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This article is about the family of operating system versions by Microsoft. For the version released in 1996, see Windows NT 4.0. For the 3.x series, see Windows NT 3.x.

Windows NT is a proprietary graphical operating system produced by Microsoft, the first version of which was released on July 27, 1993. It is a processor-independent, multiprocessing and multi-user operating system.

Windows NT
DeveloperMicrosoft
Written inC, Assembly language
(core)
C++, C#
(user mode applications (C++ is used in the kernel graphical subsystem))
Working stateCurrent
Source model
Initial releaseJuly 27, 1993; 28 years ago (1993-07-27)
(as Windows NT 3.1)
Latest release21H2 (10.0.22000.740) (June 20, 2022; 1 day ago (2022-06-20))[±]
Latest preview
Release Preview Channel

22H2 (10.0.22621.105) (June 14, 2022; 7 days ago (2022-06-14))[±]

Beta Channel

22H2 (10.0.22621.160) (June 13, 2022; 8 days ago (2022-06-13))[±]

Dev Channel
10.0.25140.1000 (June 15, 2022; 6 days ago (2022-06-15))[±]
Update methodWindows Update, Windows Server Update Services
PlatformsIA-32, x86-64, ARM and ARM64 (and historically Intel i860, DEC Alpha, Itanium, MIPS, and PowerPC)
Kernel typeHybrid (NT)
Influenced byRSX-11, VAXELN, OpenVMS, MICA, Mach (kernel)
MS-DOS, OS/2, Windows 3.1x (userland)
Default
user interface
Graphical (Windows shell)
LicenseDepending on version, edition or customer choice: Trialware, commercial software, volume licensing, OEM-only, SaaS, S+S
Official websitewww.microsoft.com/windows/

The first version of Windows NT was Windows NT 3.1 and was produced for workstations and server computers. It was a commercially focused operating system intended to complement consumer versions of Windows that were based on MS-DOS (including Windows 1.0 through Windows 3.1x). Gradually, the Windows NT family was expanded into Microsoft's general-purpose operating system product line for all personal computers, deprecating the Windows 9x family.

"NT" was formerly expanded to "New Technology" but no longer carries any specific meaning. Starting with Windows 2000, "NT" was removed from the product name and is only included in the product version string along with several low-level places within the system.

NT was the first purely 32-bit version of Windows, whereas its consumer-oriented counterparts, Windows 3.1x and Windows 9x, were 16-bit/32-bit hybrids. It is a multi-architecture operating system. Initially, it supported several instruction set architectures, including IA-32, MIPS, and DEC Alpha; support for PowerPC, Itanium, x64, and ARM were added later. The latest versions support x86 (including IA-32 and x64) and ARM. Major features of the Windows NT family include Windows Shell, Windows API, Native API, Active Directory, Group Policy, Hardware Abstraction Layer, NTFS, BitLocker, Windows Store, Windows Update, and Hyper-V.

Contents

It has been suggested that Dave Cutler intended the initialism "WNT" as a play on VMS, incrementing each letter by one. However, the project was originally intended as a follow-on to OS/2 and was referred to as "NT OS/2" before receiving the Windows brand. One of the original NT developers, Mark Lucovsky, states that the name was taken from the original target processor—the Intel i860, code-named N10 ("N-Ten"). A 1998 question-and-answer (Q&A) session with Bill Gates revealed that the letters were previously expanded to "New Technology" but no longer carry any specific meaning. The letters were dropped from the names of releases from Windows 2000 and later, though Microsoft described that product as being "Built on NT Technology".

One of the main purposes of NT is hardware and software portability. Various versions of NT family operating systems have been released for a variety of processor architectures, initially IA-32, MIPS, and DEC Alpha, with PowerPC, Itanium, x86-64 and ARM supported in later releases. An initial idea was to have a common code base with a custom Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) for each platform. However, support for MIPS, Alpha, and PowerPC was later dropped in Windows 2000. Broad software compatibility was initially achieved with support for several API "personalities", including Windows API, POSIX, and OS/2 APIs – the latter two were phased out starting with Windows XP. Partial MS-DOS and Windows 16-bit compatibility is achieved on IA-32 via an integrated DOS Virtual Machine – although this feature is not available on other architectures.

NT has supported per-object (file, function, and role) access control lists allowing a rich set of security permissions to be applied to systems and services. NT has also supported Windows network protocols, inheriting the previous OS/2 LAN Manager networking, as well as TCP/IP networking (for which Microsoft used to implement a TCP/IP stack derived at first from a STREAMS-based stack from Spider Systems, then later rewritten in-house).

Windows NT 3.1 was the first version of Windows to use 32-bit flat virtual memory addressing on 32-bit processors. Its companion product, Windows 3.1, used segmented addressing and switches from 16-bit to 32-bit addressing in pages.

Windows NT 3.1 featured a core kernel providing a system API, running in supervisor mode (ring 0 in x86; referred to in Windows NT as "kernel mode" on all platforms), and a set of user-space environments with their own APIs which included the new Win32 environment, an OS/2 1.3 text-mode environment and a POSIX environment. The full preemptive multitasking kernel could interrupt running tasks to schedule other tasks, without relying on user programs to voluntarily give up control of the CPU, as in Windows 3.1 Windows applications (although MS-DOS applications were preemptively multitasked in Windows starting with Windows/386).

Notably, in Windows NT 3.x, several I/O driver subsystems, such as video and printing, were user-mode subsystems. In Windows NT 4, the video, server, and printer spooler subsystems were moved into kernel mode. Windows NT's first GUI was strongly influenced by (and programmatically compatible with) that from Windows 3.1; Windows NT 4's interface was redesigned to match that of the brand new Windows 95, moving from the Program Manager to the Windows shell design.

NTFS, a journaled, secure file system, is a major feature for NT. Windows NT also allows for other installable file systems; since versions 3.1, NT may be installed on FAT or HPFS file systems.

Windows NT introduced its own driver model, the Windows NT driver model, and is incompatible with older driver frameworks. With Windows 2000, the Windows NT driver model was enhanced to become the Windows Driver Model, which was first introduced with Windows 98, but was based on the NT driver model. Windows Vista added native support for the Windows Driver Foundation, which is also available for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and to an extent, Windows 2000.

