SP6a Uninstallation Woes

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SP6a Uninstallation Woes
I installed Windows NT Server 4.0 Service Pack 6a (SP6a) on two NT Server 4.0 production servers to fix problems we were having with AppleTalk and print sharing. The service pack interfered with an essential software package that each server has to run, causing a memory allocation mismatch error. I had to uninstall the service pack to fix the problem. However, the solution wasn't that simple.

I had installed SP6a from a mapped drive. According to Microsoft, if you install a service pack from a mapped drive, the installation files might not contain the service pack's uninstall information. In desperation, I tried installing SP5, only to have the system prompt me that a newer service pack version was on the system, so I couldn't perform the installation. The following steps outline my workaround: Copy SP6a to each machine. Reinstall SP6a with the uninstall option selected and reboot. Rename the uninstall directory and save it. From another server that has SP5's $NtServicePackUninstall$ file, copy this file to the C:\winnt directory on each of the necessary servers. Then, when you run the uninstall program from the servers' Control Panel Add/Remove Programs applet, the systems ask whether you want to uninstall and reinstall SP5. I said yes, and the process completed successfully. I reran the SP5 installation to ensure that the installation was clean, and we haven't had any problems with either of the servers. The big lesson I learned from this situation is that you must locally copy service pack files before you run them. This trick might save someone from reinstalling the OS.

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