Windows NT 4.0 - 2021 Installation Reference



This is the update to an article I have been using from the EARLY 2000's, which went "dead" in about 2006/2007.

I have modified the article in minor ways to keep it "current".

This process will work on supported hardware or a VM.

Microsoft discontinued support for Windows NT Workstation 4.0 as of January 1, 2021.

Microsoft support for Windows NT Server 4.0 — including Standard, Enterprise Edition, and Terminal Server Edition — ended Dec. 2004. This means that Microsoft will no longer provide nonsecurity hot fixes for Windows NT Server 4.0.

Microsoft provided online support forums until Jan. 2005.

This guide ASSUMES the use of a NT4.0 SP4 ISO for install




 Hardware Qualification (old/unneeded)

1.   Qualify your hardware:

2.   Insert a blank diskette.

3.   Execute cd-rom_drive:\Support\Hqtool\Makedisk.bat  
This is the same as FD144 a:

4.   Reboot from the diskette

5.   Run NTHQ from the diskette.

6.   Make sure that the hardware components listed is on the HCL (Hardware Compatibility List).




1.   To prepare Hard Disks and other hardware devices:

2.   Slots, IRQ and DMA availability limits

3.   Domain name & Work Station names.

4.   Download Disk Format Tools, updated NTFS/HIMEM

5.   Format hard disk by executing, from command-line, a Disk Format Tools from a diskette that SUPPORTS CD Drives & NTFS!

IF NEEDED: Disk Format Tools, can converts NTFS TO FAT32 TO FAT16 (Any TO Any).

The partition size that NTFS (NT File System) supports (as implemented in Windows NT 4.0) is very large, on the order of 16 terabytes. FAT and HPFS partitions (used in previous versions of NT, as well as in Windows 95 and 98) are, "originally", limited to 4 gigabytes (GB).

When installing Windows NT 4.0 on Intel-based computers, you cannot create a bootable partition greater than 4GB, because NT has to create the partition as a FAT volume before converting it to NTFS. There is a workaround which involves partitioning and formatting the drive on a computer with NT installed on a different drive. This will allow the creation of an NTFS partition of up to 7.8GB on the new drive, which can be made bootable when you install NT.

If a partition does not have to be bootable, you can create much larger partitions, up to max format support under NT 4.0, using the Partition Manager.

For more information on disk partition sizes, see articles 119497 and 114841 in Microsoft's knowledge base. 

  • One 7.8GB Partition & Up to 3 additional Primary partitions (each with Max supported Partition size )
  • Additionally, OTHER THAN BOOT ON PARTITION, per "primary partition" you may use "Extended partitions" (Supported: up to 4 drives, 4 partitions per drive, and 2x drive letters)

6.   Review THEN Commit changes before formatting.

7.   If use removable media (portable drives such as Zip/SD/USB disks), create alternate hardware sets NTFS volumes require reboot after mounting.

8.   Select C: as the boot-up system disk.



The Web66 Windows NT Server Cookbook by Stephen E. Collins at the University of Minnesota.

 Prepare PC Hardware

 Keyboard Shortcuts

Windows 2000 Magazine

Beverly Hills Software, the NT Resource.



 Run Setup

1.   Create 3 NT Setup boot diskettes from the CDROM:

  • From a Windows NT computer: x:\I386\winnt /ox

    From a Windows 9x computer: x:\I386\winnt32 /ox

2.   To save setup time, copy Server setup files to I386SERV (or Ppc or Alpha or MIPS) directory on the C: disk. copy Work Station setup files to I386WORK

OPTIONALLY 3.   For unattended setup:

  • Create an /U unattend Answer file for all users using the Server CD:\Support\Deptools\I386\Setupmgr program.
  • Create a /UDF:ID[,database_filename] Uniqueness Database File containing [Unique:Ids] to specify individual installation runs.