Original Windows NT wordmark

Microsoft decided to create a portable operating system, compatible with OS/2 and POSIX and supporting multiprocessing, in October 1988. When development started in November 1989, Windows NT was to be known as OS/2 3.0, the third version of the operating system developed jointly by Microsoft and IBM. To ensure portability, initial development was targeted at the Intel i860XR RISC processor, switching to the MIPS R3000 in late 1989, and then the Intel i386 in 1990. Microsoft also continued parallel development of the DOS-based and less resource-demanding Windows environment, resulting in the release of Windows 3.0 in May 1990.

Windows 3.0 was eventually so successful that Microsoft decided to change the primary application programming interface for the still unreleased NT OS/2 (as it was then known) from an extended OS/2 API to an extended Windows API. This decision caused tension between Microsoft and IBM and the collaboration ultimately fell apart.

IBM continued OS/2 development alone while Microsoft continued work on the newly renamed Windows NT. Though neither operating system would immediately be as popular as Microsoft's MS-DOS or Windows products, Windows NT would eventually be far more successful than OS/2.

Microsoft hired a group of developers from Digital Equipment Corporation led by Dave Cutler to build Windows NT, and many elements of the design reflect earlier DEC experience with Cutler's VMS, VAXELN and RSX-11, but also an unreleased object-based operating system developed by Dave Cutler at Digital codenamed MICA. The team was joined by selected members of the disbanded OS/2 team, including Moshe Dunie.

Windows 2000 architecture

The VMS kernel was primarily written in VAX MACRO, but Windows NT was designed to run on multiple instruction set architectures and multiple hardware platforms within each architecture. The platform dependencies are hidden from the rest of the system by the HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer).

While creating Windows NT, Microsoft developers rewrote VMS in C. Although they added the Win32 API, NTFS file system, GUI, and backwards compatibility with DOS, OS/2, and Win16, DEC engineers almost immediately noticed the two operating systems' internal similarities; parts of VAX/VMS Internals and Data Structures, published by Digital Press, accurately describe Windows NT internals using VMS terms. Instead of a lawsuit, Microsoft agreed to pay DEC $65–100 million, help market VMS, train Digital personnel on Windows NT, and continue Windows NT support for DEC Alpha.

Windows NT and VMS memory management, processes, and scheduling are very similar. Windows NT's process management differs by implementing threading, which DEC did not implement until VMS 7.0 in 1995, likely to compete with Microsoft.

Like VMS, Windows NT's kernel mode code distinguishes between the "kernel", whose primary purpose is to implement processor- and architecture-dependent functions, and the "executive". This was designed as a modified microkernel, as the Windows NT kernel was influenced by the Mach microkernel developed by Richard Rashid at Carnegie Mellon University, but does not meet all of the criteria of a pure microkernel. Both the kernel and the executive are linked together into the single loaded module ntoskrnl.exe; from outside this module, there is little distinction between the kernel and the executive. Routines from each are directly accessible, as for example from kernel-mode device drivers.

API sets in the Windows NT family are implemented as subsystems atop the publicly undocumented "native" API; this allowed the late adoption of the Windows API (into the Win32 subsystem). Windows NT was one of the earliest operating systems to use Unicode internally.[citation needed]

Windows NT releases
Version Marketing name Editions Release date Build number
3.1 Windows NT 3.1 Workstation (named just Windows NT), Advanced Server July 27, 1993 528
3.5 Windows NT 3.5 Workstation, Server September 21, 1994 807
3.51 Windows NT 3.51 May 30, 1995 1057
4.0 Windows NT 4.0 Workstation, Server, Enterprise Server, Terminal Server, Embedded August 24, 1996 1381
5.0 Windows 2000 Professional, Server, Advanced Server February 17, 2000 2195
Datacenter Server September 26, 2000
5.1 Windows XP Home, Professional, Media Center (original, 2004 & 2005), Tablet PC (original and 2005), Starter, Embedded, Home N, Professional N October 25, 2001 2600
Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs N/A July 8, 2006
5.2 Windows XP 64-bit Edition Version 2003 (IA-64) March 28, 2003 3790
Windows Server 2003 Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter, Web, Storage, Small Business Server, Compute Cluster April 24, 2003
Windows XP Professional x64 Edition (x86-64) April 25, 2005
Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter, Web, Storage, Small Business Server, Compute Cluster December 6, 2005
Windows Home Server N/A November 4, 2007
6.0 Windows Vista Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, Ultimate
  • Business: November 30, 2006
  • Consumer: January 30, 2007
  • 6000 (RTM)
  • 6001 (SP1)
  • 6002 (SP2)
  • 6003 (SP2 Update)
Windows Server 2008 Foundation, Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter, Web Server, HPC Server, Itanium-Based Systems February 27, 2008
  • 6001 (RTM)
  • 6002 (SP2)
  • 6003 (SP2 Update)
6.1 Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, Ultimate October 22, 2009
  • 7600 (RTM)
  • 7601 (SP1)
Windows Server 2008 R2 Foundation, Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter, Web Server, HPC Server, Itanium-Based Systems
Windows Home Server 2011 Home Server Premium April 6, 2011
  • 7601 (SP1)
Windows Thin PC N/A June 6, 2011
6.2 Windows 8 Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Enterprise, Windows RT October 26, 2012 9200
Windows Server 2012 Foundation, Essentials, Standard, Datacenter September 4, 2012
6.3 Windows 8.1 Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Pro, Windows 8.1 Enterprise, Windows RT 8.1, Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Pro/Enterprise October 18, 2013 9600
Windows Server 2012 R2 Foundation, Essentials, Standard, Datacenter
10.0 Windows 10 Home Single Language, Home China, Home, Pro, Pro Education, Pro for Workstations, Enterprise, Education, Windows 10 S, IoT Core, Mobile, Mobile Enterprise July 29, 2015
  • 10240 (1507/RTM)
  • 10586 (1511)
  • 14393 (1607)
  • 15063 (1703)
  • 16299 (1709)
  • 17134 (1803)
  • 17763 (1809)
  • 18362 (1903)
  • 18363 (1909)
  • 19041 (2004)
  • 19042 (20H2)
  • 19043 (21H1)
  • 19044 (21H2)
Windows Server 2016 Essentials, Standard, Datacenter, Multipoint Premium Server, Storage Server, Hyper-V Server September 26, 2016
  • 14393 (RS1)
Windows Server 2019 Essentials, Standard, Datacenter, Multipoint Premium Server, Hyper-V Server October 2, 2018
  • 17763
Windows Server 2022 August 18, 2021
  • 20348
Windows 11 Home Single Language, Home China, Home, Pro, Education, Pro Education, Pro for Workstations, Enterprise, IoT Enterprise, Windows 11 SE October 5, 2021
  • 22000 (21H2/RTM)

