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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