Windows Neptune, NT 4.0 added to Centre

Windows NT 4.0 Workstation edition

CLASSIC: Windows NT 4.0 was the first edition of Windows NT to gain widespread use

Windows Neptune

FAMILIAR: Windows Neptune was part of the development process of Windows XP, and many of the latter’s components date back to Neptune’s testing.

Alston, NCD, Aug 11 – A little over a year since the National Centre of Computing’s foundation, the museum has gained copies of two rare Windows operating systems – NT 4.0 and Neptune.

The rare operating systems from the mid-late 1990s had been on the Centre’s radar for some time after the “mainstream” operating systems (DOS/3.1, 95, 98, 2000 and Me) had been acquired.

The Windows NT 4.0 installation is part of an initiative to document the original four Windows NT systems (3.1, 3.5, 3.51 and 4.0). Windows NT 3.51 holds special significance because of its version number – 3.51 is considered a lucky number in Sirocco.

The acquisition of Windows Neptune, however, is considered an extremely important and lucky find to the Centre due to its rarity. Its build, 5111, is the only version to have ever made its way out of Microsoft’s testing rooms, and is today considered a valuable addition to any computer enthusiast’s collection.

Windows Neptune, along with sister project Odyssey, were meant to revolutionise the Windows family in around 1999-2001. Neptune and Odyssey were eventually merged into Whistler in January 2000, which went on to become the most-used operating system in the world for many years, although admittedly it achieved this after becoming Windows XP in 2001.

The installation of Neptune, however, was not without issue. After setting up the virtual machine’s devices the installation process stalled and had the machine had to be rebooted. The installation of VMware Tools also had some issues with some drivers not installing properly and the SVGA driver (which allows more colours and limitless screen resolutions) had to be manually installed, but after rebooting the Neptune installation started without hassle.

Museum curator Daniel Anderson said he was “thrilled” about the Centre’s growth.

“To have these two machines running in addition to the others is amazing. We have built up a comprehensive history of Windows’ history since 1992, but our work is still not done yet.”

Anderson added that Neptune will be supplemented by “every beta we can get our hands on”. It is expected that it will be joined by Chicago, Nashville, Memphis, Whistler and Longhorn builds when they become available.

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