Windows NT 3.1 to 3.51 incorporated the Program Manager and File Manager from the Windows 3.1x series. Windows NT 4.0 onwards replaced those programs with Windows Explorer (including a taskbar and Start menu), which originally appeared in Windows 95.

The first release was given version number 3.1 to match the contemporary 16-bit Windows; magazines of that era claimed the number was also used to make that version seem more reliable than a ".0" release. Also the Novell IPX protocol was apparently licensed only to 3.1 versions of Windows software.[citation needed]

The NT version number is not now generally used for marketing purposes, but is still used internally, and said to reflect the degree of changes to the core of the operating system. However, for application compatibility reasons, Microsoft kept the major version number as 6 in releases following Vista, but changed it later to 10 in Windows 10. The build number is an internal identifier used by Microsoft's developers and beta testers.

Starting with Windows 8.1, Microsoft changed the Version API Helper functions' behavior. If an application is not manifested for Windows 8.1 or later, the API will always return version 6.2, which is the version number of Windows 8. This is because the manifest feature was introduced with Windows 8.1, to replace GetVersion and related functions.

Windows NT is written in C and C++, with a very small amount written in assembly language. C is mostly used for the kernel code while C++ is mostly used for user-mode code. Assembly language is avoided where possible because it would impede portability.

32-bit platforms

In order to prevent Intel x86-specific code from slipping into the operating system by developers used to developing on x86 chips, Windows NT 3.1 was initially developed using non-x86 development systems and then ported to the x86 architecture. This work was initially based on the Intel i860-based Dazzle system and, later, the MIPS R4000-based Jazz platform. Both systems were designed internally at Microsoft.

Windows NT 3.1 was released for Intel x86 PC compatible, PC-98, DEC Alpha, and ARC-compliant MIPS platforms. Windows NT 3.51 added support for the PowerPC processor in 1995, specifically PReP-compliant systems such as the IBM Power Series desktops/laptops and Motorola PowerStack series; but despite meetings between Michael Spindler and Bill Gates, not on the Power Macintosh as the PReP compliant Power Macintosh project failed to ship.

Intergraph Corporation ported Windows NT to its Clipper architecture and later announced an intention to port Windows NT 3.51 to Sun Microsystems' SPARC architecture, in conjunction with the company's planned introduction of UltraSPARC models in 1995, but neither version was sold to the public as a retail product.

Only two of the Windows NT 4.0 variants (IA-32 and Alpha) have a full set of service packs available. All of the other ports done by third parties (Motorola, Intergraph, etc.) have few, if any, publicly available updates.

Windows NT 4.0 was the last major release to support Alpha, MIPS, or PowerPC, though development of Windows 2000 for Alpha continued until August 1999, when Compaq stopped support for Windows NT on that architecture; and then three days later Microsoft also canceled their AlphaNT program, even though the Alpha NT 5 (Windows 2000) release had reached RC1 status.

On January 5, 2011, Microsoft announced that the next major version of the Windows NT family will include support for the ARM architecture. Microsoft demonstrated a preliminary version of Windows (version 6.2.7867) running on an ARM-based computer at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show. This eventually led to the commercial release of the Windows 8-derived Windows RT on October 26, 2012, and the implementation of NT over CE on Windows Phone 8.

According to Microsoft, it is a common misconception that the Xbox and Xbox 360 use a modified Windows 2000 kernel. In reality, the Xbox operating system was built from scratch but implements a subset of Windows APIs. The Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S, however, do use a modified version of Windows 10.

Windows 11 is the first non-server version of Windows NT to not support 32-bit platforms.

64-bit platforms

The 64-bit versions of Windows NT were originally intended to run on Itanium and DEC Alpha; the latter was used internally at Microsoft during early development of 64-bit Windows. This continued for some time after Microsoft publicly announced that it was cancelling plans to ship 64-bit Windows for Alpha. Because of this, Alpha versions of Windows NT are 32-bit only.

While Windows 2000 only supports Intel IA-32 (32-bit), Windows XP, Server 2003, Server 2008 and Server 2008 R2 each have one edition dedicated to Itanium-based systems. In comparison with Itanium, Microsoft adopted x64 on a greater scale: every version of Windows since Windows XP (which has a dedicated x64 edition) has x64 editions.

The minimum hardware specification required to run each release of the professional workstation version of Windows NT has been fairly slow-moving until the 6.0 Vista release, which requires a minimum of 15 GB of free disk space, a 10-fold increase in free disk space alone over the previous version.

