NetWare 5.1 has been out for quite a while now, and Novell did a good job of making sure that NetWare 5.1 was stable and reliable. Inevitably, however, problems have occurred. Hence, Novell recently released Support Pack 3. In this Daily Drill Down, I’ll explain what problems this support pack addresses, and I’ll apprise you of an issue that’s already cropped up with it.

Support Pack 3 and NetWare 5: Just say NO!

Support Pack 3 for NetWare 5.1 only works with NetWare 5.1 servers. If you’re running NetWare 5.0, do not install Support Pack 3. Instead, you should download and install Support Pack 6a for NetWare 5.0. For more information on Support Pack 6a for NetWare 5, see the Daily Drill Down “Novell releases Support Pack 6a for NetWare 5.”

Likewise, don’t install Support Pack 6a for NetWare 5.0 on a NetWare 5.1 server. Even though the files are newer with Support Pack 6a for NetWare 5, and many of the NetWare 5.1 and NetWare 5 files and support pack files have the same file names, Support Pack 6a for NetWare 5.0 files will not work properly on a NetWare 5.1 server.

Why do I need Support Pack 3?
Once you have NetWare up and running, there’s really not much you need to do to it because it’s a really stable platform. Even though NetWare 5.1 was developed from the solid foundation of NetWare 5, which itself came from the rock bed of the NetWare 4.x generation, there are still bugs hiding in the software.

Support Pack 3 replaces almost all system components in NetWare 5.1. Even if you’re not currently experiencing problems with your server, you may want to consider applying this Support Pack. If you have any problems with your NetWare 5.1 server and try to call Novell’s Support hotline, they won’t talk to you until you install Support Pack 3.

Editor’s note

Not only is no software perfect, but quite frequently Support Packs can cause more problems than they fix. Novell has frequently had to recall and rerelease support packs due to unforeseen problems with them. For example, earlier this year Novell released Support Pack 2 for NetWare 5.1, only to have to pull it and rerelease it as version 2a. Likewise, a problem has already cropped up in Support Pack 3 that I’ll cover in more detail below.

Even so, you may only want to install support packs if they address a problem or need that you have, unless you need to speak with 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 the myriad of separate patches that Novell supplied with NetWare 3.x and 4.x, Support Pack 3 includes all of the patches you need for NetWare 5.1 in one single file that also includes the fixes released in Support Packs 2a and 1. You don’t need to install any previous patch files before you install Support Pack 3. Just grab the Support Pack and go.

Support Pack 3 fixes numerous hidden problems with NetWare 5.1 such as:

  • Novell Windows NT 4.8 Client ignoring SLP multicast replies.
  • NSS Volume objects disappearing on hosting servers when DSREPAIR is run.
  • The problem with PROXY.NLM that causes the server to run out of Packet Receive Buffers.
  • NDS Databases becoming corrupt when DSREPAIR is running while DS Analyzer and DS Expert are also running.

Updates carried over from Support Packs 2a and 1 include:

  • Correcting the error –625, which dealt with the failure of Novell Directory Services to synchronize when the server synchronized Directory Services objects with large attributes across a WAN with a lot of traffic.
  • Fixing the DHCP Server abends that occurred when you unloaded DHCPSRVR.NLM.
  • Fixing the ConsoleOne problem where it would hang if it ran overnight.
  • Addressing memory leaks in NDPS.
  • Correcting the problem so that NetWare Management Portal is no longer limited to using only the IP address of the portal server rather than its name.
  • Getting the On-Demand PPP connection with compression enabled working properly with Novell Internet Access Services.
  • Correcting the problem where the Connection Manager couldn’t always distinguish between Workstation and User objects in the Policy Manager.

Novell has done more than just fix bugs with Support Pack 3. It has also taken the opportunity to release new features for NetWare 5.1. Some of the new features included in Support Pack 3 include the following:

  • Updated the DLTTAPE.CDM v 2.00c and N100/N1000 LAN drivers.
  • Removal of the 4-GB limitation in Novell’s JVM for ZENWorks for Servers.
  • The ability to set directory quotas on NSS volumes if you have supervisor rights on the root of the volume.
  • Adding a new version of DS.NLM—v8.77.
  • Improvements in the NetWare FTP server, including enhancements to anonymous logins and privileges, FTP restrictions, and a better Web Manager interface. (This was carried over from Support Pack 1.)

