Win2K SP1 Bug Status
We must be nearing the release of Windows 2000 Service Pack 2 (SP2) because my search for post-SP1 fixes returned a whopping 200 references—the maximum the Knowledge Base search engine delivers. Today, I discuss a few more known Win2K glitches, including an absurd FTP bug that overwrites a file instead of appending to it; a silent system hang that can occur when you enable object auditing; a Runas command failure; and an Index service search glitch. None of the bug fixes is available for public download, so be prepared to make a few more calls to Microsoft Support. I think we’re ready for a bug-free SP2, don’t you?

  • Win2K FTP misinterprets uppercased Append command. The Win2K FTP utility accepts commands with both uppercase and lowercase letters. However, you shouldn't use uppercase letters when you issue the Append command because the FTP utility will misinterpret it as a Put command, which overwrites instead of appending to the file. The bug fix is a new version of ftp.exe with a file release date of January 9. Microsoft article Q284746 documents this problem.
  • Win2K object auditing deadlocks system. When you audit objects, a locking bug in the audit code might cause a deadlock that hangs the system. This problem can be difficult to diagnose because the only symptom is a system lockup after you enable object auditing. The bug fix updates two files, ntkrnlmp.exe and ntkrnlpa.exe; both files have a release date of January 4. See Microsoft article Q263627 for details.
  • Win2K Runas failures. This bug applies specifically to Win2K SP1. The Runas command lets you run programs or scripts on behalf of another user, most commonly to initiate backups or to invoke a custom version of the Microsoft Management Console (MMC). According to Microsoft article Q272472, SP1 introduces a bug that prevents the Runas command from working correctly at a command prompt and in a script. If you use a user principal name (UPN), such as joe@mycompany.com, Runas responds with a Visual C++ Runtime Library error that cites an "abnormal program termination." If you run the same command with an ordinary username, such as joe, the command fails with the "abnormal program termination error" on a standalone Win2K system and with the message "Logon failure: unknown user name or bad password" on a domain controller (DC).

    The problem occurs when the Runas process attempts to translate a UPN or an ordinary username into the domain\username format. When the name translation fails, the username can't access the desktop, and the script or program can't start. You can work around the problem by avoiding the name-translation procedure: Always provide usernames in the domain\username format. The bug fix is a new version of advapi32.dll with a file release date of December 18.

  • Index service date string bug fix. The Index service contains a bug that incorrectly processes numeric search strings. The service expects the year field to contain four digits. When you enter a numeric string with more than four digits, the search routine incorrectly calculates the year and month for the search string. Microsoft article Q283163 states that the Index service component infosoft.dll checks whether the year has four digits. If the year has four digits, infosoft.dll leaves the year as it is. However, when the year contains more than four digits, infosoft.dll substitutes 0000 for the year value. You can recreate this bug by entering the search string Jan12345. You’ll see that matching errors cause the service to also return matches for Jan67890. Microsoft has corrected the problem in a new version of infosoft.dll with a release date of January 9.

Windows Me, Win9x: IE Reports Zero-Bit Cipher Strength
Does your current version of IE appear to have a cipher strength of zero-bits? Do you have trouble connecting to secure Web sites? If so, please be assured that you're not crazy. Apparently, these problems can arise in IE 4.0 through IE 5.5 when one or more key encryption files— schannel.dll, rsabase.dll, and rsaenh.dll—are missing or damaged, or when the file versions are incorrect. Microsoft article Q261328 documents steps you can take to install new versions of these files to restore IE functionality on your Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me) and Windows 9x machines.