(Windows New Technology, NT) Microsoft's 32-bit operating system developed from what was originally intended to be OS/2 3.0 before Microsoft and IBM ceased joint development of OS/2. NT was designed for high end workstations (Windows NT 3.1), servers (Windows NT 3.1 Advanced Server), and corporate networks (NT 4.0 Enterprise Server). The first release was Windows NT 3.1.
Unlike Windows 3.1, which was a graphical environment that ran on top of MS-DOS, Windows NT is a complete operating system. To the user it looks like Windows 3.1, but it has true multi-threading, built in networking, security, and memory protection.
It is based on a microkernel, with 32-bit addressing for up to 4Gb of RAM, virtualised hardware access to fully protect applications, installable file systems, such as FAT, HPFS and NTFS, built-in networking, multi-processor support, and C2 security.
NT is also designed to be hardware independent. Once the machine specific part - the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) - has been ported to a particular machine, the rest of the operating system should theorertically compile without alteration. A version of NT for DEC's Alpha machines was planned (September 1993).