Is Your System Ready for Windows 2000?

Windows 2000 Readiness Analyzer
If you’re evaluating Windows 2000 (Win2K) hardware compatibility, you’ll like the Windows 2000 Readiness Analyzer, a utility that tests a system's hardware and software for Win2K compatibility. According to Microsoft Support Online article Q252329, winnt32.exe’s new command-line switch /checkupgradeonly analyzes a system for Win2K compliance. The analyzer compares the devices and applications on the target system to a list of known problems and reports potentially incompatible hardware devices, device drivers, and software applications. The list of incompatible hardware and software is the result of Microsoft and third-party testing, but the list isn't exhaustive (e.g., Microsoft didn't test games or entertainment software extensively). Also, the Readiness Analyzer is reasonably thorough, but results might not be 100 percent accurate in all cases. Some hardware and software that the program determines to be incompatible might work with Win2K (and the reverse might be true in some cases).

You can find winnt32.exe in the Win2K CD-ROM's \i386 directory, or you can download the 2.6MB file from After you install the file, start it by typing winnt32.exe /checkupgradeonly at a command prompt. For Windows 9x upgrades, the setup file creates a report named upgrade.txt in the Windows installation folder. For Windows NT 4.0 or 3.51 upgrades, setup saves the report to winnt32.log in the installation folder.

Installing Windows 2000 and Hotfixes Concurrently
Many of us groan when we have to build a new system and apply multiple hotfixes. With some versions of NT 4.0, we have to apply as many as 14 order-dependent hotfixes, so, with a reboot after each hotfix, an installation could take as long as 4 hours. Microsoft Support Online article Q249149 documents a four-step procedure that you can use to install Win2K and multiple hotfixes in one operation:

  1. Create a distribution folder called i386 on a local or remote system.
  2. Create an answer file using the Setup Manager tool.
  3. Add command lines in the cmdlines.txt file to run the hotfixes during the Win2K setup.
  4. Copy the hotfix files to the distribution folder.

See the article for details about how to create the $OEM$ subdirectory hierarchy under the i386 directory, how to create an answer file, and how to copy hotfix files in the proper format. I didn’t test this process, so let me know if the instructions are accurate and if the procedure works.

New Windows 2000 Winnt32 Options
In addition to /checkupgradeonly, Winnt32 contains several new command-line options to assist you in customizing a Win2K installation. To view a full Help file for the new options, type Winnt32 /? at a command prompt. The following options look useful, especially for creating install kits for hundreds or thousands of workstations:

  • /debug\[level\]:\[filename\] Creates a debug log at the level specified (e.g., /debug4:C:\win2000.log). The default log file is C:\%windows directory%\winnt32.log with a debug level of 2. The log levels are 0 for severe errors, 1 for errors, 2 for warnings, 3 for information, and 4 for detailed information for debugging. Each level includes all preceding levels.
  • /makelocalsource Instructs the setup program to copy all installation source files to your local hard disk. Use /makelocalsource when you want to make installation files available later in the installation.
  • /s:sourcepath Specifies the source location for the Win2K files. To copy files from multiple servers simultaneously, specify multiple /s sources. If you use multiple /s switches, the first server you specify must be available, or the setup process will fail.
  • /tempdrive:drive_letter Directs the setup program to place temporary files on a specified partition and to install Win2K on that partition.
  • /syspart:drive_letter Lets you copy setup program startup files to a hard disk, mark the disk as active, and installs the disk on another computer. When you start the other computer, the machine automatically starts at the next phase of the setup process. You must always use the /tempdrive parameter with the /syspart parameter. The /syspart switch runs only from a computer that already has Win2K, NT 4.0, or NT 3.51 installed on it; the switch can't run from Windows 9x.
  • /cmdcons Adds a Recovery Console option to the OS selection screen for repairing a failed installation. You can run this switch only after running the setup program.
  • /m:folder_name Specifies that the setup program copy replacement files from an alternate location. The setup program will look in the alternate location first and, if files are present, will use them instead of the default location files.
  • /noreboot Instructs the setup program not to restart the computer after the file copy phase of Winnt32 completes so that you can execute another command.
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