Build list legend
|Operating system||Windows NT 3.51|
|Initial release version|
|Initial release date|
|Latest release version|
|Latest release date|
|Latest preview release version|
|Latest preview release date|
The Shell Technology Preview (also known as NewShell) is a series of updates released in 1995 that backport the Windows Explorer shell and the new control style from pre-release versions of Windows 95 to a stock installation of Windows NT 3.51. The updates were made available to MSDN users as well as on CompuServe and the Microsoft FTP server.
Upon installation, the reported kernel version changes to 4.0 to match Windows 95. However, the updates do not include any of the architectural changes introduced in Windows NT 4.0, such as the move of User and GDI server code to a kernel mode driver (
win32k.sys). Furthermore, many applications which would otherwise be capable of running on Windows NT 3.51 will refuse to install or launch due to requiring Windows NT 4.0 with a specific Service Pack installed, e.g. Office 97.
While the preview itself works on a base install with no Service Pack installed, it is required to install Service Pack 5 first in order to use the Briefcase. Service Packs must not be installed on top of the Shell Technology Preview, in such case the preview should be uninstalled first and then reinstalled back after the Service Pack update.
There are two known releases of the Shell Technology Preview. The original preview was built on 26 May 1995 according to file modified dates, and was presumably distributed shortly after. An updated version from 9 August 1995 includes several bugfixes – the Read Me file specifically mentions fixing issues with Office 95, Netscape and MFC applications. Additionally, an early version from November 1994 was included with the leaked copy of Windows NT 3.51 build 854.