With Windows NT 3.1 out the door there was a LOT of work to be done behind the scenes to bring Windows NT up to a more polished level, and this was most certainly achieved with Windows NT 3.5 . This version did something pretty much unheard of, which is that it dropped the hardware requirements from Windows NT 3.1 . It is almost all too easy to get lost in all the new features but I’ll try to keep a list.
OpenGL (software only)
New TCP/IP Stack
More complete Win32 support
Ability to run Win16 apps in separate WOW instances.
Added complete support for the Dec Alpha
IDE CD-ROM support
For me this was a major release, in that now Windows NT was actually usable, esp with the memory requirement dropped, and the overall speed increased NT 3.5 could actually be used. Â The dialup PPP support that was a SNAP to configure was the thing that won me over, I never could get the dialup scripts for CHAP/PAP/PPP on Linux to work right, but within a few minutes of installing NT 3.5, I was on the internet.
One of the cools things that came out of the Microsoft SGiÂ collaborativeÂ was OpenGL on Windows NT. Â This was no doubt to bring NT into the real ‘workstation’ level of OS, and to give us greatÂ real-timeÂ 3d graphics. Â This was also the source of a lot of ‘server issues’ because people *LOVED* the OpenGL screen savers so much they enabled them everywhere, not realizing that they would easily take 100% of the CPU. Â The OpenGL was so good, that it even scaled on SMP systems, again killing them for 100% of the CPU across all CPUs. Â You wouldn’t be very popular loading them on the departmental SQL server.
Outside of internet applications all I pretty much ran at the time was old Win16 stuff like Turbo C++ for Windows, Watcom C++ and I’d try to run windows games, but NT just needed too much memory compared to MS-DOS/Windows 3.1 … it was a while before memory got cheap enough to tip the balance, but I did only have 8MB back then.
As for the applications I installed on NT 3.1, they all worked fine, MS-Word for DOS & OS/2, Excel 3, and Doom 1.1 ran great.
I should also mention that there was a 32bit version of Office for NT 3.5, Office 4.2 for NT. This added 32bit versions of Word & Excel for NT Alpha/i386. Â I don’t think there was ever native versions for the MIPS.
Windows NT 3.5Â receivedÂ three service packs before it was ultimately superceeded by Windows NT 3.51