Where can I get it?
You can get Support Pack 3 by going to Novell’s Support site at the NetWare 5.1 Support Pack 3 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 NW51SP3.EXE filename.

You can then select the location of where you download the file. Make sure you have plenty of time or a very fast Internet connection. Novell’s Support Pack 3 for NetWare 5.1 is a monster. It’s 294,037,836 bytes long. On a standard 56K modem, the file can take several hours to download. Even on our T1 connection, the entire file took almost an hour to download.

Save time downloading files from the Internet

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.x, NetWare 4.11/4.2, ManageWise 2.7, BorderManager 3.x, and GroupWise 5.5.

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, then you’ll automatically receive the Consolidated Support Pack CD. To find out more about the Consolidated Support Pack CD, go to the Consolidated Support Pack CD Web page.

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.

Don’t be surprised if it takes a while for the files to extract when you run the NW51SP3 executable. Before extracting the files, NW51SP3 does a self-check to make sure that all of the files are intact. As you can probably guess, this self-check can take a while even on a fast machine. After the self-check completes, it can still take a while for the files to extract. When you extract the files from NW51SP3.EXE, you’ll notice there are over 3,700 files that take in excess of 400 MB of space.

Support Pack caveats
There are a few small issues you should be aware of before you install the Support Pack. After you’ve finished installing it, or if you install new software after applying the Support Pack, you may need to go back and make some adjustments to your server’s configuration. Here is a list of the main problems associated with Support Pack 3:

  • Tobit FaxWare may not run properly after installing Support Pack 3.
  • If you have NetWare Web Manager configured to listen on a port higher than port 33000, the Web Manager screen will report that it’s listening on port 4294937760.
  • If you’ve installed a different background on the NetWare GUI, you may find that the Support Pack has changed it back to the default.
  • You may see SSL Certificate errors after applying the Support Pack, including an error stating that SAS fails to initiate.
  • If you’re running WebSphere 3.5.1, and you install JVM 1.2.2, you might experience some CORBA errors.
  • You may encounter problems viewing the NetWare Management Portal using Internet Explorer 5 with IESP2 or Opera 5.12.
  • If you’re using NFS 3.0 with the NFS Gateway, you must install NFS 3.0 Support Pack 2 after installing NetWare 5.1 Support Pack 3 on your server. If you don’t, the NFS gateway won’t load.
  • You must upgrade all of your NetWare servers with the SCMD.NLM file included in Support Pack 3. That includes servers that run NetWare 4.11, 4.2, and 5.0. The version supplied in Support Pack 3 will run on all versions. If you don’t, your servers won’t be able to communicate with each other.
  • If you run NDS 8.0 on your network, the version of DSMerge included with the Support Pack will only support NDS 7.x and later.
  • If you install GroupWise 5.5 on your NetWare 5 server after applying Support Pack 3, 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 3. After installing GroupWise, reinstall Support Pack 3.
  • 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 3 instead.

Installing the Support Pack
After preparing, you’re ready to install Support Pack 3 on your NetWare 5.1 server. The installation may take some time, so you may want to install it over the weekend or after business hours. If you run multiple NetWare 5.1 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 to Support Pack 9 at the same time as your NetWare 5.1 servers.

If possible, you should install Support Pack 3 in a test environment before rolling it out to all of your NetWare 5.1 servers. This is especially true if you use many third-party NLMs for such things as backups or network management. Novell tries very hard to make sure 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 have the choice to install the Support Pack from your server’s console or from 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 of the servers, you can connect to them one at a time and run the update.

You’ll then be ready to apply Support Pack 3. Novell has made some changes to Support Pack 3’s installation. If you’ve installed Support Packs 1 or 2a, you’re in for some new menu choices.

