Windows NT 4.0

Windows NT 4.0
Version of Microsoft Windows
OS familyWindows NT
CodenameShell Update Release
Architecturex86 (PC/AT, PC-98), DEC Alpha, MIPS, PowerPC
Latest build4.0.1381.7097 (Service Pack 6a Security Rollup update)
Release date1996-08-24
Support end2004-06-30 (Workstation)
2004-12-31 (Server)
2006-07-11 (Embedded)
2006-12-31 (with Extended Security Updates)
Windows NT 3.5x
Replaced by
Windows 2000

Windows NT 4.0 (codenamed Shell Update Release) is a major release of Windows NT, the successor to Windows NT 3.51, released a year prior, and the first version of Windows NT to feature the Windows Explorer interface introduced in Windows 95. It is the final version of Windows which supports the Alpha, MIPS, and PowerPC architectures as well; its successor, Windows 2000 does not support these architectures.

The Windows Desktop Update further enhances the shell by incorporating features from Windows 98, which requires installing Internet Explorer 4.

Editions[edit | edit source]

There are several editions of Windows NT 4.0:

Service Packs[edit | edit source]

There were 6 service packs released for Windows NT 4.0. Only Service Pack 1 was made available for the MIPS architecture, and Service Pack 2 was the final release for the PowerPC architecture. The last had been pulled by Microsoft due to a severe bug, which results in the revised Service Pack 6a. Microsoft had originally intended to release a seventh service pack for Windows NT 4.0, but eventually canceled it, and instead released an update rollup in 2001.[1][2]

Option Pack[edit | edit source]

Microsoft released an option pack for Windows NT 4.0 in 1997. It includes server solutions and clients for Windows NT 4.0 Workstation, Server and Windows 95, including Personal Web Server, Transaction Server, Message Queue Client, FrontPage 98 Server Extensions, Management Console, Script Debugger, Windows Scripting Host, Data Access Components and Internet Information Services 4.0. Unlike the Service Packs, it is not mandatory, but it requires Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 3 to be installed. Installing it on Service Pack 4 and later will cause setup to show an information that the option pack was not tested on Service Pack 4 yet, but lets the user to continue. This is the only option pack of Windows to be released, as most of the components became part of Windows 2000.

System requirements[edit | edit source]

The x86 version of Windows NT 4.0 requires a 486 processor, at least 16 MB of RAM, 110 MB of hard drive space (varies depending on components being installed), and a VGA or better display.[3] Windows NT 4.0 drops support for 80386 processors. Windows NT 4.0 allows installation to be possible without a floppy drive via CD-ROM media, although a floppy drive is required if one wants to make an Emergency Repair Disk or if not booting directly from the CD.

Hardware compatibility[edit | edit source]

Earlier versions of Windows NT 4.0 does not support processors with a CPUID higher than 3.[4] Windows NT 4.0 will crash during setup or boot if run without limiting the CPUID to less than 3. Service Pack 6 fixes this kernel issue.

Product Team credits Easter egg[edit | edit source]

Windows NT 4.0 contains the Product Team credits Easter egg from Windows 95. Like in Windows 95, it is implemented in SHELL32.DLL, and the steps to show it are much the same as in Windows 95; create a new folder and renaming it to each of the following names in order:

  • and now, the moment you've all been waiting for
  • we proudly present for your viewing pleasure
  • The Microsoft Windows NT Product Team!

The only main difference from the one in Windows 95 is that any references to "95" are replaced with "NT".

The text is in SHELL32.DLL's resource BIN and XORed with 0x95 as an obfuscation measure. For similar reasons, the Easter egg folder names are stored in the .text section of SHELL32.DLL as custom hashes of the old folder name concatenated with the new folder name. This was implemented by build 1175 and there shows the "SUR Shell Team" and "SUR Shell Test Team"; at some point after that the text was replaced by a message informing that "you won't find the credits here".

Source code leak[edit | edit source]

On 12 February 2004, over 30000 source files, partly for Windows NT 4.0, were leaked onto the internet.[5] This would later be pinpointed to Mainsoft.

List of known builds[edit | edit source]

Beta 1[edit | edit source]

Beta 2[edit | edit source]

Release Candidate 1[edit | edit source]

Release Candidate 2[edit | edit source]

Pre-RTM[edit | edit source]

RTM[edit | edit source]

International Beta[edit | edit source]

Service Pack 1[edit | edit source]

Service Pack 2[edit | edit source]

Service Pack 3[edit | edit source]

Service Pack 4[edit | edit source]

Service Pack 5[edit | edit source]

Service Pack 6[edit | edit source]

Service Pack 6a[edit | edit source]

Security Rollup[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Update on Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 7, Windows NT Server. 19 April 2001. Archived from the original on 28 April 2001.
  2. Kerr, Rob. MS ditches Service Packs for Windows NT 4.0, The Register. 18 April 2001.
  3. ARCHIVED: What is Microsoft Windows NT?, University Information Technology Services. 18 January 2018.
  4. CPU Identification by the 32-Bit Windows Kernel, Geoff Chappell - Software Analyst. 22 January 2008.
  5. Wolfe, Alexander. Mainsoft Eyed as Windows Source Code Leak, InternetNews. 13 February 2004.