Microsoft Windows NT (Windows "New Technology") is an operating system produced by Microsoft Corporation. It was originally based on OS/2 3.0, a joint project between Microsoft and IBM. The collaboration fell apart, and IBM continued to market the previous version OS/2 3.0 (later rebranded OS/2 Warp) while Microsoft renamed their version to MS Windows NT, changing the main API to a 32-bit version of its MS Win16 API.
NT enjoyed more success than OS/2, due to its feature promises that were never fully realized and to Microsoft's market prowess.
The following are the major releases of Windows NT :
- Microsoft Windows NT 3.1
- Microsoft Windows NT 3.5
- Microsoft Windows NT 3.51
- Microsoft Windows NT 4.0
- Microsoft Windows 2000 (Version 5.0)
- Microsoft Windows XP (Version 5.1)
- Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (Version 5.2)
The acronym WNT was acknowledged by its ex-Digital developer, Dave Cutler, to be a pun on VMS -- obtained by shifting each letter one position in alphabetical order, akin to the urban legend regarding the name of IBM and the villanous computer HAL 9000, as featured in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
NT uses a highly layered design, with the hardware hidden from the NT kernel by a hardware abstraction layer, and most operating system API functionality provided by API-specific interface modules that present specific functionality such as the Win32, OS/2, DOS and POSIX system call compatibility environments.