Should you fail to deploy a Windows 2000 service pack (SP) properly, the world probably won’t spin out of orbit. But you could lose all the data on your systems.

Even if you haven’t identified a need for the latest service pack, ensure that you’re familiar with the approved process of deploying official updates. Otherwise, you could fail the Win2K Professional and Server exams. The topic is now covered on these MCP and MCSE certification tests.
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Getting started
Back up system data and its registry and verify that your backup works before deploying a service pack. Creating a working backup should always be your first step.

The second step involves reading up on the service pack you’re preparing to deploy. I recommend visiting Microsoft’s Web site, where you’ll find information about various corrections, security fixes, updates, patches, and other enhancements that service packs address.

You also need to determine how you’ll receive the actual service pack. If you’re a TechNet subscriber, you’ll receive service pack updates as part of your monthly CD-ROM or DVD shipments.

If you aren’t a TechNet subscriber, you’ll have to find the service pack somewhere else. Sometimes, Microsoft bundles the service packs with other evaluation products. You can also buy them on CD directly from Microsoft. The CD-ROMs sell for $14.95 in the United States. When you’re calculating total costs, don’t forget to add another five dollars for shipping.

If you’re the instant gratification type (or cheap), you may want to download the update. You’ll find your Windows 2000 service pack options here on Microsoft’s Web site. Just perform a keyword search using the term Service Pack 1. Make sure you select Windows 2000 from the Operating System drop-down list.

Read the readme
Microsoft prepared an installation and deployment guide for the first Windows 2000 Service Pack. You’ll want to be sure to read it, as well as the ReadmeSP.htm file.

If you’re worried that your system may not support the service pack, review the System Requirements. WHOA! I anticipate your next question: “Why do I need to check my system’s requirements? I’m already running Win2K!”

When you deploy service packs, you’re going to need additional disk storage space. How much space depends on whether you’re downloading the file or executing the service pack installation using a CD-ROM and whether you’re updating a client or system platform. But the space that’s required can be sizable, reaching up to a few hundred megabytes.
Some of the space that the service pack requires is due to Windows 2000’s tracking the installation process. Update.exe creates a backup of the files and settings the service pack installation changes. It parks them in the $NTServicepackUninstall$ folder in the system root folder. Thus, you can uninstall the service pack, should you decide that’s necessary.
Last-minute preparations
You should perform four more actions before installing a service pack. They are:

  • Close all open applications.
  • Update your Emergency Repair Disk (ERD).
  • Back up your registry.
  • Close any antivirus programs.

Here’s how you can easily update the ERD and back up your registry. Click Start | Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Backup. Select the ERD button, fill in the check box to specify that registry files be backed up, and insert a blank formatted disk in your system’s floppy drive. Click OK and wait until you receive the message stating the process has been completed.

Installation options
Several installation options exist. You can install:

  • From the CD.
  • From the Web.
  • From a network drive using a variety of distribution methods.

Let’s start by examining what might be the most common method, installation using the Windows 2000 Service Pack CD.

Installing service packs from a CD
Using a CD to install a service pack is simple. Place the CD in your computer, and if autorun is turned on, you’ll be greeted with the Autorun.htm screen.

There’ll be a Contents section in the upper-left corner of the screen, as shown in Figure A. Select Install Service Pack 1.

Figure A
Windows 2000 Service Pack 1 presents an autorun screen from which the SP can be easily installed.

If you don’t have autorun enabled, you’ll have to trigger the Update.exe program from a command line. Select Start | Run and enter D:\i386\Update where D is the drive letter reserved for the CD-ROM drive being used. Type update and press [Enter]. The setup program prompts you to download Update.exe. Specify that you want to save it to your disk and that the program should be run from its current location.

Just accept the license agreement and follow the instructions that the setup program presents. Then you’re done!

Another option is to install the service pack from the Web. Let’s examine that method next.

Installing service packs from the Web
You have two options when installing a service pack from the Web. They are:

  • Express Installation
  • Network Download

Keep in mind you’ll need to use Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher. If you don’t, the Express Installation might not work.

The Express Installation detects only those files and updates that your system needs. The determination, of course, is made depending upon which settings the Express Installation discovers your system is using.

