Tricks & Traps: NT 4.0 Upgrades

Q: I have two 486 systems running Windows NT 3.51; one system has a CD-ROM drive and one doesn't. When the system without a CD-ROM drive crashed, I connected the CD-ROM drive to load NT. After I installed it and Service Pack 4, I shut down the PC and removed the IDE CD-ROM drive. After going through the initial menu screens, I got the blue screen of death:

1 system processor \[31932 Kilobit (Kb) Memory\]

***STOP: (0xFF022BB0, 0xC0000034, 0x0,0x0)


CPUID: GenuineIntel 4.3.5 irql: 0 sysver 0xf0000421

If I reconnect the CD-ROM drive, everything boots. How can I properly remove the CD-ROM drive?

In Control Panel, open SCSI Adapters and remove IDE CD-ROM ATAPI 1.2. Now open the Devices applet, find the atapi device, and change its startup type from BOOT to Disabled. If you don't see any SCSI devices attached, select the scsidisk device and change its startup type from BOOT to Disabled.

Select the atdisk device and change its startup type from Disabled to BOOT. Make sure the atdisk.sys file is in your %systemroot%\winnt\system32\drivers subdirectory. If not, get this file from your floppy or CD-ROM drive.

Shut down, and reboot. Obviously, to make any changes, you have to boot into NT by temporarily reattaching the CD-ROM drive. If I'm running NT 4.0 beta 2, how do I upgrade to the final version?

Open regedt32.exe, and go to hkey_local_machine\software\microsoft\winnt\currentversion. Change the CurrentVersion value from 4.0 to 3.51 (or earlier), as you see in Screen 1. Then rerun winnt32.exe /b (or use the install floppies) from the \i386 directory of your NT 4.0 upgrade CD-ROM, and Setup will think your NT 4.0 RC2 installation is an NT 3.51 installation. I just installed NT 4.0. One reason I trashed Windows 95 (best thing I ever did) was unreliable floppy performance: I even replaced the floppy drive to no avail. The floppy drive works flawlessly with NT 3.51. But with NT 4.0, when I try to install from the floppy, the installation hangs on specific files and never completes. This problem is driving me nuts. I never had this trouble with NT 3.51. Have you heard of problems with NT 4.0 and floppy drives?

Although what you are seeing is not the norm, it does happen. I have an Asus P55T2P4 motherboard with a 512KB cache, a 166MHz Pentium with 64MB of EDO RAM, and an UltraWide SCSI bus. The system is very fast. I can't perform a floppy-based installation because ntfs.sys won't load properly. However, I can copy the files to the hard disk and install them from there without problems. To be honest, I don't know why your system has such problems. I don't suspect that NT 4.0 is having trouble with your floppy drive as much as I suspect it has something to with the chipset on the motherboard. When I try upgrading to NT 4.0, the installation freezes early in the installation process. What are some possible causes?

A system that locks up early in the install phase is probably hanging on the ntdetect phase. Remove any NICs and unnecessary SCSI cards. (In this case, the problem was an NCR 53c810 card that would not boot with the new Symbios driver. Installing the NT 3.51 driver after installation to the EIDE drives worked perfectly.)

What if the appropriate SCSI fails to load and you have SCSI hard disks? The only way I know to install is to copy the \i386 directory to your local hard drive, replace the new driver with the old driver, and then upgrade. (You might need to install a second version of NT to copy the files, and then run winnt /b.)

Q: I just applied the NT 4.0 upgrade, and now I don't have audio. How can I fix this problem?

Run regedt32.exe and go to hkey_current_user\control panel\
sound\beep. My guess is that the value for this key got changed to No. Change it to Yes. Screen 2 shows this setting. What are command extensions, and how can I use and control them in NT 4.0?

Take the command mkdir as an example. This command makes a directory, and the syntax is

MKDIR \[drive:\]path

MD \[drive:\]path

If you enable command extensions, mkdir creates necessary intermediate directories in the path, if needed. For example, assuming \a does not exist,

MKDIR \a\b\c\d

is the same as:








If you disable command extensions, you have to type in all these commands. So command extensions let you specify multiple commands in one line. You can disable all extensions for .cmd by opening the Registry, going to hkey_current_user\
software\microsoft\command processor\
enableextensions, and setting the value to 0. Screen 3 shows this configuration.

Q: NT 4.0 recognizes my Conner tape device and setup with no problems but gives me an "unrecognized format, please erase tape" error when I load the tape. What gives? How can I get around this problem and get the data off my tapes? Why can't NT 4.0 read a backup made under Win95?