Windows NT minimum hardware requirements
Windows version CPU RAM Free disk space
NT 3.1 i386, 25 MHz 12 MB 90 MB
NT 3.1 Advanced Server 16 MB
NT 3.5 Workstation 12 MB
NT 3.5 Server 16 MB
NT 3.51 Workstation 12 MB
NT 3.51 Server 16 MB
NT 4.0 Workstation i486, 25 MHz 12 MB 124 MB
NT 4.0 Server 16 MB
2000 Professional Pentium, 133 MHz 32 MB 650 MB
Server 2000 128 MB
XP Pentium, 233 MHz 64 MB 1.5 GB
Server 2003 133 MHz 128 MB
Vista Home Basic 800 MHz 512 MB 20 GB
Vista (other editions) 1 GHz 1 GB 40 GB
7 for IA-32 16 GB
7 for x64 2 GB 20 GB
8 for IA-32 1 GHz with NX bit, SSE2, PAE 1 GB 16 GB
8 for x64 2 GB 20 GB
8.1 for IA-32 1 GB 16 GB
8.1 for x64 1 GHz with NX bit, SSE2, PAE, CMPXCHG16b, PrefetchW and LAHF/SAHF 2 GB 20 GB
10 for IA-32 (v1507-1809) 1 GHz with NX bit, SSE2, PAE 1 GB 16 GB
10 for x64 (v1507-1809) 1 GHz with NX bit, SSE2, PAE, CMPXCHG16b, PrefetchW and LAHF/SAHF 2 GB 20 GB
10 for IA-32 (v1903 and later) 1 GHz with NX bit, SSE2, PAE 1 GB 32 GB
10 for x64 (v1903 and later) 1 GHz with NX bit, SSE2, PAE, CMPXCHG16b, PrefetchW and LAHF/SAHF 2 GB
11 for x64 Intel 8th-Gen CPU or AMD Zen+-based CPU; Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 or equivalent crypto-processor 4 GB 64 GB
11 for ARM64 Qualcomm Snapdragon 850, 7c, 8c, 8cx; Microsoft SQ1, SQ2
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Windows NT Article Talk Language Watch Edit This article is about the family of operating system versions by Microsoft For the version released in 1996 see Windows NT 4 0 For the 3 x series see Windows NT 3 x Windows NT is a proprietary graphical operating system produced by Microsoft the first version of which was released on July 27 1993 It is a processor independent multiprocessing and multi user operating system Windows NTDeveloperMicrosoftWritten inC Assembly language core C C user mode applications C is used in the kernel graphical subsystem 1 Working stateCurrentSource modelClosed sourceSource available through Shared Source Initiative Initial releaseJuly 27 1993 28 years ago 1993 07 27 as Windows NT 3 1 Latest release21H2 10 0 22000 740 June 20 2022 1 day ago 2022 06 20 2 Latest previewRelease Preview Channel 22H2 10 0 22621 105 June 14 2022 7 days ago 2022 06 14 3 Beta Channel 22H2 10 0 22621 160 June 13 2022 8 days ago 2022 06 13 4 Dev Channel 10 0 25140 1000 June 15 2022 6 days ago 2022 06 15 5 Update methodWindows Update Windows Server Update ServicesPlatformsIA 32 x86 64 ARM and ARM64 and historically Intel i860 DEC Alpha Itanium MIPS and PowerPC Kernel typeHybrid NT Influenced byRSX 11 VAXELN OpenVMS MICA Mach kernel MS DOS OS 2 Windows 3 1x userland Default user interfaceGraphical Windows shell LicenseDepending on version edition or customer choice Trialware commercial software volume licensing OEM only SaaS S S a Official websitewww wbr microsoft wbr com wbr windows wbr The first version of Windows NT was Windows NT 3 1 and was produced for workstations and server computers It was a commercially focused operating system intended to complement consumer versions of Windows that were based on MS DOS including Windows 1 0 through Windows 3 1x Gradually the Windows NT family was expanded into Microsoft s general purpose operating system product line for all personal computers deprecating the Windows 9x family NT was formerly expanded to New Technology but no longer carries any specific meaning Starting with Windows 2000 6 NT was removed from the product name and is only included in the product version string along with several low level places within the system 7 NT was the first purely 32 bit version of Windows whereas its consumer oriented counterparts Windows 3 1x and Windows 9x were 16 bit 32 bit hybrids It is a multi architecture operating system Initially it supported several instruction set architectures including IA 32 MIPS and DEC Alpha support for PowerPC Itanium x64 and ARM were added later The latest versions support x86 including IA 32 and x64 and ARM Major features of the Windows NT family include Windows Shell Windows API Native API Active Directory Group Policy Hardware Abstraction Layer NTFS BitLocker Windows Store Windows Update and Hyper V Contents 1 Naming 2 Major features 3 Development 4 Releases 5 Programming language 6 Supported platforms 6 1 32 bit platforms 6 2 64 bit platforms 7 Hardware requirements 8 See also 9 Notes 10 References 11 External linksNaming EditIt has been suggested that Dave Cutler intended the initialism WNT as a play on VMS incrementing each letter by one 8 However the project was originally intended as a follow on to OS 2 and was referred to as NT OS 2 before receiving the Windows brand 9 One of the original NT developers Mark Lucovsky states that the name was taken from the original target processor the Intel i860 code named N10 N Ten 10 A 1998 question and answer Q amp A session with Bill Gates revealed that the letters were previously expanded to New Technology but no longer carry any specific meaning 11 The letters were dropped from the names of releases from Windows 2000 and later though Microsoft described that product as being Built on NT Technology 6 12 Major features EditOne of the main purposes of NT is hardware and software portability Various versions of NT family operating systems have been released for a variety of processor architectures initially IA 32 MIPS and DEC Alpha with PowerPC Itanium x86 64 and ARM supported in later releases An initial idea was to have a common code base with a custom Hardware Abstraction Layer HAL for each platform However support for MIPS Alpha and PowerPC was later dropped in Windows 2000 Broad software compatibility was initially achieved with support for several API personalities including Windows API POSIX 13 and OS 2 APIs 14 the latter two were phased out starting with Windows XP 15 Partial MS DOS and Windows 16 bit compatibility is achieved on IA 32 via an integrated DOS Virtual Machine although this feature is not available on other architectures 16 NT has supported per object file function and role access control lists allowing a rich set of security permissions to be applied to systems and services NT has also supported Windows network protocols inheriting the previous OS 2 LAN Manager networking as well as TCP IP networking for which Microsoft used to implement a TCP IP stack derived at first from a STREAMS based stack from Spider Systems then later rewritten in house 17 Windows NT 3 1 was the first version of