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Reload this page Microsoft Windows Versions

Here is the checklist I use when installing Windows machines.


Topics this page:

  • OS Versions
  • Product Versions

  • Clustering

  • Config Options
  • Drivers
  • Your comments???

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    Set this at top of window. OS Versions

      Product Code name Version Time Frame & Notes
      Beyond Longhorn Blackcomb - Windows Server 2008 in 1Q 2009?
      Windows Vista Longhorn - In MSDN preview July 2005 and 1Q 2006 release. Features "Palladium" security architecture and hardware 3D-enabled user interface. Glossary Pillars of Windows Framework: WinFX. Widely derided for incompatibilities and frequent crashes of Windows Explorer and other faults.
      Windows 2003 R3 SP2 launched 2002.
      Windows XP Whistler = announced March, 2001 and launched Oct 25, 2001, is the convergence of Windows 2000 and Windows 9x. It offers 1394 support. A website external to this site FTP site for individual hotfixes A website external to this siteKnown problems
      Windows ME (Millenium Edition) Millenium 4.9 Announced Nov. 2000, is the replacement for Windows 9x. It features a videoanother page on this site editing application and automatic detection and restore of changes to system files. These require special drivers for most virus scanners and system utilities.
      Windows 2000 none = released Feburary 2000, features file-level security, Keberos, Level 2 Tunneling Protocol over IPSec for VPN connections, Dynamic DNS, BOOTP, and many other new features.
      Windows 98 Second Edition Memphis 4.1 featuring IE5 and multiple internet sessions
      NT4 Service Pack 5 - - -
      Windows 95 OSR2 Detroit - OSR2 Installation Tips
      Windows 95 Plus Pack Frosting - Update Win95 to Win95a (Not Win95b/OSR2)
      Microsoft Windows 95 Chicago = (D build has Fat32 support) Windows95 service Pack 1 (W95setup.exe) (Sept 10, 1996)
      Windows for Workgroups 3.11 Snowball 3.11 -
      Microsoft Windows for Workgroups Kato - =
      Windows 3.0 Janus 2.0, 2.03 - 2.11 =
      Windows 1.0 (Win16 - DOS 2.0 GUI), Windows 1.0, 1.01, 1.03, 1.04 =

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    Set this at top of window. Price vs. Capabilities

      Product Cost New /Upgrade Max. Simul- taneous Users Max. CPU's for SMP Max. 64 RAM on this page Max. 32 RAM on this page CPU Clustering
      Windows 2000
      Pro (Workstation)
      $316 / $219 from Win9x or $149 from NT4 1 2 64 - 128 MB 2 GB Not Available
      Windows 2000
      Standard Edition Server
      $1,199 / $599
      for 10 clients
      < 500 4 128 - 256 MB 4 GB
      Not Available
      Windows 2000
      Advanced Server
      $3,999 / $1,999
      for 25 clients
      - 8 128 - 256 MB 8 GB 2 servers
      Windows 2003
      Enterprise Edition
      for 25 clients
      - 8   32 GB 4 servers
      Windows 2000
      Datacenter Server
      See below < 10,000 16 (32 thru OEM's) 256 - 512 MB 64 GB
      4 servers
      Windows 2003
      Datacenter Edition
      See below < 10,000 16 (32 thru OEM's) 256 - 512 MB 64 GB
      8 servers

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      Set this at top of window. Maximum RAM

      The maximum RAM on a machine depends upon the number of slots and the size of DIMM chipsets.
      Slots Chip size Memory Cost
      16x4 1GB each 64GB PC133
      16x4 512MB each 32GB PC133

      Set this at top of window. SMP

      Windows 2000 supports "tightly coupled" Symmetric Multiprocessing, where several processors share a common memory pool controled by a single operating system. Windows does NOT support Asymetric Multiprocessing for massively parallel processing or where several processors work on different tasks together.

      Preemptive Multitasking refers to the ability of the OS to control execution of process threadsanother page on this site.

      tool The Intfiltr.exe background process can use InterruptAffinityFilters to route interrupts among multiple CPUs. This improves processor cache locality.