4.   Execute setup program WINNT32 to upgrade from version 3.51
Execute setup program WINNT /f /b from Server or Workstation CD

  • Phase 0 (internally running limited version of NT for setup)

1.   Press "N" to install rather than Enter for Upgrade.

2.   Partition to install NT (USE "your premade "WORK-AROUND" 7.8GB)

3.   File system (Leave it as NTFS partition, DO NOT FORMAT IT AGAIN)

4.   Use Location WINNT for Server, WINTWS for Workstation, WINIIS for IIS.

  • Setup Wizard begins.

1.   ) Get information

1.   Installation type (Workstation or Server)

2.   User Name . Organization can contain 255 characters. This creates an unmovable SID (Security IDentifier) which uniquely identifies the domain

3.   Licensing Mode per Server for 10 concurrent connections.

4.   Computer Name (a.k.a. Netbios Name) is 15 characters or less, unique and contain no spaces

5.   Type of server - PDC, BDC, or member (stand-alnoe) server.

Changing from PDC to member server requires reinstall

6.   Password for Administrator account

7.   Request creation of non-bootable Emergency Repair Disk to save the machine-specific Registry (files in the Repair folder). Internally. NT compares setup.txt files. (Just in case, Modern Tools are better mind you)

8.   If custom setup was selected earlier: Optional components

2.   ) Installing Windows NT networking

1.   "Wired to the network" rather than "Remote access to the network" (RAS and Dial-up networking)

2.   Leave unchecked to not install IIS v3 (wait to install with downloaded IIS's lastest supported setup file).

3.   Network interface care installation (Select from list, Have Disk, etc.)

4.   Networking Protocols:

  • TCP/IP
  • NetBEUI for Windows for Workgroups, Windows 95, LAN Manager compatibility

Optionally (NO)

  • NWLink
  • AppleTalk
  • DLC (Data Link Control) for HP JetDirect printers and IBM SNA mainframes No file and print connections
  • RIP and OSPF

5.   No to DHCP Server (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) to automatically obtain an IP address.

6.   IP (Internet Protocol) addressing (ICP = I see many Problems)

3.   ) Finishing setup

1.   Time zone, date, and time

2.   Exchange box configuration
Can't configure video drivers during setup.
Immediately after setup:

    Uncheck "Show this welcome screen next time you start Windows NT" and close the help screen.

    Boot up again using [VGA mode] as Administrator

    Install drivers for video, hard drives, etc.:

1.   Install video driver (Display Type, Change, Have Disk, Browse to select folder, Open, close screen.

2.   Verify hard disk drivers. In some cases, NT 4.0 Setup mistakes an EIDE controller for a generic ATAPI controller, and automatically loads the ATAPI.SYS driver--which doesn't know how to deal with the second drive. To correct the problem, disable ATAPI.SYS (using Control Panel/Devices) and load the appropriate EIDE driver.

3.   Boot up again using [VGA mode]

4.   select new video settings (256 colors, 75 Mhz, 800x600, Small Fonts, etc.)

5.   Boot up again using default mode

    The default location of the CD-ROM is stored in the Registry:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion , which contains F:\i386
in string SourcePath
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup , which contains F:\
in string SourcePath



 Configure Desktop

From Windows NT Explorer

1.   Set NT Explorer's View, Options to Show all files because Files that are not displayed are not copied.

2.   Create New "Users" folder under the root

3.   Click to expand folder WINNT

    Right-click on Explorer.exe and Create Shortcut

    Right-click on Notepad.exe to Create Shortcut to edit notes about the configuration.

4.   Copy Notepad.exe in C:\Winnt\Profiles\Default Users\ SendTo

5.   Unselect "Read Only" attribute for boot.ini file.

6.   Winnt\System32 folder:


7.   Go to C:\Winnt\Profiles\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\ Administrative Tools (Common)

    Minimize other windows to expose an area of the desktop around the NT Explorer screen.