Windows to use 32 bit flat virtual memory addressing on 32 bit processors Its companion product Windows 3 1 used segmented addressing and switches from 16 bit to 32 bit addressing in pages Windows NT 3 1 featured a core kernel providing a system API running in supervisor mode ring 0 in x86 referred to in Windows NT as kernel mode on all platforms and a set of user space environments with their own APIs which included the new Win32 environment an OS 2 1 3 text mode environment and a POSIX environment The full preemptive multitasking kernel could interrupt running tasks to schedule other tasks without relying on user programs to voluntarily give up control of the CPU as in Windows 3 1 Windows applications although MS DOS applications were preemptively multitasked in Windows starting with Windows 386 Notably in Windows NT 3 x several I O driver subsystems such as video and printing were user mode subsystems In Windows NT 4 the video server and printer spooler subsystems were moved into kernel mode Windows NT s first GUI was strongly influenced by and programmatically compatible with that from Windows 3 1 Windows NT 4 s interface was redesigned to match that of the brand new Windows 95 moving from the Program Manager to the Windows shell design NTFS a journaled secure file system is a major feature for NT Windows NT also allows for other installable file systems since versions 3 1 NT may be installed on FAT or HPFS file systems 18 Windows NT introduced its own driver model the Windows NT driver model and is incompatible with older driver frameworks With Windows 2000 the Windows NT driver model was enhanced to become the Windows Driver Model which was first introduced with Windows 98 but was based on the NT driver model 19 Windows Vista added native support for the Windows Driver Foundation which is also available for Windows XP Windows Server 2003 and to an extent Windows 2000 Development Edit Original Windows NT wordmark Microsoft decided to create a portable operating system compatible with OS 2 and POSIX and supporting multiprocessing in October 1988 20 When development started in November 1989 Windows NT was to be known as OS 2 3 0 21 the third version of the operating system developed jointly by Microsoft and IBM To ensure portability initial development was targeted at the Intel i860XR RISC processor switching to the MIPS R3000 in late 1989 and then the Intel i386 in 1990 22 Microsoft also continued parallel development of the DOS based and less resource demanding Windows environment resulting in the release of Windows 3 0 in May 1990 Windows 3 0 was eventually so successful that Microsoft decided to change the primary application programming interface for the still unreleased NT OS 2 as it was then known from an extended OS 2 API to an extended Windows API This decision caused tension between Microsoft and IBM and the collaboration ultimately fell apart IBM continued OS 2 development alone while Microsoft continued work on the newly renamed Windows NT Though neither operating system would immediately be as popular as Microsoft s MS DOS or Windows products Windows NT would eventually be far more successful than OS 2 Microsoft hired a group of developers from Digital Equipment Corporation led by Dave Cutler to build Windows NT and many elements of the design reflect earlier DEC experience with Cutler s VMS 23 VAXELN and RSX 11 but also an unreleased object based operating system developed by Dave Cutler at Digital codenamed MICA 24 The team was joined by selected members of the disbanded OS 2 team including Moshe Dunie 8 Windows 2000 architecture The VMS kernel was primarily written in VAX MACRO but Windows NT was designed to run on multiple instruction set architectures and multiple hardware platforms within each architecture The platform dependencies are hidden from the rest of the system by the HAL Hardware Abstraction Layer While creating Windows NT Microsoft developers rewrote VMS in C Although they added the Win32 API NTFS file system GUI and backwards compatibility with DOS OS 2 and Win16 DEC engineers almost immediately noticed the two operating systems internal similarities parts of VAX VMS Internals and Data Structures published by Digital Press accurately describe Windows NT internals using VMS terms Instead of a lawsuit Microsoft agreed to pay DEC 65 100 million help market VMS train Digital personnel on Windows NT and continue Windows NT support for DEC Alpha 23 Windows NT and VMS memory management processes and scheduling are very similar Windows NT s process management differs by implementing threading which DEC did not implement until VMS 7 0 in 1995 likely to compete with Microsoft Like VMS 23 Windows NT s kernel mode code distinguishes between the kernel whose primary purpose is to implement processor and architecture dependent functions and the executive This was designed as a modified microkernel as the Windows NT kernel was influenced by the Mach microkernel developed by Richard Rashid at Carnegie Mellon University 25 but does not meet all of the criteria of a pure microkernel Both the kernel and the executive are linked together into the single loaded module ntoskrnl exe from outside this module there is little distinction between the kernel and the executive Routines from each are directly accessible as for example from kernel mode device drivers API sets in the Windows NT family are implemented as subsystems atop the publicly undocumented native API this allowed the late adoption of the Windows API into the Win32 subsystem Windows NT was one of the earliest operating systems to use Unicode internally citation needed Releases EditSee also List of Microsoft Windows versions Windows NT releases Version Marketing name Editions Release date Build number3 1 Windows NT 3 1 Workstation named just Windows NT Advanced Server July 27 1993 5283 5 Windows NT 3 5 Workstation Server September 21 1994 8073 51 Windows NT 3 51 May 30 1995 10574 0 Windows NT 4 0 Workstation Server Enterprise Server Terminal Server Embedded August 24 1996 13815 0 26 Windows 2000 Professional Server Advanced Server February 17 2000 2195Datacenter Server September 26 20005 1 26 Windows XP Home Professional Media Center original 2004 amp 2005 Tablet PC original and 2005 Starter Embedded Home N Professional N October 25 2001 2600Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs N A July 8 20065 2 26 Windows XP 64 bit Edition Version 2003 IA 64 