      Set this at top of window. AWE & PWE

      4GB is the maximum number of native address locations from a 32 bit address space (since 2^32 = 4.2 billion). By default, this space is split evenly between the OS and applications (2GB each). But applications on Windows 2000 onwards can be allocated 3GB of virtual address space (by taking it 1GB away from kernel) by removing the read-only attribute and editing the boot.ini file to add the /3GB parameter.

      multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT="Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server" 
      /fastdetect /3GB

      Windows 2003 introduced a /4GT boot.ini switch, but only for Enterprise/Advanced/DataCenter version in production but "non-production" use on Standard version and not at all on Terminal Server machines because it needs that 2GB of kernel space that /3GB reallocates away to 1GB. See Oracle Metalink Notes 46001.1 and 297498.1 and Microsoft KB article 297812

      On Vista machines, enable the "/3GB" switch from a Run > Command line:
      BCDEDIT /set increaseuserva 3072

      On a computer with 4GB of RAM installed, if you go to Computer Properties, "3.49 GB of RAM" appears. In Task Manager's Performance tab, "3659844" appears.

      To Monitor for Memory Usage use Perfmon to watch:

      • Virtual Bytes for oracle.exe to see total memory used by the process
      • Total Pool Non-Paged Bytes -- Memory Counter
      • Total Pool Paged Bytes -- Memory Counter
      • Free System Page Table Entries (PTE’s) -- Memory Counter

      Advanced Server and Data Center Server OS can use the PAE (Physical Address Extension) memory mapping model to address 8GB running on on Intel's Pentium III processorsanother page on this site Pentium Pro and IA-32 family of chipsets. Placing the /PAE parameter in the Boot.ini file causes the core kernel image Ntoskrnl.exe to be replaced with Ntkrnlpa.exe (Ntkrpamp.exe on multiprocessor machines).

      "PAE-36" refers to the 36 bits the MMU (Memory Management Unit) uses to address up to 64GB of physical addresses — accomplished by using an extra 4 bits for the 512 entries of the Page Directory Pointer Table to identify which contiguous 4K four "field" resides in the swappable area below 4GB.

      "PSE-36" (Page Size Extensions) make fields available as 4KB or 2MB pages. It uses CONFIG_HIMEM to enable more than 4GB physical memory. The OS also needs to load PEDETRs for mapping changes on writes to CR3.

      Reminder Memory above 4GB are stored in pages 4MB large.
      Memory below 4GB are stored in pages 4K & 4MB large.

      Nevertheless, only 2GB of memory is actually usable at a time.

      To take advantage of this, applications must use Microsoft's single-server Address Windowing Extensions (AWE) API functions that maps views of the physical memory they allocate into 2GB virtual address spaces. Applications also need to use IMAGE_FILE_LARGE_ADDRESS_AWARE in its process header.

      Oracleanother page on this site uses memory above 3GB from AWE for db buffers. When Oracle is enabled to use AWE by initialization parameter USE_INDIRECT_DATA_BUFFERS, Oracle's VLM can get up to 12GB of database buffers. Default value for AWE_WINDOW_MEMORY is 1 GB. The amount of AWE memory allocated equals db_block_size times db_block_buffers (instead of db_cache_size). See Oracle Metalink Note 225349.1

      This allows (during testing) the /NOLOWMEM Boot.ini switch can be specified to discard memory below 4 GB and relocate device drivers to physical addresses greater than 32 bits.

      PAT (Page Attribute Table)

      Set this at top of window. Microsoft Data Center Server

      Microsoft's Data Center Server supports Winsock Direct for high-speed communications in a system area network (SAN). It's only available from OEM's:

      Set this at top of window. Supercomputers

      Top500 Supercomputer sites lists the most powerful supercomputers on the basis of the High Performance Linpack benchmark (introduced by Jack Dongarra) which measures the number of Flops (Floating point operations per second solving a dense system of linear equations). Machines have grew (following "Moore's Law") from GigaFlops in 1993 to a TeraFlop in 1997 to nearly a PFlop in 2005.

