React OS is an open source operating system that acts as a drop in replacement for windows on older machines. For all intents and purposes React OS functions reasonably well. It isn’t Linux but uses WINE which is a windows compatibility layer that generally is found on Linux.
React not only uses but in fact bundles older browsers and programs for ease of use but is overall not a perfect replacement. It’s almost what you would expect from a nursing home laptop… except with better out of the box functionality? Like Windows 95 but it still works well enough to… tinker with.
As for Windows NT?
I’m literally shocked at how well it still works. I enjoy tinkering on old Operating systems and NT is still about 75% as good as it ever was. Sadly aside from an outdated Opera Browser and IE6 it doesn’t seem to like many modern programs. It only uses Direct X 3, but it’s entirely possible to find software that still works on it, even games.
Verdict “On a low powered system you should still try them in Virtualbox.”
Speed: Both systems are relatively quick to deploy and function with very low ram (63 Mb Ram up to 512Mb or possibly more.) 4.0 for each system.
Stability: Windows NT is considerably more stable once you add a more modern browser like Opera 9, React OS is almost as stable after proper configuration. NT 3.0 ReactOS 2.5.
Graphics: They both have pretty much identical drivers, ReactOS can support improved graphics. ReactOS 3.5 NT 3.0.
Summary: You can enjoy these as virtual systems, or on very old hardware. If you had to use one for daily use go with NT as it works better overall and can still do most of what you’ll want it to do. Try Clam AV as an antivirus on it since there really aren’t antivirus products for it due to it’s age.
*Tip – The Oracle Virtualbox console has a tab labeled “machine,” to log in to Windows NT you’ll need to click that tab and select “insert control alt delete” as pressing it on the host machine doesn’t actually work for your guest OS.
Windows NT can be found at winworldpc.com and ReactOS is available on Sourceforge – to get programs like Opera 9.6 etc onto NT, rather than battling with it’s browser simply download them on the host and create an iso using cd/dvd authoring software like brasero.
(Then mount the iso directly via devices tab under disks.)
ReactOS is definitely a better solution – they are updating rapidly and supporting new software every cycle!