Yes, NT can break and leave you high and dry. Here I will present different problems that I have encountered.
Problem: NT crashes with a blue screen all the time. What is causing it and how do I fix it?
First you need to know what causes the blue screen, and how to read it. Here is a list of the most common "stop" errors that I have seen:
I think the most common one is the first one, IRQL, this is caused by either a resource conflict, or a software problem, which means that it can be hard to find! The first thing to do is to install the latest service pack to make sure you get rid of all the Microsoft bugs. Check to see if there is a newer bios version for your motherboard. Prior to SP3, there were a lot of bugs that could crash NT, especially with IIS, if you are using it. Back to the hardware, if you are using non-standard hardware that isn't really supported by NT, get rid of it. Check your memory, on older motherboards, mixing and matching different memory SIMMs could cause problems under any OS.
The KMODE_EXCEPTION is one that I don't think there is much you can do. Like I said, make sure you have the latest service pack, if you added or changed items to your system, especially in the network setup that required you to supply the CD-ROM for the files since you installed the service pack, you must re-install it.
NTFS_FILE_SYSTEM is more rare. The service pack fixed most of the things that can cause it. The last time I had it happen was when I installed Frontpage 98, it defaulted to the "Program files" directory, and it created it, but then I decided to install it elsewhere, so I went back to the screen to change it, I went in the explorer and deleted the empty directory it had created, but when I went back to the setup program, I click next by accident, and it crashed right out, probably because the program thought that directory existed still. This is the kind of thing that can cause it.
INACCESSABLE_BOOT_DEVICE breaks down like this: this only happens when NT is loading, very often while you are trying to install NT, not just suddenly. The boot loader (ntldr) can load the images for the operating system, such as the kernel, boot time drivers, and codepage stuff. This all happens while the system is running is a "Real-mode" or true 16-bit mode, and it is not being handled by the kernel. Then the kernel is initialized, it shows the blue screen that says "Microsoft Windows NT 4.00 (build 1381:service pack 3)..." and now all disk action goes through the kernel. But what if the driver for the hard drive controller is missing or wrong, or the settings are incorrect? The kernel can't access the disk, and you get the INACCESSABLE BOOT DEVICE." This can only be solved by re-installing NT or doing an RDISK.
Keep in mind that any blue screen occurs when an unresolved error occurs within the kernel itself. This could be something like a process attempting to read within the non-paged kernel data which is not allowed, and the crash occurs. I once read in an article on the Microsoft web site that "the blue screen usually brings a feeling of despair to the user."
Many, Many problems can happen with the network. Here are a few examples.
In the event log, there are errors saying that the master browser is forcing an election. What does this mean? As long as the error is not a stop sign, it is mealy informing you that there is another NT server in the Workgroup/domain that is running a browser. They will fight and one will win and that server will be the master browser.
I can't see any or another machine on the network.
This can be many problems. Check everything physical, cables and what not. The problem can be related to any of the following:
Unable to resolve the machine name
You are looking in the wrong workgroup for the machine
There is a mismatch in the protocols between the machines
Make sure that they are running at least one of the same protocols. If the one is TCP/IP, make sure that there is a WINS server configured so that names can be resolved. If there is no FILE/PRINT sharing on the Win95 workstation, it will not show up. Enable it to see it.
I will try to add as many as I can. Here are a few that I have experienced.
Two Network cards in one machine connected to the same network
This can cause problems with many things, so you need to know what is happening. This is caused by NetBEUI, the non-routable protocol. It makes a broadcast to register it's name on the network, but if there are two cards, it will see itself and then report that the computer name already exists on the network. If you are using other protocols, such as TCP/IP or IPX/SPX, having NetBEUI on both adapters is not necessary. Go into the network setup and click on the bindings tab. Then expand the NetBIOS interface, the Server and Workstation. Under there it shows NetBEUI, and under there it shows the adapters it is bound to. In all three of the main services, disable NetBEUI on one of the cards, they should be all the same card that you disable them on. Close and restart the machine and the problem should go away.