Data Centers

Performing ISA Server post-installation routines

ISA Server's Setup program makes many changes to your server. After installing ISA Server, you must do a few things to make sure your server is up to date and secure. In this Daily Feature, John Sheesley explains a few of those things for you.


In the Daily Drill Down titled “Installing ISA Server,” I showed you how to install ISA Server on your network. However, after you’ve installed ISA Server on your Windows 2000 server, there are a few last-minute things you should do. In this Daily Feature, I’ll show you what those things are.

Reapply service packs
The first thing you must do after installing ISA Server is reapply any service packs you’ve previously installed on your server. ISA Server required that you initially have at least Windows 2000 Service Pack 1 on your server before you could begin the installation. However, during the course of installation, ISA Server’s Setup program will change some important Windows 2000 files. Reapplying the service pack will ensure that you have the latest version of these files.

As of the time of this article, the latest service pack for Windows 2000 is Service Pack 1. ISA Server’s Setup CD contains a Post Service Pack 1/Pre Service Pack 2 collection of hot fixes that you must apply to fix some problems that are known to still be in existence with Service Pack 1 Windows 2000 servers. Most of the problems involve servers running under heavy loads and servers running multiple processors.

Editor’s Note
If by the time you’ve read this article Microsoft has shipped Service Pack 2 or later, don’t follow the following instructions about applying Post Service Pack 1 updates. Just reapply the latest version of the Windows 2000 Service Pack, and you’ll be fine.

To run these hot fixes, place your ISA Server CD in your server. When the Microsoft ISA Server Setup screen appears, close it. Double-click My Computer, right-click your CD-ROM’s drive icon, and select Explore. Navigate through the CD until you get to the Support\Hotfixes\Win2000 folder. Next, double-click Q276286_W2K_SP2_X86_EN.EXE to start the hot fix’s Setup program.

The hot fix’s Setup program will extract and copy the fixes to your computer and then reconfigure your server. When it’s finished, it will prompt you to restart your server. Go ahead and do so. When your server restarts, it’s completely up to date.

Updating ISA security
Shortly after Microsoft shipped ISA Server, someone discovered and pointed out to Microsoft that there was a potential security hole in it. ISA Server’s Web Proxy service would encounter a problem if someone issued a request for a Web page and the URL exceeded a particular length. When ISA would attempt to process the request, the Web Proxy service failed with an access violation. After the failure, all incoming and outgoing Web proxy requests would go unfulfilled until you restarted the service.

Fortunately, you can download and apply a patch to fix this problem. To do so, go to Microsoft’s Microsoft Security Bulletin MS01-021. Here, you’ll find detailed information about the problem and a link to download the hot fix.

To install the patch, download it from the site and run it on your server, or just go to the site from your ISA Server and choose Run This Program From Its Current Location instead of downloading the file. When you do, you’ll see a Security Warning appear. Don’t panic—Windows 2000 is just warning you that you’re about to download a file that is going to alter your system. Click Yes to continue. Setup will copy the files to your server and then ask you if you want to apply the hot fix. Just click Yes. The installation won’t take any time at all. When it’s done, click OK to restart your server.

Conclusion
ISA Server makes many changes to your server’s configuration. After you’ve installed it, you must reapply service packs on your server and apply appropriate hot fixes to make sure your server is completely up to date and safe.

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