27 March 28 2003 3790Windows Server 2003 Standard Enterprise Datacenter Web Storage Small Business Server Compute Cluster April 24 2003Windows XP Professional x64 Edition x86 64 April 25 2005Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Enterprise Datacenter Web Storage Small Business Server Compute Cluster December 6 2005Windows Home Server N A November 4 20076 0 26 Windows Vista Starter Home Basic Home Premium Business Enterprise Ultimate Business November 30 2006 Consumer January 30 2007 6000 RTM 6001 SP1 6002 SP2 6003 SP2 Update 28 Windows Server 2008 Foundation Standard Enterprise Datacenter Web Server HPC Server Itanium Based Systems 29 February 27 2008 6001 RTM 6002 SP2 6003 SP2 Update 30 6 1 26 Windows 7 Starter Home Basic Home Premium Professional Enterprise Ultimate 31 October 22 2009 32 7600 RTM 7601 SP1 Windows Server 2008 R2 Foundation Standard Enterprise Datacenter Web Server HPC Server Itanium Based SystemsWindows Home Server 2011 Home Server Premium April 6 2011 7601 SP1 Windows Thin PC N A June 6 20116 2 26 Windows 8 33 Windows 8 Windows 8 Pro Windows 8 Enterprise Windows RT 34 October 26 2012 35 9200Windows Server 2012 36 Foundation Essentials Standard Datacenter 37 September 4 20126 3 26 Windows 8 1 Windows 8 1 Windows 8 1 Pro Windows 8 1 Enterprise Windows RT 8 1 Windows Embedded 8 1 Industry Pro Enterprise October 18 2013 9600 38 Windows Server 2012 R2 Foundation Essentials Standard Datacenter10 0 26 39 Windows 10 Home Single Language Home China Home Pro Pro Education Pro for Workstations 40 Enterprise Education Windows 10 S IoT Core Mobile Mobile Enterprise 41 42 July 29 2015 10240 1507 RTM 10586 1511 14393 1607 15063 1703 16299 1709 17134 1803 17763 1809 18362 1903 18363 1909 19041 2004 19042 20H2 19043 21H1 19044 21H2 Windows Server 2016 Essentials Standard Datacenter Multipoint Premium Server Storage Server Hyper V Server September 26 2016 14393 RS1 Windows Server 2019 Essentials Standard Datacenter Multipoint Premium Server Hyper V Server October 2 2018 17763Windows Server 2022 August 18 2021 43 20348Windows 11 Home Single Language Home China Home Pro Education Pro Education Pro for Workstations Enterprise IoT Enterprise Windows 11 SE October 5 2021 44 22000 21H2 RTM Windows NT 3 1 to 3 51 incorporated the Program Manager and File Manager from the Windows 3 1x series Windows NT 4 0 onwards replaced those programs with Windows Explorer including a taskbar and Start menu which originally appeared in Windows 95 The first release was given version number 3 1 to match the contemporary 16 bit Windows magazines of that era claimed the number was also used to make that version seem more reliable than a 0 release Also the Novell IPX protocol was apparently licensed only to 3 1 versions of Windows software citation needed The NT version number is not now generally used for marketing purposes but is still used internally and said to reflect the degree of changes to the core of the operating system 45 However for application compatibility reasons Microsoft kept the major version number as 6 in releases following Vista 46 but changed it later to 10 in Windows 10 39 The build number is an internal identifier used by Microsoft s developers and beta testers Starting with Windows 8 1 Microsoft changed the Version API Helper functions behavior If an application is not manifested for Windows 8 1 or later the API will always return version 6 2 which is the version number of Windows 8 47 48 This is because the manifest feature was introduced with Windows 8 1 49 to replace GetVersion and related functions 50 Programming language EditWindows NT is written in C and C with a very small amount written in assembly language 51 C is mostly used for the kernel code while C is mostly used for user mode code Assembly language is avoided where possible because it would impede portability 52 Supported platforms Edit32 bit platforms Edit In order to prevent Intel x86 specific code from slipping into the operating system by developers used to developing on x86 chips Windows NT 3 1 was initially developed using non x86 development systems and then ported to the x86 architecture This work was initially based on the Intel i860 based Dazzle system and later the MIPS R4000 based Jazz platform Both systems were designed internally at Microsoft 53 Windows NT 3 1 was released for Intel x86 PC compatible PC 98 DEC Alpha and ARC compliant MIPS platforms Windows NT 3 51 added support for the PowerPC processor in 1995 specifically PReP compliant systems such as the IBM Power Series desktops laptops and Motorola PowerStack series but despite meetings between Michael Spindler and Bill Gates not on the Power Macintosh as the PReP compliant Power Macintosh project failed to ship Intergraph Corporation ported Windows NT to its Clipper architecture and later announced an intention to port Windows NT 3 51 to Sun Microsystems SPARC architecture 54 in conjunction with the company s planned introduction of UltraSPARC models in 1995 55 but neither version was sold to the public as a retail product Only two of the Windows NT 4 0 variants IA 32 and Alpha have a full set of service packs available All of the other ports done by third parties Motorola Intergraph etc have few if any publicly available updates Windows NT 4 0 was the last major release to support Alpha MIPS or PowerPC though development of Windows 2000 for Alpha continued until August 1999 when Compaq stopped support for Windows NT on that architecture and then three days later Microsoft also canceled their AlphaNT program 56 even though the Alpha NT 5 Windows 2000 release had reached RC1 status 57 On January 5 2011 Microsoft announced that the next major version of the Windows NT family will include support for the ARM architecture Microsoft demonstrated a preliminary version of Windows version 6 2 7867 running on an ARM based computer at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show 58 This eventually led to the commercial release of the Windows 8 derived Windows RT on October 26 2012 and the implementation of NT over CE on Windows Phone 8 According to Microsoft it is a common misconception that the Xbox and Xbox 360 use a modified Windows 2000 kernel In reality the Xbox operating system was built from scratch but implements a subset of Windows APIs 59 The Xbox One and Xbox Series X S however do use a modified version of Windows 10 60 Windows 11 is the first non server version of Windows