what exactly does it mean when operating systems like Win2k and WinXP are NT-based?

Posted on 2003-03-27
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-06
what does being NT-based make those two OS's different from other windows OS's like Win98 and ME?
I've heard something about security??
Question by:chashiineriiya

Expert Comment

ID: 8218447
windows nt was built for the biz world, the kernel itself was more stable then then the win9x kernel. so to answer your question, nt based os use a more stable kernel then 9x they also have more robust security then older os's. what do i mean by this. in a nt based os you can create diffent users and give them permission on things they can or can not do on that system. you can also create a folder for that user and give them and olny them rights to it, which means olny they can access they files stored in it. there are many more diff but i think you get the idea.

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ID: 8218474

The business versions of Windows (NT, 2K, XP-sort of) all are remarkably more stable than the home-user versions (95, 98, ME).   This increased stability comes at the cost of compatibility with some programs, notably DOS-based ones in Windows XP.
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Expert Comment

ID: 8218486
Basically after Windows 3.1 Microsoft developed two systems, Windows 95 and Windows NT.  95 was aimed at home users and NT as competion to Novell and Unix severs.  It was a bit more stable, secure and needed better hardware.  NT went from 3 to 3.5 then 4, it was then rebranded Windows 2000.  Now it has been rebranded as Windows XP, with a cut down version called XP home replacing Windows 98 / ME.  It includes many features not available in 98 /ME, is more secure, crashes less and is more powerful.  
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Expert Comment

ID: 8218541
Welcome to O/S.
Probably you are a new commer to O/S forums.
When someone says that a O/S is based on some other, what he/she tries to say is that the new O/S takes all the good stuff from it's "parent" O/S and maybe extends them.
By saying that XP or Win2K are based on NT we are talking about the similarity of the architetural and design approaches used during development. The way that the O/S is structured is not to be discussed in a few lines, there are piles of books about this subject. Now some times (most of the times due to the developers them selvs) some applications or parts of O/S have the same (or similar) name like parnt's. Now Win95/98/Me are based on the extention of Win3.11 engine. They need to have a command.com and IO.SYS and MSDOS.SYS files as well as command.com extenders as HIMEM.SYS. At the same time the O/S itself is an extention to DOS+Windows 3.11 combination.All of three systems are 16 bit and do not provide the same amount of abilities as the NT based windows.
On the other hand NT technology started with Windows NT 3.0 (no knowledge of earlier versions). For the first time Microsoft tried to create a system that would be able to run on different processors and would include preemptive mutilthreading, would be able to support servers and provide relatively stable platform for File Sharing (an alternative to Novell's Netware). The following releases of the system created a new technology (a new way of doing things) that now is the basis for the development of XP and Win2K.
This is short, you need to read articles and books to clearly understand the meaning of this phrase. It 's more like everyday expration together with "Boot",  "Halt", "Blue Screen of DEATH" you know what I am talking about.
Hope you got the idea at least.

LVL 24

Accepted Solution

SunBow earned 200 total points
ID: 8219046
> I've heard something about security??

You got it. In Win9x it looks like there's some security using logons and 'protecting' the system from prorams that try to perform independent I/O functions, but that is an illusion compared to the better effort done in NT. While NT is not C2 compliant for security, its method of authentication is much stronger. Consider that in the cheaper Windows OS, you can simply escape out of logon, and even omit the logons. Not so in NT, where the user must go through the logon identification process, where user may have additional rights permitted in networking, such as for access to remote files.

So, you are quite correct, the main difference is in the level of security (which adds increase in cost). At one time there was a difference in the GUI interface, but the more friendly one from Win9x was ported to the NT family so that's not much a deal anymore. The NT based systems are also the only ones that can access the NTFS type of file structure (on disk) where further priveleges and rights may be defined at user level or at group level (additional security).

Expert Comment

ID: 8221993
O/S: Windows 95  
Security in default configuration: none
How secure can it be made?       : Minimal
Notes                            : Restrictive system and user policies in a networked environment can close many, but not all holes.  

O/S: Windows NT
Security in default configuration: 3.5 good, 3.51 better. 4.0 Good
How secure can it be made?       : Very good?  
Notes                            :Promising, but still newish .... Nice auditing & logging features. Passwords are encrypted during transmission (though imperfectly).  The chief weaknesses discovered in recent years were buffer overflows, denial of service attacks and bad design/ implementation on the application level (IIS & Browsers in particular).
Having to reboot it during installs & major configuration changes makes it a pain for high availability (I've not tested the clustering yet).
Administration is via a GUI, but some functions are available on the command line (especially in the resource kit). Logon domain structure is flat not hierarchical. Not very compatible with UNIX.  

Expert Comment

ID: 8224185
It all comes down to what you want to do.

The NT based systems tend to me more secure and aimed at running network applications and working within a business environment. The latest being XP(I think).

The problems being that they tend to use more resources and be less compatible with games and quite often generic hardware. The aim is to provide a reliable office terminal platform.

The 98 based ones tend to be for home use and are easier to set up in general and more back ward compatible with games and old hardware. The operating system itself requires less resources to run so is generally also faster. however when it is used for networking the user security is poor as is the security of the whole system.

The barriers between the two are becomming more and more erroded with the home OS's becoming the same as the work OS's (which is why I added a 'I think' to XP as it is a hybred). What tends to be provided for the home is the business edition with massive chunks of code simply ripped out leaving the home editions full of flaws and generally messy.

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ID: 8284804
Thanx.                                                              -[Good Fortune]-

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