What Happened to the Win2K Post-SP2 Hotfix List?
Several months ago, I shared a link to the page where Microsoft had posted a comprehensive list of Windows 2000 post-Service Pack 2 (SP2) code fixes. Apparently, whoever maintained the page has resigned because no one has updated this essential resource since August 13. I realize that Microsoft is engaged in a frenzied effort to promote Windows XP, but a new product announcement shouldn't preclude the company from informing its existing customer base of new and important code fixes. I can’t imagine any rational justification for why this valuable service has gone into the bit-bucket.

Predictably, a search for pre-SP3 fixes returned the maximum 200 results, so the post-SP2 page is obviously hopelessly out of date. Read on to learn about some more recent post-SP2 updates, all of which are available only from Microsoft Support Services (MSS).

RAID I/O Performance Degradation
The following problem is more likely to occur on RAID drives than on traditional drives. Under certain conditions, a system might experience a slow but steady decline in I/O performance. However, if you reboot the system, I/O subsystem performance returns to normal. The Classpnp driver that monitors disk performance tracks errors that lower-level disk drivers return. When the errors reach a certain threshold, the driver progressively disables performance features on the disk to reduce or eliminate error conditions.

The Classpnp driver throttles back performance features when certain errors occur four times, regardless of whether the errors are transient or permanent. After the error conditions occur four times, the driver permanently disables performance features in an attempt to reduce the I/O rate and the frequency of errors. When errors are erratic or inconsistent, the driver’s actions result in a slowdown of RAID drives that persists until you reboot. The inability of the driver to dynamically re-enable the performance features (in response to a reduction in errors), can slow I/O performance on computers that experience few disk errors but remain online for long periods of time.

If you’re interested in the nitty-gritty details of SCSI operation, see Microsoft article Q263939 for a list of the error conditions, error counters, and values that the Classpnp driver consults before it throttles back performance. If you’re running RAID systems, you should consider installing the hotfix that lets the driver dynamically re-enable performance features without a reboot. The update contains seven files: cdrom.sys, classpnp.sys, disksys, scsikd.dll, scsiprnt.sys, sfloppy.sys, and tape.sys. The files have a release date of September 11. Call Microsoft Support Services (MSS) for the update.

Blue Screen at Logoff
A mystery bug in Windows 2000's graphic subsystem might cause the OS to crash and display a stop code of "1E" from win32k.sys when you log off. Microsoft article Q304556 doesn't explain much about this problem, but Microsoft Support Services (MSS) does have a bug fix. The update comprises eight kernel files—gdi32.dll, kernel32.dll, user.exe, user32.dl, userenv.dll, win32k.sys, winlogon.exe, and winsrv.dll. Most of the files have release dates of August 21.

RRAS Forgets Passwords When Using a Dial-up Script
If you use a dial-up script to connect to a RRAS server, you know that you can check a box to save your password for subsequent connections. However, Microsoft article Q307716 indicates that RRAS doesn't save the password when you use a script to initiate the connection and cites CompuServe scripts as an example. The symptoms of this problem are obvious: you can connect successfully one time but can't connect a second time using the same dial-up script. This must be old news because the hotfix that corrects this problem contains five RRAS files with February release dates.

Symantec’s PCAnywhere V9.x on Win2K Causes a Blue Screen
To avoid blue screens, don't install pcAnywhere 9.x on any Windows 2000 system. Microsoft article Q306951 states that if you don't select the software's LiveUpdateOption, the system will crash and display a stop code of c:000021a (fatal system error) on a blue screen when you restart the system. To correct the problem, you need to download the file 921up.exe from Symantec. Boot the problem Win2K system in Safe Mode, install the download file, and reboot.

Intel 100 Pro/100 Intelligent Server Adapter VLANs Don’t Work
Are you using Intel PRO/100 Intelligent Server network adapters with Virtual LAN (VLAN) support? If so, you probably need a driver update to maintain network connectivity after you enable the adapter’s VLAN functionality. Intel discovered a bug that causes the network adapter to stop working in driver versions e100snt5.sys v2.30, ivlanw2k.sys v 2.27, and prosetp.cpl v3.142. If you have a buggy driver, the system on which you enable VLAN loses network connectivity and doesn't respond to a ping of the local host. You can read the Intel bulletin that documents the VLAN problem, the required download, and the manual workaround at the Microsoft Web site.

To ensure that the network adapter works properly when you enable VLAN support, you need to download and install the file 100Vw2k.exe from support.intel.com. The download installs new versions of the PROSet and ivlanw2k.sys drivers. After you install the new drivers and configure the VLANs, you must also edit the registry and disable the MultiCast setting for each installed adapter. You’ll find the registry entry for the PRO/100 IS adapter in the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\iVLANProtocol\Parameters\Adapters\<adapter id>\, where <adapter id> is a long string of letters and numbers. Add the value entry REG_DWORD:DontUseMulticastAll:1. If you have multiple PRO/100 IS adapters, the registry will contain multiple <adapter id> keys, one for each physical adapter. You must add the DontUseMulticastAll value entry to each <adapter id> that is configured for VLANS. Reboot the system to load the new drivers and activate the registry Multicast setting.