To begin, type load nwconfig at your server’s console prompt and press [Enter]. When you do, you’ll see the NetWare Configuration screen. Highlight Product Options on the Configuration Options menu and press [Enter].

You’ll then see the Other Installation Actions menu. Highlight 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 NW51SP3.EXE files and press [Enter].

Support Pack 3’s installation program will display a license screen. You’ll have to press [Esc] to bypass this screen. After you press [Esc], you’ll see the Do You Accept The License Agreement screen appear. Highlight Yes and press [Enter] to continue. Afterwards, you’ll see another license agreement screen appear. This one is for Jinfonet’s JReport program. Accept this license as well by pressing [Esc], selecting Yes, and pressing [Enter].

You’ll then see a screen appear telling you to press [Esc] to abort the installation or [Enter] to continue. Press [Enter] to go on.

NWConfig will then ask you if you want to back up the files that Support Pack 3 is going to install. This backup procedure doesn’t replace the full backup you should have done before you started installing the Support Pack to begin with. It only copies older files to a backup directory in case you need to back out the Support Pack. Support Pack 3 may not be compatible with some of your third-party NLMs. If you don’t select Yes and press [Enter], you may have problems backing out the Support Pack.

Support Pack 3 will then ask you if you want to update the Storage/LAN/PSN/WAN drivers already installed on your server. To do so, select Yes and press [Enter].

When you do, Support Pack 3’s installation program will ask if you want to reboot the server after installing files. You’ll have to select Yes and press [Enter] on this screen. If you don’t, Support Pack 3’s installation program will copy the files, but all of the fixes won’t take full effect until the next reboot.

After you press [Enter], Support Pack 3 tells you that it will shut down running processes. The installation routine will stop file and print sharing as well as any Web servers or Java applications you have running.

Support Pack 3 may ask you to provide the system administrator user ID and password. If so, type the information in appropriate fields.

After the installation program stops all of the running services, if you told the program you wanted to back up the files on your server, it will prompt you for a file location to store the backed up files. By default, it chooses the SYS:\SYSTEM\BACKSP3 directory. You can accept the default by pressing [Enter] or change it by pressing [F3] and entering a new path. Make sure that there is lots of free space available on other end of the destination path that you enter. The target location will need at least 525 MB of additional disk space.

After you specify the path for backup, NWConfig then copies the Support Pack 3 files to your server. Depending on the speed of your server, this may take some time. Don’t panic 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 3 didn’t accidentally change anything. Shut down and restart your server and go back to work. You can do so by either using the DOWN command followed by EXIT and then turning your server off and on. You can also do so by using the RESET SERVER command at the console prompt.

Don’t forget to apply Support Pack 3 to the other NetWare 5.1 servers in your tree. Also, don’t forget to apply Support Pack 6a to any NetWare 5 servers and Support Pack 9 to any NetWare 4.11/4.2 servers that are also in the same NDS tree as your NetWare 5.1 servers.

Post Support Pack 3 fixes
If you downloaded Support Pack 3 before July 24, 2001, you’ll need to download an additional file to fix a problem that appeared after Novell released Support Pack 3. The file you need is called NW51FS1.EXE.

After releasing Support Pack 3, Novell realized that it forgot to include an updated version of FILESYS.NLM. The updated FILESYS.NLM fixes a problem whereby the Novell Instant Message Server (NIMS) software attempts to rename some long name space entry names to be lowercase. If the converted lowercase name already exists in another entry’s name space entry name, the file could become corrupted.

NW51FS1.EXE contains this updated file. The file is only 480 KB long, so it won’t take very long to install. Extract and install it, and you’ll be up to date.

If you downloaded Support Pack 3 after July 24, you won’t need this file. The updates were rolled into that version of the Support Pack. If you’re unsure about whether or not you have the latest version of Support Pack 3, you may want to download it again, just to be sure.

As a network administrator, one of your most important jobs is keeping your servers up to date. Applying Support Packs helps you to ensure that your network is safe and running optimally. So make sure yours are up to the latest level.