No software is 100 percent bug-free when it ships. The complexity of today’s software means that no matter how much a vendor tests its software, eventually some bugs will pop up in the real world. Although NetWare 5 is a very stable product, it suffers from this same problem. Fortunately, Novell is very prompt in releasing Support Packs to repair problems in its products. It also uses the Support Packs as a way to update features in NetWare. In this Daily Drill Down, we’ll look at Support Pack 4 for NetWare 5.

Why do I need Support Pack 4?
If your NetWare 5 server is currently running without any problems, you may think that you don’t need Support Pack 4. You’re wrong. Just because you don’t encounter a bug right now, it doesn’t mean there isn’t one waiting for you.

Support Pack 4 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’s Support hotline, they won’t talk to you until you install Support Pack 4.

Unlike patches Novell supplied with earlier versions of NetWare, Support Pack 4 includes patches previously released in 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 4. Just grab the Support Pack 4 and go.

Support Pack 4 fixes numerous hidden problems with NetWare 5. Some of the problems Support Pack 4 addresses include:

  • Abends can occur when exiting utilities like Unicon, Tcpcon, Ipxcon, Inetcfg, Monitor, and DSRepair.
  • Abends may occur if an NLM unloads from a protected address space without deleting all of its processes.
  • Daylight saving time calculations don’t always function properly for time zones where there is no daylight saving and for time zones in the southern hemisphere.
  • DSRepair can consume large amounts of disk space due to a problem with FILESYS.NLM.
  • Memory leaks occur in THREAD.NLM.
  • NSS will occasionally hang while loading, usually when another NLM was loaded at the same time.
  • THREADS.NLM can abend when your server becomes low in memory.

Novell has done more than just fix bugs with Support Pack 4. It has also taken the opportunity to release new features for NetWare 5. Some of the new features in Support Pack 4 include:

  • A new version of NDS—v7.44
  • Compatibility with NDS 8
  • Java 1.1.7b for NetWare
  • New JavaBeans

Support Pack 4 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 4 by going to Novell’s Support site at the NetWare 5 Support Pack 4 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 NWSP4.EXE file name.

You can then select the location from which to download the file. Make sure you have plenty of time or a very fast Internet connection. Novell’s Support Pack 4 for NetWare 5 is 102,774,602 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 them from the Internet, then 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 Novell’s 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 drive C. 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 extract the files from NWSP4.EXE, you’ll notice over 3,800 files extract and take in excess of 250 MB of space.

Pre-flight checklist for Support Pack 4
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 make sure you’re running the proper versions of NDS on your servers. At the minimum, your intraNetWare/NetWare 4.11 servers must 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 modules ds.nlmat 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 Connection 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 later.

Next, you must unload Java from your server. This ensures 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 press [Enter]. 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.

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 the Support Pack, 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. Some of the main problems associated with Support Pack 4 include:

  • If you run NDS 8.0 on your network, you may see an error during the installation of the Support Pack indicating an error copying files. 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 4, 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 also have the same problems with TCP/IP on a server that already has BorderManager installed.
  • You may have problems with TCP/IP after installing Support Pack 4 on a NetWare server that already has BorderManager installed. Support Pack 4’s TCP/IP version isn’t compatible with BorderManager’s encrypted TCP/IP. This can cause communication failures between servers or between servers and workstations. To get around this problem, download and install Novell’s latest encrypted TCP/IP update.
  • If you install Groupwise 5.5 on your NetWare 5 server after applying Support Pack 4, you may have problems with NWAdmin. Groupwise 5.5’s installation program overwrites the version of NWAdmin on your server with an older version than the one included with Support Pack 4. After installing Groupwise, reinstall Support Pack 4.
  • 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 4 instead.

Installing the Support Pack
Now you’re ready to install Support Pack 4 on your NetWare 5 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 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 4 in a test environment before rolling it out to all of your NetWare 5 servers. This is especially true if you use many third-party NLMs for tasks such 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 a 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’re now ready to begin applying Support Pack 4. To begin, type LOAD NWCONFIG at your server’s console prompt and press [Enter]. When you do, you’ll see the NetWare Configuration window. 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 drive A. 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 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. On this screen, select whether you want NWConfig to backup files that NWConfig is going to replace. This backup procedure doesn’t replace the full backup you should have performed 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. Support Pack 4 may not be compatible with some of your third-party NLMs. If you don’t select this check box, 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.

Figure a
You can choose to back up old files before installing Support Pack 4.

Before the installation starts, NWConfig warns you that the server may abend if you have any open DLL files. This includes files such as those used by NWAdmin. Make sure all such files are closed before continuing. If they are closed, press [Enter] to continue.

NWConfig also warns you that JAVA.NLM must be unloaded. You’ll see this error message even if you’ve already unloaded Java. Don’t Panic. Just press [Enter] to go on.

NWConfig then copies the Support Pack 4 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 OK.

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 4 didn’t accidentally change anything. Shut down and restart your server by either using the DOWN command followed by EXIT and then turning your server off and on, or by using the RESET SERVER command.

Don’t forget to apply Support Pack 4 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 also in the same NDS tree as your NetWare 5 servers.

As a network administrator, one of your most important jobs is keeping your servers up–to-date. Doing so includes regularly applying bug fixes and Support Packs. In this Daily Drill Down, we showed you the latest patch for NetWare 5—Support Pack 4 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.