This program cannot be installed on Windows NT version: why?

You might spot a message “This program cannot be installed on Windows NT version x.xx or later,” when you attempt to install certain applications in Windows computers. It, by and large, signifies the incompatibility of old software programs with latest editions of Windows. So, if you want to run an unstable app in a PC by some means, you first have to determine the Windows version for it is written: thankfully, we can retrieve it by analyzing the NT marking recorded in error reports generated by those apps, that they produce after a failed installation.


Software not compatible with Windows NT

What is Windows NT version?

In the early 90s, Microsoft oversaw the demand for an alternative to the then popular DOS based Windows operating systems. The perspective was a more stable, secure OS that can operate on latest hardware, and support multi-user networking applications. Microsoft also wanted Windows to work on more processor architectures, and make it 32-bit compatible. Soon a decision was taken to develop a modern OS from the scratch and to phase-out, the existing Windows technologies as the new platform involves: this marked the beginning Windows NT. The Windows NT is completely a fresh OS written from the ground-level using C/C++. Microsoft chose the GUI of the OS to be same as the DOS based Windows 3.1, which enjoyed a good market share at that time. Here, NT stands for New Technologies that were introduced in the latest operating system. Microsoft kept the Windows and 3.xx naming to the NT series for marketing reasons, and the first build Windows 3.1 NT was exclusively released in 1992 for server, scientific and commercial usage. The company continued launching more operating systems in DOS platform for personal desktops under Windows 4, 95, 98, and ME brands, and each time, there was an NT variant shipping along with it.

The strategy for OS upgrades remained the same until 2001 when Microsoft fully switched to the NT Kernel with the release of Windows XP. It was schemed to avoid any confusing naming convention in the future and concentrate on one Windows Brand. Since then the NT version of each Windows edition remains as an internal code name, and the general public are not being told about this. Have a look at the following table to know about all the Windows editions and the NT version naming attached to them.

Windows Version                   Windows NT edition.
Windows 3.1                                         Windows NT 3.1
Windows 95                                         Windows NT 4.0
Windows 98                                         Windows NT 4.1
Windows ME                                        Windows NT 4.9
Windows 2000 professional-            Windows NT 5.0
…………………………………… Microsoft completely shifts to Windows NT technology
Windows Edition-                         Internal NT code name.
Windows XP-                                             Windows NT 5.1
Windows XP 64-bit  (Srever 2003)       Windows NT 5.2
Windows Vista-                                         Windows NT 6.0
SP1-                                                                  Windows NT 6.0.6001
SP2-                                                                  Windows NT 6.0.6002
Windows 7 -                                              Windows NT 6.1
SP1                                                                  Windows NT 6.1.7601
Windows 8 -                                             Windows NT 6.2
Windows 8.1                                             Windows NT 6.3

Note: If you’re a webmaster, you can utilize this list to track down the Windows edition used by your web visitors. Look for the user-agent log files from cPanel, that have the NT information.

Method to a install a Software Program when it is not compatible with a Windows version.

Windows NT nomenclature is not widely used in these days. However, if you know about this classification, you can easily detect and fix certain software related errors in a PC. For example, if a program outputs an error message “Software not compatible with Windows NT version 6.0 or later,” it means that the app in question is designed for Windows XP or a previous edition of the OS. Just equate the error report that you get to the chart given above and recognize the correct Windows edition it is meant for; after this, you would be able to perform any repairs very easily. Sometimes installing a Service Pack would solve it, but you would have to re-install the whole OS in some other situations. You may also try the Windows compatibility mode explained in the following video in such cases.


Security software and Graphics-intensive apps are pre-programmed to use some exclusive and core OS level features. The compatibility mode would enable these apps to run on newer Windows NT versions, but they may not work in a proper way, largely owing to the unavailability of necessary APIs and components in the incompatible OS.