Problem installing Windows NT 4.0

Windows NT 4.0 is very sensitive in case you use low quality components hardware. For example it detects slightly memory problems and it wont work, even same memory normally works on Windows 95 or 98 systems. If you have two FDD's (5,25" and 3,5") swapped in BIOS, it will not work. After copying setup files and restarting of system, NT will crash when loading kernel with blue screen of death. Solution is to connect floppy drives standard without enabled  "swap FDD drives" option in "advanced bios setup" section of BIOS setup.

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NT Server occasionally get lazy

If Windows NT server became very slow, printing became unbelievable time consuming, and that happens when administrator is far away from server and when administrator just move mouse or touch keyboard problem disappears, do not worry - just turn off screen saver !  Open GL screen savers (pipes, labyrinth, 3D marquee...  ) can occupy a lot of CPU resources, specially on computers without Open GL graphic card. 

This advice can be used on other computers (working stations) that plugged shared devices as printers.

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Improvement of NT performances

On NT and  Windows 95, 97 and 98 systems swap file configuration is very important. For best performance do the following:

  1. Make swap file that will be 10-15 MB larger from physical RAM-a;
  2. Set initial and maximal size of swap file to same value. This will cut time needed for dynamic swap file size;
  3. Do not put two swap files on same physical hard disk, no matters that it has more than one partition;
  4. For swap file use NTFS partition;
  5. Use bus mastering drivers for HDD with swap file;
  6. You get the best performances  if you have more swap files on more HDD-s with bus mastering drivers installed.

If you have problems NT server work speed, the problem can be too slow processor. Check that in NT Performance Monitor by checking average value for Counter Processor Que Length. If value goes over 2000 You sure need a new CPU, but if goes over 1800 - think about it.

In any case, adding RAM memory can not do wrong ...

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After adding L2 cache-a on mother board, performances are not better

NT tries to detect how much L2 cache memory is available and if it fails, it acts as it is 256 Kb cache. Pentium motherboards usually has  512 Kb, sometimes all megabyte and part of L2 cache is unused with worse performance. In that case edit REGISTRY on following way:

Find key  HLM\SYSTEM\Current ControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management, click twice to SecondLevelDataCache, switch to decimal and type 1024 (for 1 MB L2 cache) or 512 (for 512 Kb L2 cache), click OK and restart computer.

You will not notice the difference on computers that use small applications but on larger "hardware consuming" applications difference will be noticed.

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Windows NT crashes often - memory problem ?

Windows NT is sensitive to low quality or incompatible hardware specially RAM memory. If you often get blue screens of death or General Protection Fault messages  and you can't find what causes it, it is time to check RAM memory. To locate problem, do the following:

  1. Test memory by some of testing programs. If you so not have it   starting DOS 6.2 from floppy with line A:\HIMEM.SYS in CONFIG.SYS file will help;
  2. If memory passes the test, disable L2 cache in BIOS-a setup and start system. If works normally- problem is L2 cache. Computer will work with disabled  L2 cache but much slower, specially in larger programs;
  3. If this does not help, lower memory access speed or/and  bus speed;
  4. Change order of memory modules (if there is more than one) or just plug it out and in to memory slot;
  5. If you have only one 64 MB memory module, and nothing ahead helped, try next trick: In file BOOT.INI find the line multi(0)disk(0)partition(1)\WINNT="Windows NT Workstation Version 4.00" and add parameter /maxmem=32. For now on Your NT will use only first 32 MB of RAM. Of course you have to turn off  read-only, system and hidden attributes of BOOT.INI before editing and switch it back afterwards.

Same problems can cause CPU overheating, specially on first Cyrix 6x86 ST, and AMD Duron CPU's. Check is it cooling fan on CPU cooler operational.

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Problem  booting NT-a 4.0 after uninstalation of Windows-a 98 on same computer

It happens that  Windows 98 uninstall  deletes BOOT.INI that is very important with NTLDR and NTDETECT.COM for Windows-a NT booting . To overcame this problem before  Windows-a 98 uninstall format floppy disk from NT and copy named files to it. You will be able to boot NT from floppy disk like this and to copy BOOT.INI to root folder of C: partition.

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Windows NT do not allow installation of any other software

Sometimes  Windows NT do not allow to  install any other software no matter there is enough free space on HDD and user has rights to do it. Often happens that some program make damage to config.nt file on line files=. It happens that this line looks as files=7/&!"F#T&. Change this line from any editor (use Notepad), write files=40 and restart computer.

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Limits of NT-a 4.0 system partition

  1. NT 4.0 system partition can be maximally 7.8 GB. System partition is partition with main files for starting Windows (NTDETECT.COM, NTLDR, BOOT.INI). This partition has system files (folder WINNT/SYSTEM32). This limit is because of booting process system that uses  BIOS INT 13 that allows reading and writing on HDD by using physical addressing of sectors. NT 4.0 can use system partition as large as 7.8 GB only if it is on physical start of HDD. This limit has first version of Windows-a 95 too;
  2. System partition that can be made in time of  Windows-a NT 4.0 install is limited to 4 GB. This is because  NT 4.0 in time of partition format first make FAT 16 file system and later converts it to NTFS;
  3. NT-a 4.0 has problem when installed on HDD larger than 8 GB. Install process blocks, partitions are formatted to long or some data on disk can not be accessed. Solution of this problem you can find in Service pack 4 from which you have to copy ATAPI.SYS over old file with same name.

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Removing forbidden access from protected files under NT 4.0 NTFS file system


NTFS file system allows  definition of access rights for every file on disk. To grant default rights to system files you can use program FIXACL.EXE.


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Adaptec controllers on NT

If you want to install Windows NT on computer witht Adaptec 2940 SCSI host controller, you will have to use one trick. Without this trick system will crash without any error notice on first reboot. You have to switch on Enable Disconnection option in setup of Adaptec SCSI hosta (2940) for hard disc used for NT installation.

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Forgotten admin password on NT

If you forgot admin password on Windows NT system it is a PROBLEM. If you remember first admin password you choose when installing  NT and saved Rescue floppy, start system from it and everything will be O.K. If you didn't... well, you have serious problem that we do not know easy solution for.

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