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Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Internet Explorer 2

After installing Windows NT 4 on my Digital Personal Workstation 433a and realizing I was going to be browsing the web on it with Internet Explorer 2.0, I started the arduous process of updating my installation to more recent versions of software.

First thing I did was install Service Pack 6 for Windows NT 4. Remembering back in the day on my Pentium how unstable NT 4 was pre-service pack 3, I figured this would be the best first step.

Having couldn't find Service Pack 6 for Windows NT 4 on Microsoft's website, I figured I would make the file available locally here.

After downloading SP6, click the Accept checkbox and then Install:

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Windows NT 4 SP6

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Windows NT 4 SP6 Installing

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Windows NT 4 SP6 Finshed

Roughly five minutes later, click the Restart button and upon rebooting, the startup screen reflects the update:

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Windows NT 4 SP6

Next up, I wanted to update Internet Explorer to the latest available which happens to be version 5. Like Service Pack 6, it was an effort in a half to find Internet Explorer 5 for NT4 Alpha. To make it easier for folks, you can download it here.

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Windows NT 4 Internet Explorer 5 installed

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Windows NT 4 Internet Explorer 5 installed

After extraction and installation, I was pleasantly surprised at how fast the browser was. After attempting to browse the internet with Firefox 3 on my "faster" Quad 700mhz Silicon Graphics Tezro, it was refreshing and a confirmation that web browsing on IRIX definitely needs to be readdressed at some point as I briefly discussed in my Cloud Based Web Rendering? post back in January 2012.

What's next? Getting Visual Studio 6 installed and diving into FX!32.
Continuing from my post on Wednesday night where I detailed the insides of my Digital Personal Workstation 433a, in this post I'll detail Windows NT 4 being installed on it.

For those unaware, you can use a regular Windows NT 4 Workstation or Server CD. On the CD there is also PPC and MIPS versions of the OS, though I do not know the exact models that are supported on those platforms.

A prerequisite to installing Windows NT 4 on the Personal Workstation is to download and extract the HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) for the PWS to a floppy disk. Like many more than likely, I did not have a floppy disk drive handy. Fortunately USB floppy drives are only about $10 as of the time of this writing on Amazon, I picked up this External USB Floppy Drive for $11.25 shipped. In addition you'll need at least 1 3.5" floppy disk. Sometime in 1999 or 2000, I cleaned out my stock pile of floppy disks, but thankfully Amazon also had a 10 pack of Verbatim 3.5" floppy disks.

Once you have a floppy disk in hand, I've locally hosted the HAL you'll need in case Compaq/HP stops hosting it. You can download it here. Simply extract it to the floppy disk after download.

Diverging a bit, I was able to pull an ELSA GLoria Synergy from my DS20E AlphaServer. This card is a 3DLabs Permedia 2 8mb PCI Video Card that can do up to 1920x1200 @ 16BPP. A huge upgrade over the Diamond Stealth 64 2001 (1mb) PCI Video Card that came in my PWS. On an interesting side note, when the PWS 433a debuted in 1996, I was also running a Diamond Stealth 64 2001 in my 75mhz Pentium and 3 summers later in 1999 I was running a Diamond FireGL 1000 Pro (3DLabs Permedia 2) along with a Diamond Monster 3D II (12mb version). I find it funny my little desktop, several factors cheaper at the same time frame had the same graphics card. You would have thought Digital would have put a higher end graphics card in their "workstation" than a S3 Trio 64 based card.

With the Windows NT 4 CD and HAL floppy disk in hand, simply insert the CD and in the AlphaBIOS select Install Windows NT.

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Windows NT 4 Initial Setup Screen

After a few moments you'll be presented with a computer type selection:

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Windows NT 4 Computer Type Selection

Select Other and insert the HAL Floppy disk you made earlier and upon loading select Digital Personal Workstation 433a, 500a, 600:
Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Windows NT 4 HAL Selection

After that the setup continued and upon reboot, booted into the GUI portion of the setup:
Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Windows NT 4 Setup 1

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Windows NT 4 Setup 2

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Windows NT 4 Setup 3

I chose to hold off configuring the Ethernet Adapter during the initial setup because I wasn't sure what model was actually built into my PWS 433a. For those curious, my 433a had a DEC PCI Ethernet DC21142. I don't have the MiataGL revised motherboard so this may not be the correct model for you (if you had USB ports you have the MiataGL variant.

