After receiving:

Microsoft (R) Windows NT (TM) Version 4.0 (Build 1381)
2 System Processor (128 MB Memory)

the dots indicate progress as the Kernel:

· Initializes the low-level device drivers that were loaded in the previous phase.
· Loads and initializes other device drivers.
· Runs programs, such as Chkdsk, that need to be run before any services are loaded.
· Loads and initializes services.
· Creates the page file.
· Starts subsystems that are needed to run Windows NT.