Helen Custer Inside Windows NT

ISBN 13: 9781556154812

Inside Windows NT

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9781556154812: Inside Windows NT

Microsoft Windows NT is the foundation of the new 32-bit operating system designed to support the most powerful workstation and server systems. The initial developer support for Windows NT has been phenomenal--developers have demonstrated more than 50 Windows NT applications only months after receiving the pre-release version of the software. This authoritative text--by a member of the Windows NT development group--is a a richly detailed technical overview of the design goals and architecture of Windows NT. (Operating Systems)

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Review:

Beginning with broad NT concepts and then focusing sequentially on various key systems, Solomon dissects NT with a surgeon's care and a software engineer's thoroughness. That's not to say that this book is mainly about writing programs. Rather, this is the kind of guide that power users wish for, explaining why and how things happen and glossing over very little. Programmers will value the clear NT API hints.

Initially, the author talks about important NT tools (such as Performance Monitor) and concepts (such as the idea of virtual memory and how it's mapped). He illustrates all abstract concepts with excellent conceptual drawings that make it easier to comprehend what NT is doing. A chapter on NT's architecture explains how the system works as a whole. Later chapters focus on individual subsystems, providing extensive coverage of processes, memory, input/output, security, caches, and NT. After reading the chapter on memory management, for instance, you'll have a solid grasp of paging and the internal settings that affect it. The book also contains experiments that guide the reader through concept-illustrating procedures. For example, readers crash their machines to see and analyze the dump log--a valuable skill. --David Wall

Review:

A direct consequence of the relatively short time Windows NT has been in use in the industry is represented by the lack of punctual and accurate information about the internals of the system, as opposed to the abundance of texts treating higher level themes. The first edition of Inside Windows NT, written by Helen Custer of Microsoft and based on version 3.1 of the product, was indeed one of the best titles falling into the first category. From that solid ground David Solomon has jumped in, updated the contents, and also added a lot of new insights on those topics that characterize the latest releases of Windows NT. The result is not only an up-to-date reproposition of the former book -- it is a largely restructured and organically reorganized manual, whose focus is on Windows NT 4.0 with Service Pack 3. Frequent marginal notes and the entire final chapter also anticipate what to expect from the upcoming Windows NT 5.0.

After spending some pages delineating its target and introducing the basic elements that make up the foundation of NT, the book digs deeper and unveils the logic of most aspects of the system. Processes and threads, the mythical memory manager (whose vivisection turned out particularly well), the cache manager, the HAL (acronym for Hardware Abstraction Layer) and the Executive, kernel mode components, and security are just some of the myriad topics covered throughout the chapters. Things like GDI, USER, networking and COM are deliberately left out, as each of them would deserve an entire book. The level of detail is excellent, but I was just as impressed by the high degree of readability and, in general, by the ability of the author to follow a progressive approach in presenting new material without losing sight of the organic whole. The strength of this book’s educational aspect is a big upside considering the innate complexity of the subject, and renders Inside Windows NT an extraordinary candidate as a textbook in support of professional seminars and academic courses...Read more from this review. --Davide Marcato, Dr. Dobb's Journal -- Dr. Dobb's Journal

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Helen Custer
Published by Microsoft Press (1992)
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