Win95 supports only FAT-based file structures. Because NT has the option of NTFS, the OS uses the Microsoft Tape Format. This difference means that each OS uses a different system call for both tape formats. Because of NTFS and its extended attributes, NT uses special APIs that Win95 does not use, so Win95 can't read NT tapes. Why NT does not have a Win95 file translator is simply poor reasoning on Microsoft's part. The only solution is to restore to a drive in Win95 and then copy the files to the NTFS drives. How can I add a new drive to be a part or an extension of an existing drive?

The only way to add a drive to another drive is with a volume. You first need to create a volume set with the Disk Administrator.

1. Using from 1 to 32 disks, select two or more areas of free space, starting with the first area of free space and then pressing CTRL and clicking each of the other areas.

2. On the Partition menu, click Create Volume Set. Disk Administrator displays the minimum and maximum sizes for the volume set.

3. Type the size of the volume set that you want to create, and click OK.

You can then partition and format the volume. When you add a new drive, you can select the volume, press CTRL, select the new drive, and add it. Keep in mind that adding a new volume is easy, but removing one is not. Someone told me that an alternative to Perfmon is available in NT 4.0. Can you elaborate on this?

Right-clicking the taskbar lets you use Task Manager. When you click on Task Manager and click the Performance tab, you get information about CPU and memory use. This screen can even show more than one CPU, as you see in Screen 4. This tool doesn't replace Perfmon, but it lets you monitor available and assigned critical variables.

Q: Can you explain the advantages and disadvantages of the various types of SCSI devices and controllers available? I get very confused reading about Wide SCSI, UltraWide SCSI, and narrow SCSI. What is the major issue?

Channel bandwidth is the issue. The sustained transfer rate is 5MB to 6MB per second for one drive and 10MB to 12MB per second for two drives. The sustained transfer rate of a SCSI channel is about 80 percent of its peak burst rate because of command overhead and negotiation. So the sustained transfer of a narrow SCSI channel is about 8MB per second. This limitation means you can fit only one heavily used drive of this type on a narrow SCSI channel. If you have two drives, use a 3940U or a 2940UW controller. If you plan to expand to four or six drives, get a 3940UW controller.

The less demand you place on the drives, the more drives you can put on one SCSI channel. For example, if you use the drive for short-record database accesses, you aren't stressing the SCSI channel bandwidth, and you can add more drives on one SCSI channel. Most of the time, the drives will be seeking rather than transferring data. For these reasons, using wide controllers pays if you will be using more than one drive in any serious manner. Wide SCSI has a potential transfer rate of 20MB per second, and UltraWide SCSI has a maximum rate of 40MB per second. Although you never see this transfer rate, it is important in handling multiple drives. What are some common NT-related SCSI problems? I have an Iomega Jaz drive that sometimes tells me it's not ready, but Iomega's NT diagnostic tools say all is OK.

I'm not certain the Jaz issue is a common one, but I'm reasonably sure I know the cause of your particular problem. When NT was booting, you placed the cartridge in the drive. When nt scanned the drive, the program noted that the drive was busy and marked it as not ready. The same thing occurs if you don't have a cartridge loaded when NT boots. Simply insert the cartridge before you boot. You can change cartridges once you're in NT.

Here are some common SCSI problems that I know about:

1. You boot the system and see multiple drives when only one is installed. Cause and solution: You probably set the drive's SCSI ID to 7. Set it to 0.

2. When you transfer large files, the system hangs or your data is corrupted. Cause and solution: The usual causes of this problem are poor cabling or termination. I recommend using Adaptec-certified cables because I know they meet specifications. Also, always use quality active terminators. When in doubt, never mix SCSI-I and SCSI-II devices.

3. You just added a new drive, and the controller POST does not see either the old or new drive. Cause and solution: You assigned both drives the same SCSI ID. Make certain that all devices have unique IDs. I recently upgraded from Netscape Navigator 3.0 beta to Netscape Navigator Gold 3.0. I installed the files and was able to immediately log on to the Web. Several hours later, I opened Netscape again only to see the beta copy that had expired. I repeated the upgrade with the same results. What's happening?

I've seen this problem before. Netscape usually installs into the %systemroot%\program files\netscape\
navigator\program directory. In your case, the Netscape executable file installed into the ...\netscape\navigator\
program\program directory. Move the files back to the ...\netscape\navigator\
program directory.

Q: I recently purchased a dual Pentium Pro. About half the time, I can't boot onto a domain without getting a screen that says no domain controller can be found. When I click OK, the system is indeed on the domain despite the message. This glitch is irritating because I don't like to have to clear the message screen. If I don't, the NT desktop doesn't appear.

I know of two circumstances that cause this problem. Interestingly, both circumstances result from not initializing the NIC properly (i.e., the card initializes but only after the logon screen appears). To solve the problem, simply wait a minute or so after the logon screen is available, and then enter your password and press Enter. (By the way, you are correct--you will not see the desktop until you have successfully logged on. In the error message you describe, the system is using cached credentials.)

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