Win2K Support Tools; Diagnosing Connectivity Problems

Win2K Support Tools
Did you know that many of the Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Resource Kit utilities and tools are available on every Windows 2000 distribution CD-ROM? To install these utilities, run setup.exe from the CD-ROM's Support folder. You can install the setup program in just a few seconds, and you don’t need to reboot after the installation completes.

When the setup program finishes, you’ll find a new Start menu Program group called Win2K Support Tools that contains an excellent Help file that documents nearly 50 utilities. The Help file organizes these utilities into six categories: computer management, deployment, diagnostic, file and disk tools, network management, and performance tools. Some of the utilities are standalone programs, and some are Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-ins; all of them will help you diagnose and troubleshoot problems with Active Directory (AD), replication, server-to-server and server-to-workstation connectivity, ACLs, DNS, and more.

Microsoft periodically releases updates for Win2K Support Tools. To stay current, you should examine the Support folder that ships with every service pack and update your installation whenever you find that the folder contains new files.

Diagnosing Win2K Connectivity Problems
When network connectivity is an ongoing problem, install the Win2K Support Tools, open a command prompt on the system experiencing the problem, and run the Netdiag tool. This comprehensive tool runs 25 different tests on the local system to identify and test local network-specific configuration information and global connectivity status. The local tests analyze and report on installed hotfixes, TCP/IP configuration, and installed network adapter status. The global tests analyze domain membership, TCP/IP gateway status, browser operation, WINS and DNS status, Win2K domain controller (DC) discovery, active trust relationships, Kerberos and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) status, and active modem and active WAN connection status.

When you run netdiag.exe, include the /l switch (i.e., netdiag /I) to direct Netdiag’s output to the log file netdiag.log so that you can peruse the results in a text file instead of scrolling through a large console window. The best thing about this utility is that with one operation, Netdiag can deliver a full synopsis of most critical network components. When you save the output, you can compare systems with connectivity problems and try to identify common problems, and you can produce before and after status reports.

Using the following switches, you can specify the amount of detail that each test reports:

  • /q (quiet)—reports errors only
  • /v (verbose)—include some relevant information
  • /d (debug)—provide all available details

Use these switches to troubleshoot specific Win2K DC discovery issues:

  • /d:<domain name>—find a DC in the specified domain
  • /DcAccountEnum—enumerate DC machine accounts

You might consider installing this utility locally on every workstation to provide detailed troubleshooting information and assist with remote diagnosis. If Netdiag is part of your standard configuration, users experiencing problems can run the report and share the results on the phone, on a network share, or via email.

Application Center 2000 Hotfix Package
If you’re running Application Center 2000, you should be interested in the hotfix bundle that Microsoft released a couple of weeks ago. This package includes updates that correct access violations in Inetinfo and Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), a Network Load Balancing (NLB) memory leak, and a DHCP gateway problem. The hotfix package is self-installing. You must call Microsoft support to obtain the update.

This hotfix package includes updates that the following Microsoft articles document:

Win2K NLB Bug Fix
Do you remotely administer Win2K NLB servers? If so, you might receive an error message citing a "WMI provider failure" when you try to start the WMI provider to connect to an NLB server. In some cases, a bug in the NLB driver can send the remote control request immediately back to the requesting port on the system where you attempted to start WMI, which results in an invalid remote response. The invalid response prevents WMI from starting properly. You should call Microsoft Support to get the bug fix, which includes new versions of wlbsctrl.dll and wlbsprov.dll that have release dates of May 25, 2000. Microsoft article Q263452 documents this problem.

Win2k NTvdm Bug Fix
Here’s a Win2K update to correct a problem in 16-bit programs that call the GlobalAlloc() API repeatedly to allocate large amounts of memory (i.e., in the 1.5MB to 8MB range). After repeated calls to GlobalAlloc(), a bug in the 16-bit memory manager causes the calling program to stop responding and hang. If you still maintain or support 16-bit programs, eliminate this problem by installing the new version of ntvdm.exe. You can only get the new file, which has a release date of February 12, 2001, from Microsoft Support. This correction is probably too late for inclusion in Win2K Service Pack 2 (SP2).

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