No software ships 100 percent bug free. The complexity of today’s software means that no matter how much a vendor tests its software, eventually some bugs will pop up. Although NetWare 5 is a very stable product, it suffers from the same problem. Fortunately, Novell is very prompt in repairing problems in its products by releasing support packs. Novell also uses support packs as a way to update features in NetWare. In this Daily Drill Down, I’ll look at Support Pack 5 for NetWare 5.
Support Pack 5 for NetWare 5 works only with NetWare 5 servers. If you’re running NetWare 5.1, do NOT install Support Pack 5. Instead, you should download and install Support Pack 1 for NetWare 5.1. For more information on Support Pack 1 for NetWare 5.1, see “Novell releases Support Pack 1 for NetWare 5.1.”Likewise, don’t install Support Pack 1 for NetWare 5.1 on a NetWare 5 server. Even though the files are newer with Support Pack 1 for NetWare 5.1, and many of the NetWare 5.1 and NetWare 5 files and support pack files have the same file names, Support Pack 1 for NetWare 5.1 files will not work properly on a NetWare 5 server.
Why do I need Support Pack 5?
If your NetWare 5 server is currently running without any problems, you may think you don’t need Support Pack 5. You’re wrong. Just because you don’t encounter a bug right now, it doesn’t mean there’s not one waiting for you.
Support Pack 5 replaces almost all system components in NetWare 5. Even if you’re not currently experiencing problems with your server, you should apply the support pack. If you have any problems with your NetWare 5 server and try to call Novell Technical Support, the support people won’t talk to you until you install Support Pack 5.
Not only is no software perfect, but often support packs can cause more problems than they fix. Novell has frequently recalled and re-released support packs due to unforeseen problems. Novell released Support Pack 5 for NetWare 5 on May 31, 2000. Since then, although there have been minor issues with the support pack, there has been no major recall or problems with Support Pack 5.Even so, you may want to install support packs only if they address a problem or need that you have (unless the problem requires that you contact Novell Technical Support). Also, make sure you have several good backups of your entire network, especially your NDS database, before proceeding with installing a support pack.
Unlike patches Novell supplied with earlier versions of NetWare, Support Pack 5 includes patches previously released in Support Pack 4, Support Pack 3a, Support Pack 2, Support Pack 1a, and other NetWare 5 patches. You don’t need to install any of the previous support packs before you install Support Pack 5. Just grab Support Pack 5 and go.
Support Pack 5 fixes numerous hidden problems with NetWare 5. Some of the problems Support Pack 5 addresses are:
- Leap days in years prior to 1970 appeared improperly.
- NCP could fail with servers set to reject NCP packets with bad lengths.
- The NLMLIB.NLM file contained memory leaks.
- User had problems with Java support, such as memory leaks, display problems, and abends, with XACCEL.NLM.
- Abends could occur when exiting such utilities as Unicon, Tcpcon, Ipxcon, Inetcfg, Monitor, and DSRepair.
- Abends could occur due to improper locking in THREADS.NLM.
Novell has done more than just fix bugs with Support Pack 5. It also has taken the opportunity to release new features for NetWare 5, including:
- A new version of NDS—v7.47
- Compatibility with NDS 8
- A new version of ConsoleOne—v1.2c
- A new version of NetWare Administrator—v.5.1.9f
- New JavaBeans
Support Pack 5 doesn’t update the Novonyx FastTrack Server that came with NetWare 5. Novell has dropped FastTrack Server in favor of the Netscape Enterprise Server. You can download Netscape Enterprise Server for NetWare 4/5 for free from Novell’s Software Download page.
Where can I get it?
You can get Support Pack 5 by going to Novell’s Support site at the NetWare 5 Support Pack 5 page. On this page, you can view detailed information about the support pack and go to the download page. To download the file, click the link with the NW5SP5.EXE filename.
You can then select the location to download the file from. Make sure you have plenty of time or a very fast Internet connection. Novell’s Support Pack 5 for NetWare 5 is 128,670,711 bytes long. On a standard 56K modem, the file can take several hours to download.
If you prefer to have the files on CD rather than downloading from the Internet, you can order Novell’s Consolidated Support Pack CD. The Consolidated Support Pack CD includes the latest support packs for NetWare 5, NetWare 4.11/4.2, and ManageWise 2.6.Novell plans to update the CD every three months. You can order the CD from Novell for $39 plus shipping and handling. If you currently subscribe to Novell’s Support Connection CD, you’ll receive the Consolidated Support Pack CD automatically. To find out more about the Consolidated Support Pack CD, go to the Consolidated Support Pack CD Web site.