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Windows NT 4 Setup 4

I proceeded through the rest of the setup essentially just clicking next.

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Windows NT 4 Setup 5

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Windows NT 4 Setup 6

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Windows NT 4 Setup 7

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Windows NT 4 Setup 8

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Windows NT 4 Setup 9

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Windows NT 4 Setup 10

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Windows NT 4 SP1 First Boot

After the reboot, Windows NT 4 converted the boot partition to NTFS and afterwards I was presented with the expected login screen:

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Windows NT 4 NTFS Boot

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Windows NT 4 Logon

After logging in you are presented with the usual "Welcome" screen, but for those unfamiliar with Windows NT 4:
Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Windows NT 4 Welcome Screen

Remembering from the installation that the graphics driver for my ELSA GLoria Synergy was not bundled with NT4 for Alpha, I did some searching on the Internet and fortunately was able to find the driver. I've locally hosted the file, here to make it easier to get going. After a reboot I was presented with a 640x480x16bpp resolution instead of the 640x480x8bpp without the driver:
Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Windows NT 4 with the ELSA GLoria driver installed

What's next? Getting Service Pack 6, Internet Explorer 5, Visual Studio 6 and FX!32 installed so I can begin porting jcBENCH with native Alpha/NT binaries.
A while back I received a Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) Personal Workstation 433a and finally had some time to get it up and running. For those that are unaware, the 433a has a 433mhz Alpha 21164A (EV56) that is capable of running Windows NT 4 and with the right bios can run OpenVMS. The 433au model has the OpenVMS capable bios out of the box. I am not familiar with the process, but from what I gather it isn't terribly difficult.

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Front View

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Rear View

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Inside View

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Mainboard

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Mainboard (Back)

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Mainboard Inside

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - RAM Slots

Digital Personal Workstation 433a -Diamond Stealth 64 (S3 Trio64) Video Card

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - 32mb PC100 ECC SDRAM Stick

Being enamored by the prospect of running Windows NT 4 on a non-x86 system and being my favorite operating system, I jumped at the chance of getting it on the 433a.

Microsoft Windows NT 4 Workstation

Unfortunately, the 433a came without a hard drive and being from 1996, there is no SATA support only EIDE and with the right card Ultra Wide 2 SCSI. Not having any spare Ultra 320 SCSI drives, I used a SATA -> PATA adapter on a 500gb Hitachi SATA II laptop drive I had laying around. Knowing this would technically limit it to 16mb/sec outside of Disk <-> Buffer operations, I was intrigued about the performance versus putting a "slower" Ultra 320 SCSI drive like a Maxtor Atlas 15k II drive and attaching it to a Ultra Wide 2 SCSI adapter that has a 80mb/sec bandwidth. One day I will pop a U320 drive and compare the disk results.

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - SATA -> PATA Adapter

During shipment the mainboard came loose from the PCI looking connector that it connects to, if you receive a PWS that fails to power on - ensure it is fully connected.

After reseating the mainboard I was greeted with the startup logo:

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - BIOS Image

I entered the "BIOS" and was presented with a very "PC" like screen that I wasn't expecting:

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - System Information

Knowing that the Windows 8 NTFS partitions would be unrecognizable most likely by the Alpha, I proceeded to the Disk Setup and reconfigured the drive with the express setup:

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Express Setup

Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Hard Drive Partitions

Fortunately, the "express" setup was very easy, it configured the drive for use with Windows NT in mind with no manual configuration needed outside of creating a second partition to fill out the remaining space on the hard drive.

After exiting the "bios": Digital Personal Workstation 433a - Bios Boot

In the next post, I'll detail the Windows NT 4 Workstation and subsequent updates required.