I have this P4 I got for super cheap in Hong Kong, that came with Windows 98 of all things. Naturally I want to load something more useful like Windows NT 3.1 onto it, so I did have to do some tweaking first.
The first thing is the hard disk. I was lucky in that this machine came with a 40GB disk, the Hitachi Desktar IC35L060AVV207-0.
Now what makes this disk great, is that it can be jumpered down to act like an 8GB disk, so that things like MS-DOS and older OS’s like Windows NT can recognize the disk. Even nicer that the jumper settings are on the disk!
My board supports booting from IDE, which is nice as I could paritition and format the disk from MS-DOS 5.00, and make sure things were working fine.
However it really doesn’t matter as over on Beta Archive, The has made an ATAPI driver available for not only Windows NT 3.1, but also various beta versions as well! You can find the post, and the links to download here! (mirror here). Now you can install from the boot diskette & a driver diskette and load the rest of the OS from CD-ROM.
You will have patch the INITIAL.IN_ and SETUP.IN_ files to allow installation on any new processor.
STF_PROCESSOR = “” ? $(!LIBHANDLE) GetProcessor
STF_PROCESSOR = $(ProcessorID_I586)
You can leave the files expanded, but this is needed if your CPU is newer than a Pentium (Yes a Pentium 60/66 type processor, so that is Pentium Pro, Pentium II, Pentium III, Pentium 4 and beyond…). But yes, this is great! No need to try to dig up old SCSI cards, SCSI disks, and SCSI CD-ROM drives.
And much like Qemu and VMware, the AMD PCnet is a great go to PCI card, and I was able to find this IBM 11H8130 Type 8-Z 10BaseT PCI Network Card which works!
As this chipset, the AMD AM79C970AKC is the one that is explicitly listed as compatible. This IBM card provides an AUI port, along with a 10baseT port.
Post install, service packs
Of course when installing Windows NT 3.1, you’ll want service pack 3, the last update to the OS.
Also don’t forget to replace NTLDR & NTDETECT.COM from a later version of Windows NT to allow access to more than 64MB of RAM.
Windows NT 3.1 will allow you to install on FAT, HPFS, and NTFS v1 partitions and disks. The TCP/IP is a 3rd party, from Spider that does not support DHCP. Outside of doing it just because, it really is better to go with NT 3.5 or 3.51 as they have better SMP support, are much faster, and have a much more robust network stack.