After you download the file to a temporary file on your hard drive, you can run the self-extracting executable to unpack the file. You can extract the file to the root directory of your server’s SYS volume or your workstation’s C drive. If you’re updating multiple servers, you might find it handier to extract the installation files to your workstation and install the Support Pack to your servers from there. When you use NW5SP5.EXE, you’ll notice over 2,900 files extract that take in excess of 230 MB of space.
Pre-flight checklist for Support Pack 5
After you extract the files, you’re ready to being upgrading your server. Before you do, however, you should take some precautions. First, make sure you have a full backup of your server. Double-check to make sure your NDS database backed up as well as your data.
Next, if you run a mix of NetWare 4.11/4.2 and NetWare 5 on your network, you must check to ensure you’re running the proper versions of NDS on your servers. Your intraNetWare/NetWare 4.11 servers must at least be running DS 6.0. If you’ve already installed Support Pack 6a and the DS411Q.EXE patch on your NetWare 4.11 servers, you’re in good shape. If you have NetWare 4.2 servers, just install the files included in DS411Q.EXE unless you’ve already installed Support Pack 8a. Your NetWare 5 servers should be running NDS v7.09 or greater.
To check the version of NDS you’re running on your server, type
at the server’s console prompt and press [Enter]. Your server will then display NDS’s version number and date.
If you haven’t upgraded your NetWare 4.11/4.2 servers yet, you should download and install Support Pack 8a for NetWare 4.11/4.2. You can get these files by going to Novell’s Support Web site and downloading them from the product support area. Don’t attempt to mix NetWare 4.1 servers and NetWare 5 servers in the same directory tree unless the NetWare 4.1 servers are at DS v5.15 or greater.
Next, you must unload Java from your server so that the support pack’s installation program can upgrade all of your server’s Java files. To do so, type UNLOAD JAVA at the server’s : prompt and pressing [Enter]. Doing this doesn’t remove any files from your server. It only stops Java from running on your server. Also, check to make sure you’ve unloaded any Java applications, such as ConsoleOne.
You must exit NetWare Administrator and any other Windows-based Novell programs on your administrative workstation and other workstations on your network. If you don’t, the support pack’s installation program may not properly update the .dll files for these utilities.
Finally, you should verify that you have enough free space on your server before installing the support pack. If you choose the Backup option during installation, you’ll lose an additional 185 MB on your server’s SYS volume when the installation program copies old files to a temporary holding location. You can delete these files later, but if you don’t have sufficient space when you begin the installation, your SYS volume may fill up and your server will crash.
Support pack caveats
There are a few issues you should be aware of before you install the support pack. After you’ve finished installing the support pack, or if you install new software after applying the support pack, you may need to go back and adjust your server’s configuration. Some of the main problems associated with Support Pack 5 are:
- If you run NDS 8.0 on your network, you may see a file-copying error during the installation of the support pack. If this is the case, after the support pack installs, you’ll need to go back and copy the DSBACKER.NLM file from NDS 8.0 to the SYS:\SYSTEM directory.
- If you install BorderManager on your server after installing Support Pack 5, you may have some problems. First, you may encounter an error dealing with the BorderManager NDS schema extensions. Don’t worry about this error; it’s a false alarm. You may have the same problems with TCP/IP as you’d have with a server that already has BorderManager installed.
- On a server with BorderManager already installed, you may notice that some files, such as TCPIP.NLM, IPFLT.NLM, FILTSRV.NLM, and CSAUDIT.NLM, have file sizes of 0 bytes. This is due to improper coping on the installation program’s behalf. You should replace the 0-byte files with the same filenames from your BorderManager 3.5 CD.
- You may have problems with TCP/IP after installing Support Pack 5 on a NetWare server that already has BorderManager installed. Support Pack 5’s TCP/IP version is only a 56-bit version. If you require 128-bit encryption for your Border Manager VPN, you must contact the Novell Support Connection at (800) 858-4000.
- If you install Groupwise 5.5 on your NetWare 5 server after applying Support Pack 5, you may have problems with NWAdmin. Groupwise 5.5’s installation program overwrites the version of NWAdmin on your server with one older than the one included with Support Pack 5. After installing Groupwise, reinstall Support Pack 5.
- You may encounter a problem on your server if it uses an Intel EtherExpress Pro 100B network card. The older E100BLAN driver that came with NetWare 5 and from Intel doesn’t fully support NetWare 5’s C ODI specification. You should switch to the CE100B.LAN driver that comes with Support Pack 5 instead. Likewise, rather than using older HPTX.LAN and IBMFE.LAN drivers, you should use CHPTX.LAN and CIBMFE.LAN, respectively.