    Ctrl-right-click each of the following to create Shortcut

    windisk.exe Disk Administrator file

    usrmgr.exe User Manager for Domains

    srvmgr.exe Server Manager

    perfmon.exe Performance Monitor

    winmsd.exe Windows NT Diagnostics

    dhcpadmin.exe DHCP Administrator

    eventvwr.exe Event Viewer

    Optional: Create new shortcuts on the desktop by highlighting and Ctrl-dragging these files to the desktop:

1.   Rdisk.EXE to backup the Registry to the Emergency Repair Disk.

2.   POLEDIT.EXE (Policy Editor) in “Program Files \ORKTools \Tools \Policy \Editor”

3.   regedt32.exe used to manipulate the Registry.

4.   NT Backup or better 3rd Party backup software



 Configure Connections

1.   If desired for security, Macintosh access, etc.: Convert FAT to NTFS:
Run command CONVERT drive: /fs:ntfs (NTFS and FAT partitions can co-exist on the same drive)

2.   Execute Disk Administrator (from the NT Administrative Tools) to create a 32-bit signature in the Master Boot Record recognized by the NT fault tolerant driver (Ftdisk.sys).

    Select Options, Colors and Patterns, select Primary Partition, and set color to a lighter color so you could see the asterisk (*) which highlights the boot drive.

    To make NTFS partition larger than 4G, extend the NTFS partition.

    RAID 0 (Redundant Array of up to 15 Inexpensive Disks with equal amounts of space accessed in 64K blocks with no fault tolerance)? Use NT Volume sets to sequentially use up to 32 unpartitioned areas combined from 1 or more disks (starting with a single drive to allow for future expansion). Failure in any part of a volume set crashes the whole set.

Noting the speed of current HDD/SSD's, ONLY the "lastest/last" SCSI PCI controllers (perhaps SATA1.5)  with NT4 drivers, could benefit from RAID 0.

    RAID 1 mirroring two drives The most dependable.
Noting the speed of current HDD/SSD's, this is mostly a "safety" option
(RAID 2-3 are not supported on NT) Use to store system data.

    RAID 5 disk striping with parity. Use Striped Sets to spread use of unformatted free space of the same size on 2 to 32 disks. Improves performance. Cannot be used to store system data.

3.   Create a Fault Tolerant boot diskette.

4.   Important: Create an NT boot diskettes by copying files:



    (if dual-booting) bootsect.dos.
Put this unique diskette in a plastic envelope and attach/tape it to the computer case.

5.   Click on boot.ini to add option to boot from secondary drive (if file has already been made read/write)

    Add "IIS" and/or other member server services to boot-up entry.

    Check Multi/SCSI

    If using Mirror drives for redundancy:

6.   Execute Network from the Control Panel: or right-click on the desktop's Network Neighborhood, select Properties, click Change button,

    Change a server's Identification domain name.

    Specify networking Protocol and specify Server, Gateway, and DNS addresses.

    Command Prompt hostname for your computer's NetBIOS computer name.

    Find the PDC hostname from another local computer with command Run \\<hostname> Can't see new hosts immediately from Network Neighborhood because Master Browser is not updated frequently.

    Command Prompt IPCONFIG /ALL for IP address and Ethernet adapter info. and 48-bit MAC address Unique Identifier burned in the EPROM.
Note max. 5 IP addresses per NIC.
Also see TCP/IP Addressing and Subnet Masking

7.   Communication with remote servers:

    To set server as a WINS Proxy (to listen for WINS requests, resolve from cache, or forward to a WINS server): Set HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Netbt\Parameters key RKNG, EnableProxy to 1.

    Command Prompt (Packet InterNet Groper) PING loopback IP address to verify connections - TTL (Time To Live) not timed out.

    Command Prompt PING your gateway address to make sure it's up.

    Command Prompt TRACERT (Trace RouTe) of hops toward a remote domain name.

