No software ships 100 percent bug free. Even though Windows 2000 with Service Pack 1 is more stable than Windows NT 4.0 ever was, there are still little bugs running around in the product waiting to bite you. Because of the inherent instability of new software, many network administrators like to wait until at least two service packs ship before deploying new network operating systems. For them, the wait is over. Microsoft recently released Service Pack 2.

In this Daily Feature, I’ll look at some of the server-centric things that Service Pack 2 addresses. I’ll also tell you how to obtain and install it.

Why do I need Service Pack 2?
Nobody would argue that although Windows 2000 is good, that there isn’t room for improvement. Service Pack 1 addressed some of the problems, but it didn’t get them all. Service Pack 2 squashed approximately 500 more bugs in all versions of Windows 2000.

Although some of the problems fixed address problems on client machines that are running Windows 2000 Professional, many of the patches in this service pack address problems with Windows 2000 Server and Advanced Server. Unfortunately, both Windows 2000 Professional and Windows 2000 Server share a common code base; you get all of the fixes whether you need them or not. The service pack’s installation program will check the version of Windows 2000 to which you’re applying the service pack and only install the files that need updating.

Service Pack 2 also includes all of the fixes in Service Pack 1. Service Pack 2 offers the following server-centric fixes:

  • Corrects a problem where servers with small SCSI disks appeared to have zero cylinders
  • Adds support for ATA 100 (Mode 5)
  • Makes it possible to convert FAT32 to NTFS on IDE drives larger than 20 GB
  • Fixes a problem with Ntbackup.exe truncating Active Directory logs during a system-state backup
  • Corrects the issue that prevents error messages when backing up offline information stores on Exchange 2000
  • Allows Ntbackup to connect to a new Exchange 2000 remote store client
  • Corrects a problem with RPC error messages returning for Active Directory replication when servers are out of time synchronization
  • Fixes DNS’s inability to clear the cache on a DNS server
  • Solves the problem with invalid characters appearing in DNS queries
  • Allows DPromo to create all-numeric labels in domain names
  • Lets Tcpip.sys free broadcast packets that the TCP/IP traffic filter driver does not want
  • Includes fixes for File And Print Services For Netware (FPNW) Version 5.0
  • Stops duplicate SIDs from occurring during backup and restore of directory service on domain controller
  • Resolves access violations that could occur when you remove snap-ins and then read them
  • Allows client certificates to work with Windows 2000—Site Server Membership Mapped Web Site
  • Prevents server resources from expiring when nonadministrative users run Performance Monitor For IIS
  • Fixes a problem with read-only files causing roaming profile updates to a NetWare server to stop working
  • Allows Gethostbyname() to resolve a computer name with an IP address of
  • Permits Windows 2000-based RAS client to log on to a domain
  • Removes WINS client workstation [00h] entry from the WINS server after clients shut down
  • Blocks DHCP servers from offering a zero-length lease time when conflict detection is activated
  • Prevents network services from being accessed after an account is disabled
  • Fixes a problem where a denial of service attack causes the TCP stack to consume all the memory on a server
  • Allows the Terminal Services server to restart from a client session with the Restart command

For a complete listing of all of the patches and fixes included, you can go to Microsoft’s List of Bugs Fixed in Windows 2000 Service Pack 2. The list doesn’t actually spell out all of the bug fixes, but it does include a list of links to bug fixes included in both Service Pack 1 and Service Pack 2.

Obtaining and installing Service Pack 2
You can obtain Service Pack 2 several different ways. First, you can order a copy of it directly from Microsoft on CD-ROM. You can choose between a French and English language version of the service pack. It will cost you $14.95 plus shipping and handling. You can also obtain a copy of the service pack on CD-ROM if you have a subscription to Microsoft’s TechNet.

If you can’t wait for a CD-ROM version, you can also download the service pack from the Internet with a couple of variations. First, if your server’s connected to the Internet, you can obtain Service Pack 2 by clicking Start | Windows Update on your Windows server. It will then contact the Microsoft Windows Update Web site where you can directly download and apply the service pack in one fell swoop.

If your server isn’t connected to the Internet, you can download the service pack in executable form to any workstation on your network. Just open a browser window on your workstation and go to Microsoft’s Service Pack 2 Web site. Select the language you want to download and click Go. You’ll notice you can download languages that don’t ship on the CD-ROM, including German and Japanese.

After you click Go, you can download the file you want. The Web site gives you the choice of either Express Installation or Network Installation. You’ll want to download the Network installation for two reasons: It will give you more flexibility when applying Service Pack 2 on other servers and Windows 2000 Professional workstations on your network, and the Express Installation will try to contact the Internet when you run it, so it won’t help you if your server doesn’t have a direct Internet connection.

Make sure you have plenty of time or a very fast Internet connection when you download the Network Installation of Service Pack 2. The file is 103,770,000 bytes long and will take more than seven hours on a regular 56-Kb dial-up line.

After you download the file W2ksp2.exe, you can install it on your server. It’s a good idea to have a complete system backup before applying this service pack. Also, make sure there are no users logged on to the system when you apply the service pack. Wait until after business hours or ask everyone to log out before you start.

Then, run W2ksp2.exe and follow the instructions on the screen. The amount of time the upgrade takes will vary depending on the speed of your server and the amount of networking services running on your server.

Make sure you allow W2ksp2.exe to back up existing files on your server before it applies the patches. If you don’t, you won’t be able to back out of the service pack if you have problems with it, and you’ll have to restore from your backup tapes or reinstall Windows 2000 from scratch.

After the service pack is applied, you’ll need to restart your server. Also, keep a copy of W2ksp2.exe because you’ll have to reapply the service pack if you add any network services such as Exchange 2000 or ISA Server 2000.