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      Reading this kind of thing makes me sad about the rise of app stores and DRM. Imagine trying to do the same thing for the original iPhone, almost two decades more recent. You’d find it hard to even get the OS images (since they were shipped encrypted), though I think various jailbreak things have made cracked copies available. You then wouldn’t find third-party archives of application software because everything was distributed via the app store, which doesn’t expose versions that old.

      As I recall, the DMCA specifically grants rights to museums to crack DRM to preserve artefacts like this, but I doubt the Smithsonian is investing effort in breaking Apple DRM to archive a copy of the 2008 app store, for example. If DRM’d works are allowed to be copyrighted, it would be nice to see that come with a requirement to provide a DRM-free copy to a public archive.

      The screen resolution surprises me, since NT 3.1 came with the same UI as Windows 3.1. I remember 3.1 being completely unusable with a 1024x768 resolution: it was designed for 640x480 and everything looked really tiny if you increased the resolution.

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        I remember 3.1 being completely unusable with a 1024x768 resolution: it was designed for 640x480 and everything looked really tiny if you increased the resolution.

        A lot depends on the monitor. Flat panels are a lot clearer than the CRTs we had then, and often a little physically larger. Note there’s a picture that shows a flat panel being used here.

        Personally I have a 34” 3440x1440 monitor, and NT 3.1 looks beautiful on it: http://www.malsmith.net/screenshots/nt31.png

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          I think I had a 15” monitor back then. At 1024x786, my entire Program Manager fitted in a small corner and distinguishing the individual icons was hard. They’re a lot clearer when I open your image, possibly because pixels are crisper now (CRT pixels are a bit fuzzy around the edges)

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      I am happily running NT4 on my DEC Alpha,.complete with working audio and XGA display. It is my favourite retro machine, and took me a good while to get all the bits and get it up and running.

      I would be good if a bunch of us with an interest in NT on Alpha, could band togther somewhere and share notes etc…?

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        How well did the later additions work? NT 4 was a fine OS. It ran well in 32 MiB of RAM and extremely well in 64 MiB, with a 200 MHz CPU. The shell was completely replaced when you installed IE 4 though, and adding IE 4/5/6 increased the memory and CPU requirements noticeably. Did they get Alpha versions? It initially shipped with OpenGL support but not Direct3D, then with Direct3D but without hardware acceleration. I guess most Direct3D games didn’t get Alpha ports, but GLQuake probably builds for those machines.

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          Not sure what you mean by additions. NT4 was the last official MS OS for Alpha. Windows 2000 for Alpha got to a pre-release version but was then dropped. As I understand it, it does work well, but I’ve never bothered to install it.

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            Service packs and so on. As I said, NT4 shipped with no DirectX, SP2 added some, SP3 added a bit more. It shipped with a very Windows 95-like shell, but IE4 replaced that entirely with an entirely new Windows 98-like one. NT 4 in 1999 was very different to NT 4 in 1996.

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              Ah yeah. My alpha has NT4 SP6a and seems to run fine. Of course, it being an Alpha, it needs about twice as much RAM as an intel box of the same era, with 32MB being the absolute minimum to run NT + some apps.