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Definition: Windows NT


(Windows New Technology) An earlier 32-bit operating system from Microsoft for Intel x86 CPUs. Available in client and server versions, Windows NT included built-in networking and preemptive multitasking. NT was introduced in 1993 as Version 3.1 with the same user interface as Windows 3.1. In 1996, Version 4.0 switched to the Windows 95 desktop (see below).

A New Lineage
Unlike the previous Windows 95/98, NT supported multiprocessing (see SMP), added security and administrative features and dual boot. Designed for enterprise use, each application could access 2GB of virtual memory. NT did not support Plug and Play, which was later added in Windows 2000 and XP (also based on the NT core technology). Clustering and failover was added to Windows NT 4 Server, Enterprise Edition.

For x86 Machines Only
NT ran 16-bit DOS and Windows applications in its own emulation mode (see NTVDM) and also provided a command processor that executed DOS commands. NT for PowerPC and MIPS were planned but dropped, while support for Alpha servers actually reached the beta stage. See Windows and Alpha.
         Year
   NT   (19xx)     Official Name of
 Version      GUI  Client/Server Version

 NT 4.0   96  95   NT Workstation/
                     NT Server
 NT 3.51  95  3.1  NT/NT Advanced Server
 NT 3.5   94  3.1  NT/NT Advanced Server
 NT 3.1   93  3.1  NT/NT Advanced Server

  3.1 = Windows 3.1 Program Manager
   95 = Windows 95 Start menu