Windows NT Workstation 4.0
Windows on steroids?
Microsoft, with little
fanfare, has released the next generation of its heavyweight operating
system, Windows NT.
NT Workstation 4.0
is to Windows 95 as a gas barbecue is to a
hibachi: its more robust and powerful, an "industrial strength"
version of Win 95. It has many advantages over its little brother but,
despite NTs strengths, Windows 95 still does some things better.
NT, ("New Technology"),
doesnt crash as much as Windows 95 (not that "95" crashes
a lot), though it doesnt seem as stable as the last version, either.
You wont need a crash helmet, with either operating system. NT multitasks
better than '95,' too - "virtually walking and chewing gum at the
same time" - and it exploits your hardware better, though it also
expects more hardware and will be miffed if it isnt there.
One big advantage
of NT is the "NTFS" file system, which doesnt waste hard
drive space like DOS/Windows 95s "FAT" (file allocation
table) does. Under FAT, the larger your hard disk the more wasted space,
but NTFS is a workhorse of a different color. And NT lets you use NTFS,
FAT, or both - which is great if you want to keep your old Windows/DOS
software, though it means rebooting from one system to the other. For
another look at "FAT," read our PartitionMagic
aspects are top notch, including a "multi-user design" that
lets each user have his own setup - which no one can get at without that
users blessing - and its utilities make system maintenance - well,
if not a breeze then at least not as nasty as before.
On the downside, NT
isnt really "mainstream," so you may have trouble finding
drivers for it - though it does come with plenty built in. Its multimedia
performance isnt up to "95s" snuff, either, and
it may not run all your existing software; even "Windows 95"
on a box doesnt mean NT will like it. Some applications can be "fudged"
into working on NT, but it isnt wise to fool Mother Cyber unless
you know what youre doing.
We noticed a few "out
of memory" problems that didnt make any sense, but who hasnt
had bizarre things happen to a computer? And I got tired of NTs
incessant demand that you log in on bootup. We used it on a standalone
system with no secret stuff, so logins werent necessary - except
Fortunately our resident
Computer Science expert was able to beat some sense into it.
We like NTs
power and potential and - except for the software incompatibilities -
wed convert to it completely. Because of them, however (and because
we have to review lots of DOS/WIndows 95 stuff), we're sticking with Windows
95. For now.
NT is more for the
small business/corporate user rather than the personal/home desktop, but
if you have the hardware, the inclination (and the software!), its
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think