NT to not support 32 bit platforms 61 62 64 bit platforms Edit The 64 bit versions of Windows NT were originally intended to run on Itanium and DEC Alpha the latter was used internally at Microsoft during early development of 64 bit Windows 63 64 This continued for some time after Microsoft publicly announced that it was cancelling plans to ship 64 bit Windows for Alpha 65 Because of this Alpha versions of Windows NT are 32 bit only While Windows 2000 only supports Intel IA 32 32 bit Windows XP Server 2003 Server 2008 and Server 2008 R2 each have one edition dedicated to Itanium based systems 66 67 68 In comparison with Itanium Microsoft adopted x64 on a greater scale every version of Windows since Windows XP which has a dedicated x64 edition 69 has x64 editions 66 70 Hardware requirements EditThe minimum hardware specification required to run each release of the professional workstation version of Windows NT has been fairly slow moving until the 6 0 Vista release which requires a minimum of 15 GB of free disk space a 10 fold increase in free disk space alone over the previous version Windows NT minimum hardware requirements Windows version CPU RAM Free disk spaceNT 3 1 71 i386 25 MHz 12 MB 90 MBNT 3 1 Advanced Server 71 16 MBNT 3 5 Workstation 72 12 MBNT 3 5 Server 72 16 MBNT 3 51 Workstation 72 12 MBNT 3 51 Server 72 16 MBNT 4 0 Workstation 73 i486 25 MHz 12 MB 124 MBNT 4 0 Server 73 16 MB2000 Professional 74 Pentium 133 MHz 32 MB 650 MBServer 2000 74 128 MBXP 75 Pentium 233 MHz 64 MB 1 5 GBServer 2003 76 133 MHz 128 MBVista Home Basic 77 800 MHz 512 MB 20 GBVista other editions 77 1 GHz 1 GB 40 GB7 for IA 32 78 16 GB7 for x64 78 2 GB 20 GB8 for IA 32 79 1 GHz with NX bit SSE2 PAE 1 GB 16 GB8 for x64 79 2 GB 20 GB8 1 for IA 32 79 1 GB 16 GB8 1 for x64 79 1 GHz with NX bit SSE2 PAE CMPXCHG16b PrefetchW and LAHF SAHF 2 GB 20 GB10 for IA 32 v1507 1809 80 1 GHz with NX bit SSE2 PAE 1 GB 16 GB10 for x64 v1507 1809 80 1 GHz with NX bit SSE2 PAE CMPXCHG16b PrefetchW and LAHF SAHF 2 GB 20 GB10 for IA 32 v1903 and later 80 1 GHz with NX bit SSE2 PAE 1 GB 32 GB10 for x64 v1903 and later 80 1 GHz with NX bit SSE2 PAE CMPXCHG16b PrefetchW and LAHF SAHF 2 GB11 for x64 61 62 Intel 8th Gen CPU or AMD Zen based CPU Trusted Platform Module TPM 2 0 or equivalent crypto processor 81 4 GB 64 GB11 for ARM64 61 62 Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 7c 8c 8cx Microsoft SQ1 SQ2See also EditArchitecture of Windows NT F6 disk Windows Server domain ReactOS an open source project with the goal of providing binary and device driver level compatibility with Windows NT Windows NT startup process Windows Preinstallation Environment Microsoft ServersNotes Edit For more information on how Microsoft licenses its products see Microsoft Software Assurance DreamSpark DreamSpark Premium BizSpark MSDN Software subscriptions Microsoft TechNet Subscriptions and downloads and client access license References Edit Lextrait Vincent January 2010 The Programming Languages Beacon v10 0 ed Retrieved January 4 2010 June 20 2022 KB5016138 OS Build 22000 740 Microsoft Support Microsoft June 20 2022 Releasing Windows 11 version 22H2 to the Release Preview Channel Windows Insider Blog June 7 2022 Announcing Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22621 160 Windows Insider Blog June 13 2022 Announcing Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 25140 Windows Insider Blog June 15 2022 a b Microsoft Renames Windows NT 5 0 Product Line to Windows 2000 Signals Evolution of Windows NT Technology Into Mainstream Press release Microsoft October 27 1998 OperatingSystem VersionString Property MSDN Microsoft Retrieved November 10 2014 a b Zachary G Pascal 1994 Show Stopper The Breakneck Race to Create Windows NT and the Next Generation at Microsoft Free Press ISBN 978 0 02 935671 5 Microsoft Windows NT OS 2 Design Workbook American history Smithsonian Retrieved March 17 2017 Thurrott Paul History of Windows Server 2003 The Road To Gold Win super site Gates Bill June 5 1998 Q amp A Protecting children from information on the Internet Microsoft Archived from the original on May 26 2001 Retrieved June 26 2005 Windows 2000 is a name that reflects NT s continued move to the technology mainstream Microsoft com October 27 1998 Retrieved November 13 2011 Paul Thurrott s SuperSite for Windows Win super site Retrieved November 24 2010 28 OS 2 Compatibility MS Windows NT 4 Workstation resource kit Microsoft archived from the original on March 3 2016 retrieved November 24 2010 POSIX and OS 2 are not supported in Windows XP or in Windows Server 2003 Support Microsoft November 5 2007 Retrieved November 24 2010 x64 editions deployment Archived from the original on December 18 2014 Retrieved November 24 2010 Barr Adam June 19 2001 Microsoft TCP IP Open Source and Licensing Kuro5hin Archived from the original on December 29 2015 Retrieved February 22 2013 File Systems TechNet Microsoft Retrieved November 24 2010 NT Drivers FAQ WDM CMKrnl Archived from the original on April 21 2009 Cutler Dave 2005 Preface in Russinovich Mark Solomon David A eds Microsoft Windows Internals fourth ed Microsoft Press ISBN 0 7356 1917 4 Pollack Andrew July 27 1991 Microsoft Widens Its Split With IBM Over Software The New York Times retrieved September 2 2008 Thurrott Paul January 24 2003 Windows Server 2003 The Road To Gold Win super site Archived from the original on July 20 2011 Retrieved January 5 2010 a b c Russinovich Mark November 30 1998 Windows NT and VMS The Rest of the Story IT Pro Retrieved January 2 2018 Neil Rieck Windows NT is VMS Reimplemented sort of Retrieved August 25 2015 Mohr Jim December 1 1999 Windows NT Basics Supporting Windows NT and 2000 Workstation and Server Prentice Hall ISBN 978 0 13 083068 5 Retrieved January 23 2021 The technique that Windows NT uses is called a microkernel and was influenced by the Mach microkernel developed at Carnegie Mellon University a b c d e f g h Operating System Version Microsoft Docs Microsoft September 15 2020 Retrieved August 7 2021 Microsoft Releases Windows XP 64 Bit Edition Version 2003 to Manufacturing Microsoft March 2003 Retrieved January 14 2008 Though Windows Vista support ended in 2017 and there was never a third Service Pack the build number change occurs when the user opts to install KB4489887 update released for Windows Server 2008 in 2019 on their system Overview of Editions Windows Server 2008 Microsoft Retrieved May 