      Distributed-memory computers are the current trend. California Digital's Thunder system, uses Linux to run 64-bit instruction set programs on four-processor Intel Itanium 2 servers. Hundreds of these communicate using a MPICH - Portable Implementation of the Message Passing Interface (MPI 1.1 and MPI-2) library (developed at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville) to displace the PVM.

      Utah's Linux Networx builds for the Los Alamos National Laboratory supercomputing clusters based on AMD Opteron processors.


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    Set this at top of window. Different HAL

      Uniprocessor computers contain the Programmable Interrupt Controller (PIC) hardware, referred to as a Standard PC in Device Manager.

      The HAL for a computer containing ACPI and PIC hardware is not upgradable to the HAL for a PIC computer that is not ACPI compliant.

      Only computers containing BOTH Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) and Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller (APIC) hardware can be upgradable to a multiprocessor system or downgradable to a uniprocessor system using the Device Manager Upgrade Device Driver Wizard.


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    Set this at top of window. APIC Hyperthreading

      Unlike traditional Dual-Processor (DP) designs with two physical processors on the main board, Intel's Hyper-Threading (HT) is a form of Simultaneous Multi-Threading Technology which duplicates the same threads (architectural state) simultaenously on multiple processors. Introduced in 2002 with the Intel NetBurstT microarchitecture on-chip resources on Pentium 4 Xeon processors enables software applications written to use two logical processors on each physical processor with multiple threadsanother page on this site thread-level-parallelism (TLP).

      Each logical processor has its own APIC (Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller) ID. Intel's Application Note AP-485 titled Intel Processor Identification describes the CPUID instruction to read whether

      1. bit 28 in register edx is set ON if the physical processor supports Hyper-Threading Technology.
      2. Bits 16 through 23 of register ebx identify the number of logical processors the physical processor supports.
      3. register eax set to 0 to retrieve the processor type, and then with register eax set to 1 to retrieve the feature set.
      4. bits 24 through 31 of register ebx stores the APIC ID
      5. Associate the logical processors to physical processors through their respective APIC IDs.


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    Set this at top of window. MS Cluster Service

      Clustering is a group of machines acting as a single entity to provide resources and services to the network. [1]

      Windows 2000 Server supports clustering and load balancing only when MS Application Center 2000 is installed.

      The Microsoft Cluster Service allows a node (server machine) to assume ownership (respond to requests for use of group) resources such as file shares when the owner node does not respond.

      Reminder Unlike Network Load Balancing, standby nodes on a cluster performs no other work (sitting idle listening for heartbeat traffice from the working node).

      Machines in a cluster must:

      • belong to the same domain
      • use NTFS formatted basic disks (not FAT32 nor dynamic disks).
      • not be a domain controller. This is because Microsoft officially supports only configurations on domain controllers where there is only one NIC card. But machines on a cluster should (ideally) have two NIC cards:

        1. The highest priority connection is used to communicate with each other nodes via a private network used only by that cluster.
        2. The public network of clients requesting services from the clustered nodes would be on a mixed network which could carry both client-server traffic and also the private sync messages.

        Reminder In case the private network fails, sync signals should also be carried in the public network available to other machines.

      Install Cluster Service from Add/Remove Windows Components:

      • Specify the Domain Account which has rights to automatically create the "Cluster Group"
      • Specify a Cluster Name.
      • invokes the Cluster Service Configuration Wizard to additionally assign a single Cluster IP address (and subnet mask) for reference by clients. The Cluster Service directs traffic to a specific cluster machine.

      Terminal Services servers cannot be clustered. However, TS servers can be load balanced two ways:

      • Network Load Balancing allows for incremental scale out capacity by distributing incoming IP traffic across a farm of load-balanced servers. [Q243523]
      • Round-robin DNS resolution [Q168321]


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    Set this at top of window. Cluster Administrator MMC (Cluadmin.exe)

      Use the Cluster Administrator MMC (Cluadmin.exe) to confirm that resource ownership changes when they are moved from one node to another node.

