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Microsoft Windows NT 3.x
Category: Abandoned Windows systems- client releases

Windows NT 3.x is the first system with a modern, hybrid kernel. The NT system's vulnerabilities were the drivers, difficult to program due to the advanced hardware abstraction model used in the system. The problem was solved only in the successor of the NT line, Windows 2000. Developers complained about difficulties in creating drivers for Windows NT, while hardware manufacturers claimed that creating drivers for their own devices is not profitable for such a small part of the computer market. In addition, despite better system performance and fuller use of hardware resources, the system has been working hard on weaker machines, demanding most of their resources. Windows NT was therefore designed to work on faster computers, which did not predestine it to be an environment for home users. An additional fact against suggesting such users to buy Windows NT was its user interface copied from version 3.1 and much poorer than Workplace Shell used in OS/2. However, the same features made Windows NT perfect for local area networks such as LAN, which in 1993 slowly became standard equipment for offices. Advanced network connection options and efficient NTFS file system made Windows NT 3.51 a bridgehead for Microsoft on the office systems market and gradually grew to Novell's disadvantage over the next few years.


Windows NT 3.1 was first to be called OS/2 3.0 as third version of operating system developed by Microsoft and IBM. However, when Windows 3.0 was released in May 1990, Microsoft decided to change its interface to Windows NT. This was the reason for the conflict between Microsoft and IBM, and its consequence was the breakup and termination of the cooperation. IBM has continued to develop OS/2 on its own since then, while Microsoft has started developing Windows NT 3.1 again. The first demonstration of Windows NT called "Windows Advanced Server for Lan Manager" took place at the developers' conference in August 1992 and the product was formally announced in spring 1993 at COMDEX in Atlanta, Georgia.


Windows NT 3.5 (also known as Daytona code name) - second release of Windows NT operating system. One of the main goals that the developers wanted to achieve while developing the system was to increase the speed of operation. This is the first version of NT, which adopted the names Windows NT Workstation and Windows NT Server. Previous editions of Windows NT (Windows NT 3.1) were called Windows NT and Windows NT Advanced Server. The novelty in Windows NT 3.5 was a new system loading screen and user interface taken over from Windows for Workgroups.

Quick Review:
Type of product:

OS (Operating system)

Developed by:


Release date:

27.07.1993 (Windows NT 3.1)
21.09.1994 (Windows NT 3.5)

End of life support date:


Minimal system requirements:

Free space on disk: 90 MB

CPU: 25 MHz

RAM: from 12 to 16 MB

Type of interface:

GUI (graphical)

⦁ Additional informations about files:
BETA versions (developmental, unstable) are marked in gray,
Blue - official system editions,
Green for modifications and additions (if any)

If you have trouble choosing the right version of the system to download, please refer to the markings below:

⦁ OEM- version compatible with previously purchased devices / pre-installed system on a new computer, assigned to a PC motherboard. After damage or replacement of computer parts, your license is lost

⦁ SP- System image contains a package of fixes and updates. The higher the number, the more patches and updates contained in the system. The patches are called "Service Packs".

⦁ RTM- System version released on the day of release, straight from the production line. It does not contribute anything to the operation of the license.

⦁ Retail- sales version of the program.

⦁ [Polski]- Polish language version; [English]- English language version

⦁ x86 or 32-bit - system compatible with 32-bit processor architecture. They do not support 64-bit architecture. They can use up to 4 GB of RAM.

⦁ x64 or 64-bit - System compatible with 64-bit processor architecture. Some systems (older than Vista/7) do not support 32-bit systems

⦁ x86-64- Multi-architecture edition of the program. You can choose it if you do not know what CPU architecture your computer has.

⦁ VL/VolumeLicense- A system preinstalled on company computers, this license allows you to install the same system on multiple computers and use it simultaneously.

⦁ E- System version without Internet Explorer browser.

⦁ N- System version without media programs (Windows Media Center, Media Player)

⦁ Images called: "Home/Ultimate" are actually images that contain all editions: Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, Ultimate

⦁ Multi-SKU: system image with multiple edits to choose from during installation. Multi-Format system

⦁ (chk): system image checked for errors during compilation (debug)

⦁ (alt): alternative system image to be downloaded, not different from the original, it is a copy/reupload

⦁ DMF: system image saved in a floppy disk format

⦁ CD/DVD: system image saved in a format designed for compact discs and DVDs.

⦁ ESD: file from digital or commercial distribution. To use it, it must be converted to an ISO file.

⦁ File preview icon:
                      IMG- floppy disk image. You can use it in a virtual machine, or use a special program to extract files.

                  ISO/MDF- ready to burn to disk, create bootable media or use in a virtual machine. It can also be used in a program to emulate virtual drives and discs.

      7Z, ZIP, RAR- compressed archive. To access the file, use a program to compress the files, e.g: WinRAR, 7-ZIP- please use file archiver program to open it.

To quickly find the image, press [Ctrl+F] on your keyboard and enter the keyword in the search field. This will highlight the images that contain the entered keyword.

Installation of these images is intended for advanced users. The following systems are published in the BETA (test) version. The installation may be problematic, the system may not work properly. Moreover, BETA versions may be unstable with drivers, programs and operation. They may have unfinished system functions. It is recommended to test the BETA version on a VM. If you have problems with the installation I recommend to consult the Beta Archive forum.

If you are looking for activation keys for Windows [Beta] installation images, click here, or use this address.