27, 2004

    Created: June 22, 1998

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