What is Windows NT?

Windows NT is a 32-bit operating system developed by Microsoft, the first version of which was released in July 1993.

What is Windows NT?

What is Microsoft Windows NT Operating System?

Before the release of the famous Windows 95, Microsoft company designed a new set of operating systems for workstations and network servers. The idea was to design an operating system with its own stable graphical interface and features similar to UNIX network systems. The letters NT consist of the word New Technology.

Windows NT was deployed in two versions, depending on the utility to be used as Workstation and Server to be used as a server.

When Windows NT started developing in November 1988, it was developed in conjunction with the third version of the operating system developed by Microsoft and IBM: OS/2 3.0.

Also, for the three versions of OS/2 to work, Microsoft continued to develop a DOS-based Windows environment in parallel and less demand for resources.

When Windows 3.0 was released in May 1990, Microsoft decided to change the Programming Interface (API) from an unpublished Windows NT OS/2 to an expanded Windows API.

This decision caused tensions between Microsoft and IBM, and collaboration was reduced. While IBM continued to develop OS/2 on its own, Microsoft continued to work on the newly named Windows NT.

Microsoft hired a group of developers from Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) led by Dave Cutler to develop Windows NT and VMS and many other items that reflect the experience of the RSX-11 and DEC.

The operating system is designed to work in multiple architectures, with a layer of hardware abstraction separated from the core hardware.

APIs were implemented as subsystems above the undocumented native API. This allowed the acceptance of the Windows API in the future.

A microkernel was originally designed and later versions were integrated into more functions to improve the performance of the kernel. Windows NT was the first OS to use Unicode internally.


Microsoft’s family of WinNT operating systems consists of the following versions:

Windows NT Version
Release Date
Operating System
Workstation (named just WinNT), Advanced Server
Workstation, Server
Workstation, Server
Workstation, Server, Server Enterprise Edition, Terminal Server, Embedded
Windows 2000
Windows XP
Windows Server 2003, Windows XP x64
Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008
Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2
Windows 8, Windows Server 2012
Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2
Windows 10, Windows Server 2016,Windows Server 2019

All these versions have preventive multitasking and are operating systems designed to work with single-processor or multiprocessor computers.

To process I/O requests, you must go to a package address that uses IRP requests and asynchronous I/O.

Starting with Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Microsoft began developing operating systems that support up to 64-bit.


The NT architecture is quite modular and is based on two main layers:

  1. User mode: Programs and subsystems are limited to the system resources they have access to.
  2. Kernel mode: You have full access to system memory and external devices. All of the cores of operating systems in this line are known as hybrid cores, but this term is discussed because this core is essentially a monolithic core structured in the style of a micro core.

Architecture in kernel mode consists of:

  1. A hybrid core.
  2. A hardware abstraction layer.
  3. Also called drivers or drivers.
  4. Admin: All top-level services are implemented.
  5. Dynamic libraries for a smooth operation like Ntoskrnl.exe.

Core Mode

The kernel-mode of the WinNT line consists of subsystems that can transmit to the appropriate controllers using the I/O manager using I/O requests.

Two subsystems create the Windows 2000 user mode layers: the environment subsystem and the integrated subsystem.

Kernel mode in Windows 2000 has full access to the computer system’s hardware and resources.

Kernel-mode prevents user-mode services and applications from accessing critical areas of the operating system that should not be accessible.

The administrator is concerned with all subsystems of the user mode. It deals with I/O, object management, process managemen, and security.

The core is located between the Hardware Abstraction Layer and Administrator to provide multiprocessor synchronization, thread, and programming, interrupt forwarding, and exception forwarding.

The kernel is also responsible for initializing hardware drivers. Kernel-mode high-level controllers, intermediate controllers, and low-level controllers have three-level controllers.

The Windows driver model is in the middle tier and is primarily designed to maintain binary and source code compatibility between Windows 98 and Windows 2000.

Low-level drivers are also the legacy of device drivers that directly control a device or can be a PnP hardware bus.


The skin of WinNT is very similar to Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows Millennium. However, WinNT has an independently developed kernel. It, therefore, has the following features:

  • WinNT is a preferred 32-bit multitasking network operating system with high security and network services as its main features.
  • Outstanding reliability makes WinNT the basis for critical applications. It is especially indicated for workstations and network servers that require maximum performance.

This version of WinNT develops on previous versions of Windows, providing the following reliability features:

   Internal Client/Server Model

WinNT is a 32-bit operating system, user applications do not run in the assigned memory space of the kernel of the system called kernel.

While the system core is running on the ring 0, the user applications run on the 3 rings of the processor.

   32 Bit Flat Memory Model

Preferred multitasking model: Uses preferred multitasking to ensure that all applications can always run CPU (Central Processing Unit) resources.

It also prevents some applications from completely monopolizing the system’s CPU usage by executing faulty applications.

   NTFS File System

The NTFS file system is an advanced file system that provides greater reliability.

   Real 32 Bit Design

All code of 32-bit WinNT provides much more speed than other operating systems written in 16-bit technology.

   Multitasking and Multi-Use Features

It allows preferred multitasking by allowing all processes to run and also supports multiple CPUs that are performing.

WinNT supports not only INTEL based CPUs, but also different CPU types such as Power PC, DEC Palpa and MAC.


One of the most important features of WinNT is its security. Special attention has been paid to this section since WinNT’s first implementations, so this operating system offers security for data protection to both companies and state levels.

To realize these security attributes, WinNT offers the following features included in the software package:

  • Domain Security Model

It is an advanced network access system, so it is perfectly controlled which network resources a user can use.

Private servers, called domain controllers, are responsible for doing all the work of authenticating users. Security information is stored in a database called SAM (Security Account Manager).

  • NTFS File System

It is a file system that complements the security of the system. Allows network administrators to control various network access for groups or users.

  • Error Tolerance Properties

WinNT includes important fault-tolerance features. Fault tolerance means that a system can withstand different errors that may occur during operation. The first important feature is RAID (Redundant Array Of Inexpensive Disk) support, which uses technology similar to disk mirroring.

If a disk failure occurs, the information can be retrieved thanks to RAID. Another important feature of fault tolerance is UPS, Intermittent Power Units support. WinNT detects a voltage drop in the network and immediately switches to UPS.

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