- If you use BackupExec 8.5 on your server, you should delete FILESYS.NLM and MM.NLM from the C:\NWSERVER and SYS:\BKUPEXEC\NLMS directories on your server. Install the support pack after restarting your server.
Installing the support pack
After preparing, you’re ready to install Support Pack 5 on your NetWare 5 server. The installation may take some time, so you may want to install it over a weekend or after business hours. If you run multiple NetWare 5 servers, you should upgrade them all at once. Likewise, if you have NetWare 4.11/4.2 servers in your tree, you should update them at the same time as your NetWare 5 servers.
If possible, you should install Support Pack 5 in a test environment before rolling it out to all of your NetWare 5 servers. This is especially important if you use many third-party NLMs for such tasks as backups or network management. Novell tries very hard to ensure that support packs don’t break third-party applications, but it can’t test everything. If you double-check your NLMs in advance, you may save yourself some headaches.
You can install the support pack from your server’s console or your workstation. If you plan to install the support pack from your workstation, make sure you have RSPX and RConsole loaded on your server. Then, open an RConsole session on your workstation and connect to your server. Using RConsole is probably the easiest choice if you have many servers to update. After loading RConsole on all the servers, you can connect to them one at a time and run the update.
You’re now ready to begin applying Support Pack 5. To begin, type
at your server’s console prompt and press [Enter]. When you do, you’ll see the NetWare Configuration screen. Select Product Options on the Configuration Options menu and press [Enter].
You’ll then see the Other Installation Actions menu. Select Install A Product Not Listed and press [Enter]. By default, NWConfig tries to install new products from the A drive. To change this, press [F3] to specify a location on your server. If you’re running RConsole, you can press [F4] to specify a location on your workstation. Type the path to the location of where you extracted the NW5SP4.EXE files and press [Enter].
NWConfig then asks you which file groups you want to install, as shown in Figure A. In this window, you select whether you want NWConfig to back up files that NWConfig is going to replace. This backup procedure doesn’t replace the full backup you should have done before you started installing the support pack. It only copies older files to a backup directory in case you need to back out the support pack. As I mentioned earlier, Support Pack 5 may not be compatible with some of your third-party NLMs. If you don’t select this option, you may have problems backing out the support pack.
You also need to select the Install NetWare 5 Support Pack check box. If you don’t, the support pack won’t load. Press [F10] to continue.
Before the installation starts, NWConfig warns you that the server may abend if you have any open .dll files. This includes files that NWAdmin uses. Make sure all such files are closed before continuing. Then, press [Enter] to continue.
NWConfig also warns you that JAVA.NLM must be unloaded. You’ll see this error even if you’ve already unloaded Java. Don’t panic; just press [Enter] to continue.
NWConfig then copies the Support Pack 5 files to your server. Depending on the speed of your server, this process may take some time. Don’t worry if your server’s console appears to lock up. NWConfig may swap out temporarily to load and unload additional NLMs. As long as the hard drive on your server is making noise, you’re probably okay.
NWConfig may prompt you to enter your Admin user ID and password to install LDAP Services. You’ll need to give the fully distinguished context for the Admin user object in the Administrator Name field. After you enter the ID and password, press [Enter] to continue.
After the files finish copying, you’re done. Double-check all of your .ncf files to make sure Support Pack 5 didn’t accidentally change anything. Shut down and restart your server, and go back to work. You can do so by using the DOWN command followed by EXIT and then turning your server off and on. Or you can use the RESET SERVER command.
Don’t forget to apply Support Pack 5 to the other NetWare 5 servers in your tree. Also, don’t forget to apply Support Pack 8a to any NetWare 4.11/4.2 servers that are in the same NDS tree as your NetWare 5 servers.
Keeping your servers up-to-date is one of the most important parts of your job. Doing so includes regularly applying bug fixes and support packs. In this Daily Drill Down, I examined the latest patch for NetWare 5: Support Pack 5 for NetWare 5.
John Sheesley has been supporting networks since 1986, when he got his hands on NetWare 2.2. Since then, he’s worked with the Jefferson County Police Department in Louisville, KY, and the Genlyte-Thomas Group. John’s been a technical writer for several leading publishers, including TechRepublic, The Cobb Group, and ZDJournals. If you’d like to contact John, send him an e-mail .The authors and editors have taken care in preparation of the content contained herein, but make no expressed or implied warranty of any kind and assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. No liability is assumed for any damages. Always have a verified backup before making any changes.