The Express Installation is 13.8 MB for the typical Windows 2000 Professional installation and 29.6 MB for the typical Windows 2000 Server or Windows 2000 Advanced Server installation. Don’t run the download from a 28.8 modem. Use a cable modem or DSL line, at least. Buy the CD if you don’t have access to a broadband connection.

The Network Download creates a file named SP1network.exe. Executing the compressed file extracts it and triggers the installation. Using this method, all of the SP’s files are downloaded. You’d want to use this method if you plan on placing the SP in a shared folder in order to update machines with different configurations over a network.

The Network Download is 87 MB. You must have a broadband connection for it. A 28.8 modem requires all day (seven hours) to download the file.
Don’t look for Windows 2000 SP1 to increase your system’s encryption settings. Setup identifies your system’s current encryption level and installs the service pack version matching your existing encryption settings. If you want to update your system’s encryption level (from 56-bit to 128-bit), you’ll need Microsoft’s High Encryption Pack.
Using either Web method, go to Microsoft’s Windows 2000 Service Pack Web site. Click Download Windows 2000 SP1. Select your language and click Next.

You’ll be presented with a screen offering both the Express Installation and Network Download options. Just look for the big blue buttons.

If you select Express Installation, the setup program will detect the files your system needs, download them to your machine, and install them. Select the option you want to use and follow the instructions the setup program presents.

If you select the Network Download, all of the service pack files will be saved as SP1network.exe. Once the file is downloaded, double-click it to trigger the installation.

If you’re deploying to multiple systems in your enterprise, you’ll most likely be using a network share. So let’s take a look at network drive-based service pack installations.

Installing service packs from a network drive
If you need to deploy a service pack to multiple machines, a network drive-based installation might be for you. First, you’ll need to park the service pack files in a folder you’ll use for distribution.

Several methods exist for installing Windows 2000 service packs over a network. For instance, you can use:

  • Typical network-based deployment.
  • Microsoft’s Systems Management Server (SMS), in which an SMS package is created.
  • Integrated Installation, in which the service pack is applied directly to Windows 2000 files.
  • Remote Installation Services, in which an integrated image is created.
  • A Combination Install, in which both update and integrated installation processes are used to install the service pack with other components, including hotfixes.

I’ll focus on the steps you must follow when using a typical network-based deployment. For more information on the other network distribution methods, see Microsoft’s step-by-step guidelines in its “Windows 2000 Service Pack Installation and Deployment Guide.” Look for the Spdeploy.doc file in the \Support\Tools folder of the service pack CD.

For the typical network-based distribution, you can either copy the CD files to the distribution folder or download the compressed SP1network.exe file and extract it. If you need to extract the file without beginning the installation, you can do so by using the –x switch.

Once the files are uncompressed, you’ll need to locate them in a shared folder accessible to the systems that must be updated. Next, connect to the folder containing the service pack files and navigate to the \i386\Update folder and execute the Update.exe program. You can use several switches, if you want:

  • -u forces an unattended setup.
  • -f closes other applications at shutdown.
  • -n specifies that backup files not be backed up.
  • -o specifies that OEM files be overwritten without prompting.
  • -z instructs the system not to restart when installation is finished.
  • -q runs setup in quiet mode requiring no user interaction.
  • -s:foldername specifies that setup use integrated installation mode and indicates the location of the distribution server share.

According to Microsoft’s Web site, if you use the -q or -u switches to run Update.exe, and you need to update OEM-supplied files, you’ll also need to use the -o switch. If you forget, such critical files as hardware abstraction layer (HAL) and disk miniport drivers won’t be updated.
Having trouble after the install?
If the service pack installation creates trouble, you should be able to reverse it. Head to Control Panel and select the Add/Remove Programs applet. Select the service pack and select Change/Remove. Follow the instructions presented.

If you prefer working from the command line, you can do so instead of working from Control Panel. Fire up a command prompt and navigate to the system root folder, then change the directory to the $NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst folder. Type Spuninst.exe and press [Enter]. Follow the instructions presented.

When the program completes, close the command prompt window and you’re done. If everything works properly, you’ll find yourself right where you were at the beginning of this article.
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