      The System State of machines running Cluster Service include resource registry checkpoints and the quorum resource recovery log. A local copy of this database is maintained in the cluster hive in the registry by all the clustered nodes. While a node is down, that node's cluster hive is not updated with cluster configuration changes, but the changes are recorded on the quorum log. At startup, the local copy might have out-of-date information. If so, it is recreated using the last checkpoint and the change records in the quorum log. See also checkpoint; cluster database.

      Create a clustered File Share resource for applications to use. Select File | Configure Application to invoke the Cluster Application Wizard to associate the cluster group name to a Virtual Server group.

      The cluster service polls resources by the frequency specified in the "Advanced" tab.

      Resources need to be manually brought on-line after being created.

      Dependencies on file share,

      Select "Intiate failure" to confirm that failover occurs automatically.


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      Set this at top of window. Cluster Monitoring

      tool To verify whether two nodes clustered together can indeed communicate and (destructively) use floppies and Shared SCSI drives, run [from the Resource Kit] \CVU\setup.exe, then the Open Cluster Verification Utility:


      tool To monitor the health of servers (and to remove any with weak activity), install the Resource Kit \apps\ ClusterSentinel. This was previously known as Windows Load Balancing Server (WLBS).


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    Set this at top of window. Improvements from each release

      Top reasons to implement any new release:

      • Requirement by ISV providing 3rd-party packaged applications software
      • Improved hardware support (driver support, Device Manager) -- more stable drivers
      • Better performance (works faster)
      • Lower Total Cost of Ownership (which includes personnel training, maintenance, and ancillary costs over a product lifecycle).
      • Better productivity features
      • Tighter security (privacy) and control features

      Windows 2000:

      Automatic Update replaces the Critical Update Notification utility included in Windows 95, 98, 98 SE, and 2000. [Q294871] [Q312955] They check the Windows Update Web site. I recommend that you turn off automatic updating and update it manually to avoid bad updates. Select the option to Download the updates automatically and notify me when they are ready to be installed.

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    Set this at top of window. Configuration Options:

    • To avoid being prompted to look for and "insert Windows CD" each time you change a system component, copy your entire installation CD to a directory. Then make sure that your SourcePath HKLM\ SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\ Windows\ CurrentVersion\ Setup

    • Run setup /I to install Windows without automatic hardware detection.
    • To run Windows in safe mode (not Normal), press F5 while the system boots up. WIN /N
    • To prevent programs in the Startup folder from running on bootup, pressing the left shift key during boot-up.
    • For dual booting, MSDOS.SYS file should contain BootMulti=1, with hidden system files IO.DOS, MSDOS.DOS, COMMAND.DOS, and AUTOEXEC.DOS.
    • Windows permanent swap files are named SPART.PAR and SPART386.PAR. Temporary swap files are named WIN386.SWP.
    • The Windows 95 Startup disk allows lost or damaged system files on the HDD to be replaced.
    • GDI.EXE
    • EXTRACT.EXE extracts CAB files on a CD.
    • If the Recycle Bin is removed, Windows may need to be reinstalled.
    • To fix corrupted core files, Win95 setup needs to be run to "Verify in Safe Recovery".
    • PIF files define requirements for DOS programs running within Windows.
    • Windows will stop and not start if Virtual mode is disabled.
    • Windows icons are managed (created, modified, moved, deleted, etc.) by USER.EXE webpage article Programs Loaded upon startup in regedit keys:

        HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SOFTWARE \Microsoft \Windows \CurrentVersion \Run

        HKEY_CURRENT_USER \SOFTWARE \Microsoft \Windows \CurrentVersion \Run

      download Download Tweek UI

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    Set this at top of window. Drivers:

    Add Hardware drivers from manufacturer's diskettes/CD/website:   tool DLL Help Database tells you which Microsoft software installed a specific version of a DLL file name you specify. that ship with selected Microsoft products. Use it to debug version conflicts.

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