Friday, December 16, 2011

_Windows NT _

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By Rudigan Scuggins


The history of Windows NT The features of Windows NT The history of Windows


NT The history of Windows NT goes back to the early 80s, when Microsoft was


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working on the original Windows system to run on top of DOS. They joined


forces with IBM in order to create a more powerful DOS replacement that would


run on the Intel x86 platform. The resulting operating system was to be known


as OS/. At the same time OS/ was being developed, Microsoft was busy working


on a new OS, more powerful than the Windows system they already had. This New


Technology operating system would run on different processor platforms. They


planned to accomplish this by writing most of the operating system in the C


programming language, which is a language that is portable across platforms.


In late October of 188, Microsoft hired a man named David Cutler who was a


respected operating systems guru from Digital Equipment Corporation, to help


them design their new operating system. The original planned name was OS/ NT


because at the time, Microsoft was helping to develop OS/ and was integrating


parts of it into its new operating system (NT). After almost two years of


work, the first bits of OS/ NT ran on an Intel i860 processor. Around the


same time, David Cutler projected to Bill Gates that NT would ship around


March 11, which turned out be more than two years off the mark. In early


10, as teams dedicated to NT were formed within Microsoft, Bill Gates


criticized NT for being too big, and too slow during a review. The decision


was eventually made in early 11 to base NTs personality on Microsofts


current Windows system, version .0, and not OS/. In other words, the


personality (the API and user interface in addition to other things) of the


new operating system was to be modeled after Windows .0. The OS/ NT name


was dropped; the new name was to be Windows NT. When version .0 of


Microsofts regular Windows (the one based on MS-DOS) was released by


Microsoft in the early 0s, it gained a large user base rather quickly. In


early 11, IBM became aware that Microsoft was planning to use Windows and


not OS/ as the user interface and API for its new OS. As IBM became less of a


player and Microsoft applied its Windows environment to NT, Bill Gates and his


Windows NT team, lead by David Cutler, pushed forward with the development of


NT. Microsoft effectively cut all ties with IBM as far as their development of


OS/. Coding and testing of NT continued in the following months, and Windows


NT version .1 was released on July 17, 1. Even though this was the first


version of Windows NT, Microsoft made the decision to name it version .1


instead of 1.0 in order to, in a way, integrate it with its current Windows OS


which was already on the market. They thought that naming it version 1.0 may


make people skeptical of its reliablity. Version .5 of Windows NT followed


short time later. Even since version .1, the operating system has been


totally -bit. Microsoft has continued to refine their operating system over


the years with a series of service packs and hotfixes, designed to patch


shortcomings and security issues. A major revision, version 4.0, was released


in August 16 with the user interface of Windows 5. It is built from a


staggering sixteen million lines of C and C++ code. The next version of


Windows NT, Windows 000, is currently in beta and promises support for many


new emerging technologies. As previously noted, Windows NT 4.0 comes in two


flavors, Server and Workstation. NT Server is powerful and versatile. It can


be used for everything from a Local Area Network file server to a full-fledged


Internet server, providing mail, web, ftp or any combination of TCP based


services. Both NT Server and Workstation can act as TCP/IP routers, should you


ever need them to do so. NT Workstation is a powerful -bit desktop operating


system that acts as the perfect client companion to NT Server. It is also an


excellent stand-alone OS. Windows NT is backwards compatible with the vast


majority of PC software, 16 and bit. It does not allow software to make


direct calls to system hardware (often using assembly langauge), which is the


reason why some games will refuse to run on it. The major features of Windows


NT Portability Windows NT was written almost entirely in C, which is a


language that is easily moved from platform to platform. Microsoft isolated


the part of the operating system that had to be written for specific hardware


in something called the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL). When Microsoft


wanted to move NT to different platforms, all they had to do was recompile the


source code for the new hardware and create a new Hardware Abstraction Layer.


Windows NT will run on the Intel x86 architecture, the MIPS RISC architecture,


Digital Alpha, and Motorola PowerPC RISC. As an interesting note, Windows 000


will only run on the x86 and Digital Alpha platforms. Pre-Emptive Multitasking


Multitasking allows a computer to seemingly be performing more than one task


at any given time. Processors cannot work on many things at once, but


operating systems can be designed in such a way that they handle many tasks at


one time, and share the processor. Windows NT queues up tasks, giving each one


a priority level. NT has different priority levels (0 - 1). Then, based on


that information (in addition to other information), the operating system does


some of task 1, some of task , some of task , and some of task 1 again. It


swaps each task in and out of the processor, giving the illusion that the


computer is doing many things at the same time. Windows NT also does a very


good job at isolating tasks in memory, so that if a task hangs or otherwise


becomes inoperable, you can kill it easily and quickly, somewhat like UNIX.


Programs are not allowed to use memory areas which the OS is using, and are


also not allowed to use memory areas which other programs are using. This


reduces the chance that a crashed application will affect the integrity of the


operating system or other programs. Symmetric Multiprocessing Support Using a


technique called Symmetrical Multiprocessing (SMP), Windows NT is capable of


utilizing more than one processor on the same system. Unlike Asymmetrical


Multiprocessing, which assigns different types of tasks to different


processors, Symmetrical Multiprocessing is capable of assigning any task to


any processor on the system. This has the end result of using each processor


to its fullest extent. Out of the box, Windows NT will support two processors


in Workstation form, and four processors in Server form (eight for NT Server


Enterprise Edition). Some special versions of Windows NT have the capability


to support up to processors. This was originally the upper limit that


Windows NT was architecturally designed to support. Microsoft does not


officially support NT Server with more than 8 processors. System vendors who


wish to use more than 8 processors must remaster the Windows NT CD-ROM with a


registry value set accordingly. The Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) may also


need to be rewritten. Security The U.S. Government has given Windows NT a C


certification for security. Class C provides discretionary (need-to-know)


protection and, through the inclusion of audit capabilities, for


accountability of subjects and the actions they initiate. What does this mean


for you? Well, simply put, Windows NT can be set up to maintain an extremely


high level of security. NT Server has security that allows administrators to


control security down to the file level. Windows NT solves many classic


security problems with some rather innovative solutions. One interesting thing


to note about NT is how you log on. You type the Ctrl-Alt-Del sequence. This


is a clever safeguard against programs that may attempt to steal passwords by


impersonating the login screen. The Ctrl-Alt-Del sequence, given any other


time during a Windows NT session, brings up the six-button Windows NT


Security box. RAID Support Windows NT has support for a very sophisticated


hardware feature called RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks). RAID


allows for large storage capacity, improved performance, and increased


reliability. It does this in different ways depending on the RAID level you


are speaking of. RAID is capable, for example, of disk mirroring, which simply


keeps a mirror copy of what is on one disk, on another. Higher RAID levels


will actually keep two bits of every bite (there are 8 bits in a byte) on


different disks, spreading the data out and speeding up retrieval. Windows NT


utilizes SCSI disk drives to implement RAID. Increased Stability / Robustness


over Windows 5/8 More attention was paid to the stability of Windows NT 4.0


when Microsoft was designing and coding it. It was essential that NT be very


stable in order to be a viable alternative to UNIX as a desktop and server


operating system. Windows 5 and 8 are notoriously unstable and not


acceptable for very high performance hardware (multiple processors, Gigs of


RAM), and high demand TCP/IP applications, such as that seen in high volume


Internet servers. Blue screens of death are also few and far between compared


to Windows x. So in summary, NT 4.0 is much more stable and reliable than


Winx due to how it was designed and due to its heritage, which is entirely


different from Windows x.


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