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In a blog entry at The Old New Thing, Raymond Chen states that Windows NT first started supporting the 603 and 604 series of PowerPC processors. Was there a specific firmware version which was needed to run Windows NT?

IBM released a number of PowerPC-based desktops after Windows NT had discontinued support for PowerPC processors. So could Windows NT4 theoretically run on things like the RS/6000 43P Model 150 (which was based on a 604e processor), or would some firmware limitation prevent this (assuming we ignore things like missing drivers for ancillary systems like Ethernet, sound etc)?

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In general, NT3.51 for PowerPC should run on all PReP machines (Specs) from IBM or Motorola (*1), as long as it features an ARC bootloader - that's why it won't come up on CHRP PowerPC Macs with Open Firmware, despite them being otherwise close enough. The first machine to support that was the PPC601 based IBM RS 6000/40p, also known as 7020 (IIRC).

NT 4 only supported PPC until Service Pack 2. I'm not sure about the RS/6000 43P, as at least some of them had Open Firmware instead. Since ARC itself was loadable from disk, it may be worth a try.

Resources to check:


*1 - Maybe others as well as there were several manufacturers joining them.

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    "NT 4 only supported PPC until Service Pack 2" – Rumors are that IBM maintained the port through Windows 2000 and XP all the way to most of Longhorn/Vista, which is how they were able to get the Xbox 360 up and running fairly quickly. I talked to an IBM guy around the mid-2000s and he "neither confirmed nor denied" that they were running Windows and macOS (still called MacOS X back then) on PowerPC in Rochester for fun. They may or may not also have ported Windows to the PlayStation 3 and MacOS X to both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Jul 29, 2023 at 7:59
  • @JörgWMittag Cool. Nice to get confirmation. Quite believable. Above is about official MS support which endet with SP2 (just checked).
    – Raffzahn
    Jul 29, 2023 at 12:19
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    Generally, 'supported' and 'works' are orthogonal concepts. Although in the case of NT, if they aren't shipping discs with PPC bits, the question of support is moot, since customers can't get it anyway.
    – dave
    Jul 29, 2023 at 14:10

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