Win2K SP2 News
As several readers have pointed out, my description of the Windows 2000 Service Pack 2 (SP2) download in last week's column was inaccurate. I mistakenly reported that the w2ksp2.exe download file works only when you install a new Win2K system. After further examination, I discovered that the download supports three types of upgrades: a traditional upgrade from an earlier version of Win2K, a slipstream Win2K SP2 installation on a new system, and a combination installation that builds an image containing Win2K SP2 and combined hotfixes and custom drivers specific to your hardware configuration.

The traditional upgrade runs the Update utility and asks whether you want to create an uninstall directory. You initiate a local service pack upgrade by double-clicking the download file on either a local or a network drive. You can also expand the service pack before you place it on a network drive and manually start the upgrade by double-clicking update.exe.

Microsoft introduced the term "integrated installation" to indicate that w2ksp2.exe supports a slipstream installation of Win2K that includes all the SP2 updates. The slipstream installation lets you install the OS and the service pack in one operation, instead of installing the OS first and then upgrading to SP2.

The combination installation lets you build an installation directory that contains the slipstream files and additional hotfixes, driver updates, and custom files specific to your hardware environment.

As of May 18, downloads and Express installations are available for English and German versions only. The Express option initiates an interactive upgrade from the SP2 Web site. This option updates components specific to the platform that the connected system runs. If you're updating just one system, the Express option is probably faster and requires less disk space than downloading and installing the 105MB file. Most of us will need to download the SP2 Network Installation, which contains updates for all Win2K platforms.

Regardless of the installation method you select, make sure that you disable any antivirus software before you start the upgrade. Otherwise, the virus scanner might incorrectly report that an installation file contains a virus, which will stop the upgrade. If you have to install SP2 twice, (e.g. SP2 doesn’t install correctly the first time or you repair an SP2 system with an Emergency Repair Disk—ERD), choose No the second time Setup asks whether you want to create an uninstall directory. If you choose Yes, Setup will overwrite files from the previous version with SP2 files from your first SP2 upgrade attempt, and you won't be able to revert to the previous version. To see a list of the files that SP2 installs, look at the log file svcpack.log in the system root after you complete the upgrade.

Go to the Microsoft Web site to visit the Win2K SP2 home page. To select the language version you want to download, see the Microsoft Web site.

A Win2K SP2 Bug-Fix List
Windows 2000 Service Pack 2 (SP2) corrects a bundle of known problems but doesn’t introduce any new features to the OS. Four Microsoft articles itemize code fixes to six areas of the OS. Microsoft article Q282522 contains a description of updates related to application compatibility, the base OS, and directory services. Microsoft article Q282524 contains information about updates to Microsoft IIS; mail, management, and administration utilities; Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC); and Microsoft Message Queue Services (MSMQ). Microsoft article Q282525 describes all code fixes for networking and printing. Microsoft article Q298193 contains a list of all the security hotfixes SP2 installs, as well as code fixes for Setup, the Shell, and Win2K Server Terminal Services.

Known Win2K SP2 Issues
Windows 2000 Service Pack 2 (SP2) updates Win2K to 128-bit encryption. If you remove SP2, the system remains a high-encryption version. However, SP2 doesn't upgrade the Protected Store to high encryption—you must install security hotfix MS00-032 to upgrade this component. Download this hotfix from the Microsoft Web site.

SP2 doesn't always remove the SP1 entry from the Control Panel Add/Remove Programs applet even after a successful upgrade. You can manually remove this entry by editing the registry.

Several SP2 DHCP server patches require that you manually edit the registry to activate the SP2 functionality. See Microsoft article Q297847 for more information.

If you upgrade from Internet Explorer (IE) 5.5 to IE 6.0 on a Win2K SP2 system, SP2 no longer appears in the Control Panel Add/Remove Programs applet. If you reapply SP2 after upgrading to IE 6.0, SP2 reappears and IE 6.0 disappears.

SP2 Disk Space Requirements
For Windows 2000 Professional, you need a minimum of 340MB of free hard disk space to install Service Pack 2 (SP2) from a network distribution share and 710MB of free space when you perform either an Express installation from the SP2 Web site or a local installation from the download file or an SP2 CD-ROM. The uninstall directory requires a minimum of 250MB of free space for a new installation and 380MB when you upgrade from SP1.

For Win2K Server and Win2K Advanced Server, you need a minimum of 415MB of free space to install SP2 from a network distribution share and 830MB to perform a Web-based Express installation or a local installation using the download file or the SP2 CD-ROM. The uninstall directory requires a minimum of 315MB of free space and 460MB on a system that you upgrade from SP1.

The Update utility command-line option –n disables the creation of an uninstall directory. You’ll save 250MB to 460MB of hard disk space if you don't create the uninstall directory. Remember when we thought a 500MB hard disk was really big?

Reinstalling SP2
You typically don't have to reinstall Windows 2000 Service Pack 2 (SP2) after you add or remove OS components or services. SP2 adds a second driver cabinet file that contains all drivers Microsoft has modified since SP1. When you upgrade to SP2, the upgrade automatically updates all loaded drivers. If you subsequently add a new hardware device, Win2K searches for the device driver in the updated driver catalog sp2.cab and installs the current version if one is available. If sp2.cab doesn't contain the correct driver, Win2K installs the driver from the original driver.cab file.