Lesson 3: Microsoft Network Operating Systems

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In this lesson, we look at a network operating system that integrates the computer operating system with the NOS. This lesson introduces you to Microsoft Windows NT.

After this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Identify a Windows NT operating system.
  • Describe some of the features of Windows NT.

Estimated lesson time: 20 minutes

Introduction to Windows NT

Unlike the NetWare operating system, Windows NT combines the computer and network operating system in one. Windows NT Server configures a computer to provide server functions and resources to a network, and Windows NT Workstation provides the client functions of the network.

Windows NT operates on a domain model. A domain is a collection of computers that share a common database and security policy. Each domain has a unique name. Within each domain, one server must be designated as the Primary Domain Controller (PDC). This server maintains the directory services and authenticates any users that log on. The Windows NT directory services can be implemented in various ways by using the account and security database.

There are four different domain models to choose from.

  • Single-domain A single server maintains the security and accounts database.
  • Single-master A single master network may have several domains, but one is designated as the master and maintains the user-accounts database.
  • Multiple-master A multiple master network includes several domains, but the accounts database is maintained on more than one server. This model is designated for very large organizations.
  • Complete-trust A "complete trust" means there are several domains, but no single domain is designated as a master. All domains completely trust each other.

Run the c04dem02, c04dem03, c04dem04, c04dem05, and c04dem06 videos located in the Demos folder on the CD accompanying this book to view an illustrated overview of a domain-model NOS.

Windows NT Services

The following services are among the most important services Windows NT Server and Workstation provide to a network:

File Services

There are two approaches to sharing files on a Windows NT network. The first is based on simple file sharing, as on a peer-to-peer network. Any workstation or server can publicly share a directory to the network and set the attributes of the data (No Access, Read, Change, or Full Control). One big difference between Windows NT and Windows 95 and 98 operating systems is that in order to share a Windows NT resource, you must have administrative privileges. The next level of sharing takes full advantage of Windows NT's security features. You can assign directory-level and file-level permissions. This allows you to restrict access to specified individuals or groups. In order to take advantage of the more advanced file sharing, you will need to use the Windows NT file system (NTFS). During installation of Windows NT, you can choose between NTFS or a 16-bit FAT (MS-DOS) file system. You can install both systems on different hard drives or on different partitions of a single hard drive, but when the computer is running in MS-DOS mode, the NTFS directories will be unavailable. Any client not using NTFS can share to the network, but is limited to public sharing and cannot take advantage of the security features of NTFS.

Windows 95, version C, and Window 98 use a 32-bit file allocation table (FAT) file system. Windows NT is not compatible with 32-bit FAT. Windows NT cannot be installed on a 32-bit FAT system and will not recognize any files existing on a 32-bit FAT partition.


Like any major NOS, Windows NT provides security for any resource on the network. A Windows NT network domain server maintains all the account records, and manages permissions and user rights. In order to access any resource on the network, a user must have rights to complete a task and the permission to use the resource.


In a Windows NT network, any client or server can function as a print server. By sharing a printer to the network, it becomes available to anyone on the network (subject to the rules of sharing). When installing a printer, you will first be asked whether or not the printer will be designated as a local printer (My Computer) or a network printer. If you choose the network printer, a dialog box will appear, listing all the available network printers. All you need to do is select the one you want to use. Remember that you can install more than one printer to a machine. Also, if you are installing a local printer, you will be asked if you want to share the printer to the network for others to use.

Network Services

Windows NT provides several services to help facilitate a smooth-running network. The following list summarizes these services:

  • Messenger Service Monitors the network and receives pop-up messages for you.
  • Alerter Service Sends notifications that are received by the messenger service.
  • Browser Service Provides a list of servers available on domains and workgroups.
  • Workstation Service Runs on a workstation and is responsible for connections to servers. This is also referred to as the redirector.
  • Server Service Provides network access to the resources on a computer.


The NWLink network protocol is designed to make Windows NT compatible with NetWare. (Protocols are discussed in detail in Chapter 6, "Defining Network Protocols.") The following NetWare services are available:

  • Gateway Services for NetWare (GSNW) All Windows NT clients within a domain must contact a NetWare server through a single source. GSNW provides the gateway connection between a Windows NT domain and a NetWare server. This works well for low-volume situations but will cause a decrease in performance as the number of requests increases.
  • Client Services for NetWare (CSNW) This service enables a Windows NT Workstation to access file and print services on a NetWare server. It is included as part of GSNW.
  • File and Print Service for NetWare (FPNW) This utility allows NetWare clients to access Windows NT file and print services. This is not a part of the Windows NT package and must be purchased separately.
  • Directory Service Manager for NetWare (DSMN) This add-on utility integrates NetWare and Windows NT user and group account information. This is not a part of the Windows NT package and must be purchased separately.
  • Migration Tool for NetWare This tool is used by administrators who are converting from NetWare to Windows NT. It sends a NetWare server's account information to a Windows NT domain controller.

Lesson Checkup

  1. In Windows NT networking, a ______________ is a collection of computers that share a common database and security policy.
  2. Each Windows NT domain has one ______________ ______________ _________________.
  3. Windows NT can provide directory- and file-level sharing on an _______ disk partition, but only directory-level sharing on a 16-bit _______ disk partition.
  4. To set sharing on a Windows NT computer you must have _______________ privileges.
  5. NWLink is a network protocol that helps Windows NT and NetWare ____________________.
  6. On a Windows NT network, any client or server can function as a print _______________.


Lesson Summary

The following points summarize the main elements of this lesson:

  • Windows NT is Microsoft's network operating system.
  • Windows NT incorporates both the computer and the network operating system into one.
  • Windows NT Server is the server module of the network.
  • Windows NT Workstation is the client module of the network.
  • Windows NT networks are designed to take advantage of the domain model in which all computers share a common security database. This information is stored on a server that is designated as the domain controller. Windows Server and Workstation will operate as part of a peer-to-peer network (share model), but you will not be able to take advantage of the additional security features provided in the domain model.
  • Windows NT provides several utilities to provide interoperability between NetWare and Windows NT.

MCSE Training Kit Networking Essentials Plus 1999
MCSE Training Kit: Networking Essentials Plus, Third Edition (IT Professional)
ISBN: 157231902X
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 106

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