Windows NT 4.0, codenamed Shell Release Update, is an operating system for PCs And Servers produced by Microsoft Corporation. He’s part of the Windows NT family.
Born: August 24th, 1996
Development Started: Late June/Early July 1995
Final Beta: July 31, 1996
Retired: December 31, 2006
Early Development (Beta 1 Phase)
On 30 May 1995, Windows NT 3.51 was released as an update to Windows NT 3.5. When Microsoft decided to make the next NT version based off the fast approaching Windows 95, Microsoft employees started work on the Shell Release Update project planned for release in 1996. The first 2 builds known to exist are builds 1096 & 1116. They are found in files of various Microsoft Documents and Emails from 1995. The earliest confirmed build is 1130 from September 1995 followed by build 1141 from October 1995, 1150, currently not leaked yet, 1166 from November 1995 and the first with the Windows NT 4.0 branding, 1175 from December 1995, and finally, builds 1227 & 1234 from January 1996 of which most elements were heading to Beta 2 but still not finished yet.
Later Development (Beta 2 Phase)
Beta 2 builds were very early in development but more complete than the Beta 1 builds. Starting in the Beta 2 line were builds 1249 & 1261, not leaked yet, builds 1264 & 1273 from March 1996, builds 1287 & 1293 from April 1996, build 1297, not leaked yet, and build 1314 from May 1996. These builds were about 5 to 3 months away from release making these builds very late in the development cycle.
Release Candidate Phase (RC1 & RC2)
These builds were very late in development but had minor changes to do before the OS could be launched. RC1 has 2 confirmed builds, they are build 1327 from May 1996 and 1345 from June 1996. Release Candidate 2 followed shortly after with build 1353 from June 1996 and build 1369 from July 1996.
By July 1996, Windows NT 4.0 had almost finished development. Build 1381, from July 1996, was going to be released soon, but the OG version was recalled due to a major bug that was found. The new 1381 was Released To Manufacturing on July 31, 1996 and Generally Available on the 1st Birthday of Windows 95, August 24, 1996.
When it was released, NT 4.0 received mostly positive reviews with critics praising the new UI improvements, but Microsoft wanted the system to be secure as possible. They released Service Pack 1 on October 16, 1996, Service Pack 2 on December 14, 1996, Service Pack 3 on May 15, 1997, Service Pack 4 on October 25, 1998, Service Pack 5 on May 4, 1999, and Service Pack 6 on October 27, 1999. There was an update to SP6 released on November 22, 1999 known as SP6a. There was an intension to make a 7th Service Pack but that was cancelled and instead replaced with a Post SP6a Security Rollup on July 26, 2001. This makes Windows NT 4.0 have the most Service Packs out of any Windows Version ever.
2002-2006 (Final Years of Service & Retirement)
Over the years Windows NT 4.0 was starting to loose traction in the Windows World. From 2004-2006 Windows NT 4.0 was starting to retire from service but Microsoft did offer people still using any version Paid updates until December 31, 2006. Finally, after a decade of service, Windows NT 4.0 decided to retire from service.