Rapidly solidified ribbons of nanocrystal-forming Zr–Cu–Pd–Al metallic glasses were prepared at various liquid temperatures (TL). Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) traces show clearly the influence of the liquid states on the thermal properties and crystallization process. Namely, with increasing TL, the exothermal peaks of the DSC traces shift to higher temperatures, the super-cooled-liquid region ΔTx increases, and the decomposition of the metastable compound Zr2(Cu, Pd) becomes more difficult. These results suggest that the liquid state strongly controls the crystallization process of the nanocrystal-forming metallic glasses. This behavior may originate from the variation of the quenched-in nuclei, which highly depends on the short-range-order domains in liquid with different TL. We suggest that the stronger attractive interaction in Zr–Pd, which exhibits large negative mixing enthalpy, leads to the short-range order domains. © 1999 American Institute of Physics.