    Command Prompt ROUTE PRINT (or netstat -r) for Active Routes: Network Address, Netmask, Gateway Address, Interface, Metric

    Command Prompt nbtstat to display protocol statistics and current TCP/IP network connections ESTABLISHED. Use cursor, not Tabs to skip around an IP address.

8.   Receive TCP/IP from DHCP within IP scope and NetBIOS Scope )

9.   WINS Server address or WINS Replication partnerships (Push & Pull)

10. DNS primary server connection to WINS server for NetBIOS resolution.

11. DNS secondary server with a zone transfer from the primary DNS server on the same zone, different subnet.



 Apply Service & Option Packs

Once you could get on the Internet (and if you don't have the files on CD or Zip disk, Etc.):

Download from Microsoft's web site and install in the order below:

1.   Cumulative Windows NT Service Pack 3 (18 MB) has:

  • Latest Supported: IIS
  • Active Server Pages 1.0b for server-side Web applications includes native support for Microsoft Visual Basic, Scripting Edition (VBScript) and JScript.
  • Index Server 1.1 to quickly search and locate HTML, Microsoft Office, or text documents information on Internet or Internet sites.
  • Latest Supported, NetShow: for live and on-demand audio and video content multimedia communications and information distribution
  • Office XP
  • IF NEEDED: Web Server Tools, to create reports from your Web Server log files and includes preformatted Web log reports. HTML publishing capabilities instantly turn reports into presentation-quality, information-rich documents for the Internet and intranet.

2.   Service Pack 6a, Final for NT 4.0. Installs all other services packs also (cumulative).

3. NT 4.0 USB Patch

4.   Internet Explorer 6.with Service Pack 1 upgrade which includes:

  • The Standard edition includes the Outlook Express email program.
  • The Full edition contains NetMeeting, NetShow, FrontPage Express (formerly FrontPad), Microsoft Web Publishing Wizard, and Microsoft Chat 2.0
  • The Microsoft Java Virtual Machine is in IE6 SP1.

5.   Once IE6 is installed, you can look at the list of IE 6 add-ons (Real Audio, NetShow, Acrobat Reader, etc.)

6.   Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack (DOWNLOAD.EXE retrieves 85MB into folder PWSSetup) has:

   Internet Information Server - IIS LATEST

    Pesonal Web Server

   FrontPage (or other) server extensions.

    Internet Connection Services for Microsoft RAS

    Transaction Server 2.0

    Message Queue Server 1.0

7.   Install server applications software:

    Internet Resources for Windows NT

   Anti-virus (very few options)

    Install 10 Must-Have Utilities for NT, such as Ghost Walker which changes the NT SID Security ID on copied drives.



 Configure Users

1.   Use POLEDIT to specify default/All User Audit Policies

2.   Execute User Manager for Domains program,

    Select "Policies", select "User Rights", scroll down list to select "Log on Locally", Add Everyone. Reboot.

3.   to access services on other domains:

1.   Define cross-domain trusts

2.   Create a global group

3.   Assign local users to a global group

4.   Assign local group to local domain

5.   Test access

4.   Execute the Server Manager program

    Add Users by using "Add Domain" and input Workstation names.

    Command Prompt PING your IP address to check for duplicate address use (if address returned is

    Check Network Browser

5.   Execute NT Explorer to specify Permissions to folders and files in NTFS partitions.

6.   Use NT Explorer to configure Properties of legacy 16-bit DOS program PIF files . Note: DOS programs running inside the same 4MB NTVDM.

    Use C:\Winnt\System32\sysedit.exe to edit AUTOEXEC.NT and CONFIG.NT?

    In a Common Prompt session, Press F7 for history of DOS commands.

    IPC's & RPC's ?

7.   Execute NT Explorer to mark specific (archive) folders and files in NTFS partitions for compression

8.   Execute "Network Client Administrator" to

    "Make Network Installation Startup Disk" to create boot-up diskettets used to create clients.