18 2009 Build number changing to 6003 in Windows Server 2008 support microsoft com Retrieved November 1 2020 LeBlanc Brandon February 4 2009 A closer look at the Windows 7 SKUs Blogging Windows Microsoft Retrieved February 5 2009 Rothman Wilson June 2 2009 Windows 7 To Be Released October 22 Gizmodo Retrieved June 6 2009 Windows Developer network Microsoft LeBlanc Brandon April 16 2012 Announcing the Windows 8 Editions Blogging Windows Microsoft Retrieved April 17 2012 Windows 8 will be available on Microsoft July 18 2012 Retrieved July 18 2012 Windows server 8 named Windows server 2012 Windows valley archived from the original on June 10 2016 retrieved June 10 2012 Windows Server 2012 Editions Server cloud Retrieved July 8 2012 Warren Tom August 24 2013 Windows 8 1 is ready for its October 17th release The Verge Vox Media a b Thurrott Paul November 22 2014 Microsoft Confirms that Windows 10 will also be Version 10 Internally ITPro Today Informa Pidgeon Elana August 10 2017 Microsoft announces Windows 10 Pro for Workstations Microsoft 365 Blog Retrieved December 24 2018 Prophet Tony May 13 2015 Introducing Windows 10 Editions Microsoft Foley Mary Jo July 27 2016 Microsoft to add new Windows 10 Pro Education edition to its line up ZDNet CBS Interactive Schnackenburg Paul 04 06 2021 Windows Server 2022 Is Coming Virtualization Review Retrieved June 18 2021 a href wiki Template Cite web title Template Cite web cite web a CS1 maint numeric names authors list link Windows 11 release date Here s when Microsoft s new OS comes out CNET Retrieved September 5 2021 Russinovich Mark Solomon David December 2001 Windows XP Kernel Improvements Create a More Robust Powerful and Scalable OS MSDN mag Developer network Microsoft archived from the original on April 24 2003 retrieved December 19 2006 Why 7 Windows Team Blog Microsoft October 14 2008 Archived from the original on April 15 2012 Retrieved September 14 2019 Operating System Version Microsoft Developer Network Microsoft September 15 2020 Retrieved November 24 2020 Operating system version changes in Windows 8 1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 Microsoft Developer Network Microsoft May 31 2018 Retrieved November 24 2020 App executable manifest Microsoft July 11 2018 Retrieved November 24 2020 GetVersion function sysinfoapi h Microsoft December 5 2018 Retrieved November 24 2020 Windows NT System Overview TechNet Microsoft Retrieved November 24 2010 Chen Raymond September 28 2016 One Dev Question with Raymond Chen What Programming Language is Windows Written In Channel 9 Microsoft Lucovsky Mark August 9 2000 Windows A Software Engineering Odyssey Retrieved November 2 2006 Intergraph Announces Port of Windows NT to SPARC Architecture The Florida SunFlash July 7 1993 New ports of call for Windows NT Personal Computer World October 1993 p 174 Petreley Nicholas September 3 1999 Can Linux break Intel s hold on the market CNN Aaron Sakovich 2001 Windows 2000 The AlphaNT Source Archived from the original on July 8 2008 Retrieved January 1 2007 Warren Tom January 5 2011 Microsoft demonstrates early build of Windows 8 winrumors com Archived from the original on January 9 2011 Gandhi Shaheen Xbox Team The Xbox Operating System Archived from the original on December 20 2008 Xbox One Is Literally a Windows Device a b c Windows 11 Specifications microsoft com Archived from the original on June 25 2021 Retrieved June 25 2021 a b c Windows minimum hardware requirements docs microsoft com Retrieved June 25 2021 Thurott Paul December 15 1999 Road to Gold A Look at the Development of Windows 2000 Retrieved January 2 2018 Chen Raymond August 2008 Windows Confidential Technology network Microsoft Thurott Paul June 21 2000 Windows 2000 Reportedly Returning to Alpha Platform Retrieved January 2 2018 UPDATE Compaq has apparently denied that any work is being done on Windows 2000 64 for the Alpha a b Comparison of Windows Server 2003 Editions Microsoft TechNet Microsoft Retrieved October 14 2011 Windows Server 2008 for Itanium Based Systems Feature Support Microsoft TechNet Microsoft Retrieved October 14 2011 Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium Based Systems Windows Server Editions Microsoft Retrieved October 14 2011 Microsoft Windows XP 64 Bit Edition Microsoft TechNet Microsoft August 15 2001 Retrieved October 14 2011 A description of the x64 based versions of Windows Server 2003 and of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Microsoft Support Center Microsoft Retrieved October 14 2011 a b Recommended Hardware Configs for Workstations and Servers Microsoft November 1 2006 Archived from the original on February 27 2013 a b c d Windows NT 3 5x Setup Troubleshooting Guide MSKB 139733 Microsoft November 1 2006 Archived from the original on June 22 2014 a b Info Windows NT 4 0 Setup Troubleshooting Guide Microsoft October 31 2006 Archived from the original on March 20 2014 a b System requirements for Microsoft Windows 2000 operating systems Support Microsoft November 13 2007 Archived from the original on May 30 2014 Retrieved September 10 2017 System requirements for Microsoft Windows XP operating systems Support Microsoft September 14 2007 Archived from the original on July 17 2013 Retrieved August 10 2017 Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition System requirements Microsoft January 21 2005 Retrieved January 11 2013 a b System requirements for Microsoft Windows Vista Support Microsoft November 13 2007 Archived from the original on February 12 2015 Retrieved September 10 2017 a b Windows 7 system requirements Support Microsoft Retrieved September 10 2017 a b c d Windows 8 system requirements Support Microsoft Retrieved September 10 2017 a b c d Windows 10 Specifications amp Systems Requirements microsoft com Microsoft Retrieved September 10 2017 Warren Tom August 27 2021 Microsoft won t stop you installing Windows 11 on older PCs The Verge Vox Media External links EditWindows official page Microsoft Russinovich Mark Windows NT and VMS The Rest of the Story Win 2000 discussion of ancestry of NT archived from the original on May 3 2002 A Brief History of the Windows NT Operating System fact sheet Microsoft PressPass 1998 archived from the original on June 10 2004 Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Windows NT amp oldid 1086460102, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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