Enterprise Software

Support Pack 4 for NetWare 5 and NetWare 5.1: Just say No!

Administrators beware: Don't install Support Pack 4 for NetWare 5 on NetWare 5.1 servers. Why not? John Sheesley explains.


Since I posted the Daily Drill Down "Novell releases Support Pack 4 for NetWare 5," several issues with Support Pack 4 have surfaced. One of the biggest problems is with NetWare 5.1 and Support Pack 4 for NetWare 5. To keep things brief, don’t install Support Pack 4 for NetWare 5 on NetWare 5.1 servers.

What happens?
Support Pack 4 is designed only for NetWare 5 servers. If you install Support Pack 4 on your NetWare 5.1 server, NetWare 5.1’s licensing won't work properly. Specifically, you’ll begin to encounter Policy Manager errors and see many errors in your NLSTRACE log files.

NetWare 5.1’s NWConfig program won’t warn you about the potential problems. Instead, it will happily install Support Pack 4 and cause the damage. The first warning you’ll see is when you start having connection problems to your server.

The problem occurs because of a conflict between NetWare 5.1’s and Support Pack 4's version of licensing. Support Pack 4 causes NLSLSP to search for the wrong context in NDS to find NetWare 5.1 licenses. The searches fail because they look in the wrong place.

How do I undo the damage?
If you’ve already installed Support Pack 4 on your NetWare 5 server, don’t panic. Although you may have connection problems, all of your data is safe on the server. The Support Pack 4 problems don’t affect data integrity.

To fix the problem, you must remove all of the Support Pack 4 NLMs from your NetWare 5.1 server. You can do this one of two ways, but both methods basically involve restoring original files from your NetWare 5.1 CD.

The first method requires you to mount the NetWare 5.1 CD on your server. At the server’s console type load nwconfig and press [Enter]. At the Configuration Options menu, select the Copy Files option and press [Enter]. Set the install path to match that of your NetWare 5.1 CD. Next, make sure that all of the options on the screen are selected and press [F10] to start copying files. If the server prompts you, tell it to always override newer files. When the files finish copying, reboot your server. Finally, when the server restarts, you must type uinstall spack to remove the Support Pack 4 entry in the PRODUCTS.DAT file. Doing so will remove Support Pack from the list of installed programs in NWConfig.

The second method is a little easier, but still involves restoring files from original CD. Boot your server from the NetWare 5.1 OS CD. To do this, you may have to make some changes to your server’s BIOS that will change its boot order and force it to look at the CD before the hard drive.

When the CD starts, choose Upgrade to re-upgrade the server to NetWare 5.1. When the server prompts you, choose Always Override Newer Files. Reboot the server after the upgrade completes. Just like the other method, when the server reboots, you must type uinstall spack to remove the Support Pack 4 entry in PRODUCTS.DAT.

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.

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