NTFS and RPC Hotfixes
Microsoft has released two new hotfixes, NTFS-fix and RPCltscm-fix, in the past 10 days. NTFS-fix corrects a nasty file corruption problem that occurs when you have more than 4 million files on a volume. If your disk has this problem, you’ll see one or more of the following symptoms: deleted files might continue to appear on the drive, files that should be there might not be accessible, and CHKDSK might issue a pop-up message indicating that it has detected file corruption. The corruption arises from NTFS calculation errors when locating a file in a Master File Table (MFT) larger than 4GB. If your servers have large disks that are not partitioned into smaller logical volumes or you run with large volume sets or stripe sets, you’ll want to install and test this hotfix immediately. Microsoft documents the file corruption problem in Microsoft Support Online article Q229607 (http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q229/6/07.asp). You can download the US version of the corrected ntfs.sys at ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/bussys/ winnt/winnt-public/fixes/usa/nt40/ Hotfixes-PostSP5/NTFS-fix.
In the August 17 UPDATE, I described a problem with Exchange and Outlook client hangs. At the time, you could only get the bug fix from Microsoft Support. Microsoft has since released the bug fix as the RPCltscm-hotfix, which you can download from ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/ bussys/winnt/winnt-public/fixes/usa/ nt40/Hotfixes-PostSP5/RPCltscm-fix
SP4 and SP5 Automatically Enable Daylight Savings Time
A quick heads up for anyone installing Service Pack 4 (SP4) or SP5: Both service packs automatically enable daylight savings time (DST), regardless of the active time zone setting. If you live in an area that doesn’t observe DST and you want to install these service packs, you need to manually clear the setting on the Time Zone tab of the Control Panel applet Date/Time. Microsoft documents this problem in Microsoft Support Online article Q238671 and has corrected it in a new version of the service pack installation utility update.exe, which you must obtain from Microsoft Support.
Installing and Checking Hotfixes
You can use three different methods to install hotfixes. In the first method, you double-click the hotfix executable, which includes the hotfix.exe utility. This utility checks the currently installed service pack and automatically installs the hotfix if the hotfix date is later than the service pack and the language of the hotfix is the same as the installed language. Hotfix.exe registers the fix under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\ Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ Hotfix Registry key, as directed by entries in the hotfix.ini file. Each hotfix has a Registry value entry called Installed that is set to 1 when you install the hotfix.
The second method employs the hfx.exe utility, a more comprehensive version of hotfix.exe you can obtain from Microsoft Support that tracks hotfixes installed with either hotfix.exe or hfx.exe. You can install new hotfixes, delete old ones, or simply view the hotfixes installed on your system. According to the online documentation, Hfx might not be aware of fixes you’ve installed with older versions of hotfix.exe or hfx.exe, but you can always check the Hotfix Registry key above to verify which you’ve installed. And if you decide to go with this smarter version, you can remove and reinstall all active hotfixes to ensure that hfx.exe knows about all the updates you’ve applied.
In the third method, you use a utility to do a direct replacement of files in the system root. You locate and rename the component updated by the hotfix and copy the new version to the same directory path with the same name. This method requires the Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Resource Kit utility mv.exe, which lets you replace system files that are active when the OS is running. Mv.exe asks you to reboot and performs the file replacement during the next boot operation. Because this technique leaves no record in the Registry of the update applied, you should use it only as a quick and dirty patch maneuver.
Microsoft documents these three techniques in Microsoft Support Online article Q238552 (http://support.microsoft.com/ support/kb/articles/ Q238/5/52.asp). A word of caution: To ensure the effectiveness of hotfixes, you must reinstall them any time you load files from the distribution media that contains your current service pack (e.g., NT packaged with Service Pack 3—SP3) and after you reapply a service pack.
Domain Sizing and Capacity Planning
Microsoft recently updated its Domain Sizing and Capacity Planning white paper, and you might find several sections of the document informative and educational. I don’t recall ever finding such thorough documentation of several key aspects of Windows NT. Although I disagree with the dated guidelines for sizing the paging file (i.e., physical memory plus 12MB), the Network Monitoring, User’s Service Levels, and Domain Size Limitations sections are excellent.
The Network Monitoring section contains instructions on how to monitor your network. More important, the section contains a detailed description of the Netlogon process, including when and why the process initiates a partial or full synchronization, the difference between machine and user account synchronization, and how replication activity affects network traffic. This section provides an excellent explanation of replication activity, providing the information you need to fine tune and control replication accurately for your entire network.
The User’s Service Levels section covers several methods for load balancing authentication across multiple domain controllers, and the Domain Size Limitations section discusses the impact a large SAM database has on paged and nonpaged pool allocation. You can download this updated white paper from ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/ bussys/winnt/winnt-docs/papers/ DomainSizingWPv2.doc.
Remote Management and Troubleshooting
Are you trying to delegate monitoring and troubleshooting across your network? If so, you’ll want to read Microsoft’s Remote Management and Troubleshooting white paper at ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/bussys/ winnt/winnt-docs/ papers/Ntremote.exe. The white paper covers remote management using Windows NT Workstation and NT Server tools, Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Resource Kit tools, remote management over the Internet, remote problem solving using Microsoft add-on tools, and Microsoft's future remote management and diagnostic strategy.