This week, I discuss some problems and unexpected results people have experienced after upgrading systems to Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 (SP4). Although many upgrade problems are related to a system's hardware and software configuration, the problems I describe here are common to many upgrade paths. As a quick reminder, if you suddenly experience problems with an application that relies on a third-party service, you might need to give the service account one or both of the new security rights I discussed in my July 8 column (http://www.winnetmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=39534). On the home front, I upgraded several systems to Win2K SP4, including a couple of Win2K servers running firewall software, a VPN server, an application server running Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 and Microsoft IIS, and a system with a clean (empty) hard disk. Every installation ran successfully, and no obvious problems have surfaced during the past 2 weeks. However, as you well know, your mileage might vary. I’ve read numerous anecdotal accounts of setup problems, 100 percent CPU usage, performance slowdowns with network card drivers (specifically, the 3Com 3C905B NIC), and complaints of slow logons after an SP4 upgrade. If you'd like to share your experiences with SP4, let us know what works and what doesn’t. Your stories will be most helpful to others if you include some basic configuration information or the name, type, or model of a specific device that doesn’t work with SP4. Send your stories to email@example.com, and I’ll pass them to readers in the next few weeks.
Here’s the current laundry list of SP4 concerns—most are documented, and some are anecdotal. The first two discuss third-party product problems, and the rest apply specifically to Win2K components and services.
Symantec products. SP4 is incompatible with several earlier Symantec Norton products, including Norton Internet Security 2001, Norton Personal Firewall 2001, and possibly Norton SystemWorks 2001. I couldn’t find any reference to SP4 hotfixes for these products at Symantec’s Web site (http://www.symantec.com). I suspect you’ll need to upgrade to a later version if you want to take advantage of SP4. To learn more about this problem, read the Microsoft article "Internet Explorer Times Out While It Loads Web Pages If Norton Internet Security 2001 or Norton Personal Firewall 2001 Is Installed” (http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=823087).
Captaris products. One reader reports receiving an email message from Captaris, the maker of RightFax and CallXpress software, stating that SP4 is incompatible with RightFax. According to the vendor, you'll encounter problems with the RightFax Enterprise Fax Manager if you upgrade either a RightFax server or a system running a RightFax client to SP4. According to this reader, the vendor is working on a hotfix to solve the problem, but I couldn’t find a reference to an SP4 update on the Captaris Web site (http://www.captaris.com). If you run either of these products, I suggest you contact the vendor for more information before you upgrade your systems. When you get some useful information about SP4 compatibility, please pass it my direction.
IIS. An SP4 upgrade on a running IIS server might fail—perhaps because running services defer file replacement until after a reboot. Your best chance of keeping a Web server functional is to stop all running IIS services before you start the upgrade.
Automatic Updates and SUS. SP4 enables the Automatic Updates client, even if you've disabled the client before the upgrade. SP4 also resets a local Microsoft Software Update Services (SUS) server to access Windows Update, even though the SUS server points to an internal system before the upgrade. Be prepared to disable the update client or reconfigure your internal SUS server after the system reboots.
Microsoft NetMeeting. SP4 removes NetMeeting settings. If you use this tool, you’ll need to reconfigure it after the system reboots.
SCSI drivers. SP4 updates several SCSI drivers with the later versions contained in the service pack distribution. If the SP4 version isn't compatible with the installed card, you might need to install an earlier, possibly third-party, driver version.
RRAS upgrade errors. After you upgrade a Win2K system with SP4, you might encounter RRAS errors even if you haven't configured RRAS or dial-up connections. During an upgrade, setup immediately replaces all files that aren't in use and stages file replacement for open files during the next system restart. When RRAS or dial-up connections aren't active, the corresponding files aren't open, which lets setup replace the files immediately. The mismatch between the old and new files might generate one or more error messages from RRAS (event ID 20071 or 20151), Rasman (event ID 20063), Rasctrs (event ID 2001), or the Service Control Manager (SCM—event ID 7023). The mismatch between cached files and the SP4 versions might also cause dial-up connections to temporarily disappear. According to Microsoft, you can safely ignore these messages—they should disappear after you reboot the system. For more information about this problem, see the Microsoft article "Several Remote Access Service Error Events Appear After You Upgrade to Windows 2000 Service Pack 4" (http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=823405).
Batch Job Accounts Disappear
According to the Microsoft article "Scheduled Tasks No Longer Run When You Remove Windows 2000 Service Pack 4" (http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=823441), after you reboot an SP4 system, the system reformats the account credentials database. For example, suppose you install SP4 on a system that runs several batch jobs. If you later remove SP4, Task Scheduler loses the account credentials associated with each job, which means scheduled jobs can't log on successfully. If this happens, look at Task Scheduler’s log file, %systemroot%\schedlgu.txt. If you see the message 0x8004130f: No account information could be found in the Task Scheduler security database for the task indicated, you can eliminate the problem by rescheduling the jobs with the correct username and password.