    "Copy Client-based Network Admnistration Tools" pointers to a diskette read by a client machine used by Administrators.



 Install Member Servers

which don't validate signons

1.   Switch from PDC or BDC requires reinstall.

2.   From Double-click Network icon> Properties or Start> Settings> Control Panel> Network> Services :

    Network Services DHCP Server? (requires reboot)

    DNS Server (Domain Name System) using a static database to resolve Internet names to IP addresses. for FTP to Unix servers which doesn't have WINS.

    WINS Server (Windows Internet Name Service) using a dynamic database to resolve Netbios names to IP addresses.

    RAS Server







3.   Join the member server to its domain: Use Network icon, Identification tab, Change button.

4.   Click Close and restart.




 Baseline Performance (I am looking for more "MODERN TOOLS" for these tasks, I dont use NT4.0 alot anymore)

1.   Download WinTune97 for WinNT (1.5MB) or run WinTune98 using MS Internet Explorer 4 to analyze CPU and Direct3D video performance.

2.   Test File handling,

3.   Test backup and restore:

1.   Test full system archive

2.   Set archive bit off on all files.

3.   Reboot

4.   Execute and run programs (identified in the Acceptance Test Script?) to make sure they work.

5.   Make a test incremental backup

6.   Test restore options:

    Restore data from tape.

    Recover from mirrored drive:

1.   Execute Disk Administrator and Regenerate fault tolerance.

2.   Recreate the mirror.

4.   Test Print capability.

5.   Test Applications functionality (reports).

6.   Perl scripts in cgi-bin

7.   Make a post-installation archive stored off-site

8.   Turn off monitor and ensure restricted physical access (the door locks closed).



 Workstation Setup

1.   Execute Windows NT Explorer

    create "Users" directory

    View Options Show all files

    Copy shortcuts to Notepad or other programs into C:\Winnt\Profiles\Default Users\ SendTo

    Double click on boot.ini to set the default partition [boot loader] to boot-up.

2.   Create on the desktop a shortcut to Rdisk to backup the Registry to the Emergency Repair Disk.

3.   Set NTFS compression (using COMPACT.EXE or NT Explorer).

4.   Select C: as the boot-up (system) disk.

5.   Software Fault Tolerance?

6.   Install Microsoft Office, then the Office Service Pack. The Windows 95 version of Microsoft Office runs today on both NT 3.51 and NT 4.0.



 Monitoring & Optimization

    Command Prompt netstat -e to display TCP/IP network error statistics on current connections ESTABLISHED.

    Review Audit Logs.

    Application, System, Security

    Run command DISKPERF -Y to enable Disk Counters. (-N to disable)

    NDIS 4.0 to capture data sent thru network cards (rather than all traffic promiscuously)

    Network Monitor uses SNMP communities of trap servers and trap destinations. Set Capture filters and Display Filters by source/destination address, protocol.

    Performance Monitor

    Network> Services> Server> Properties:

    Minimize Memory Used for small number (under 10) users

    Balance (for 10-64 users)

    (Default) Maximize Throughput for File Sharing

    Maximize Throughput for Network Applications (SQL Server)

    Ctrl-Alt-Del for (currently running) Task Manager
One Process (unique Process ID) for each 32 bit Application
Threads run within the context of a Process


    separate memory spaces

    incoming concurrent sessions (max. 10 on a workstation and the number of licenses on a server)

    Maintain NT Directory Services entries. This is unique to the domain model of NT networking, not to the Windows for Workgroups model.

    Demote the SAM on a PDC (Primary Domain Controller)

    Promote SAM on a BDC (Backup Domain Controller)

    To reinstall DNS server, delete DNS files by copying boot file from System32\DNS\Samples folder.

    Add resource records (A = Address of host, MX = Mail Exchange)

    Use these reserved private addresses for testing:

    1 Class A -

    16 Class B -

    255 Class C -

    In Network TCP/IP DNS search order, put local server address first.

NT Toolbox