In the Forums...
Posted: November 26, 1999
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
Before starting, it is important to determine whether or not your hardware is compatible with Windows NT 4.0. To do this, you need to check out Microsoft's Windows Compatible Products List. Select Windows NT, hardware type, and maker you are looking for and search through the product listing. If you find your hardware on there, you're all set.
The problem is that not all of the supported hardware is on the site. If it isn't there, you are going to need to check with the manufacturer for a driver. Most companies keep these drivers on their website. However, you might run into a problem if a company such as Compaq or HP built the computer, and they use generic hardware. If this is the case, check their website for drivers first, and then, if all else fails, call their tech support line and ask them to send them to you. If they don't have the drivers there, in all likelihood they don't exist and you won't be able to continue. Good news is - just about all computers that have been built in the past two years are NT4 compatible - so you really shouldn't have too much trouble.
Get a complete list of the hardware on your computer. Windows NT 4.0 does NOT use plug and play and you will have to either choose your drivers from a list or add them yourself. Also, try to get a copy of the most recent service pack (I think it is SP5 right now). You can always install the service pack after the fact (by downloading it off of the Internet), but it is more convenient to install it right away.
Next, back up all of your important files to another medium. Windows NT4 doesn't like Win98's new FAT32 file system, so you are going to need to have at least two (and probably 3) partitions on your hard drive. And creating new partitions (unless you want to go out and spend some cash on Partition Magic) will require reformatting your hard drive. You may be able to save some information on an unchanged FAT32 partition, but that won't do you much good if you want any of that information on NT4.
Oh, and it would probably be helpful to have copies of Win98 and WinNT 4.0 Workstation (or Server if you have it) around. Also, make sure you are familiar with the contents of the How To Install and Reinstall Windows 98 guide, because reinstalling Win98 is one of the steps in creating a dual boot system!