Warning, Potential Problems with NT4.0 SP2

Serge Stein/i2Tech ( Serge_Stein@i2.com )
21 Jan 97 15:51:21 EDT

Based on my experiences this past weekend, I'm recommending that Service
Pack 2 for NT 4.0 NOT be installed on NT 4.0 Server.

All three of the servers I have installed SP2 on have run fine for a short
time (a few hours to a few days) then crawled to a near stop. Applications
like NT Explorer, My Computer, and Control Panel start taking 3-10 MINUTES
to start, with intermittent disk activity during the wait. Other
applications just "freeze", becoming completely unresponsive when you try
to navigate your file system to find and open a file. In one case, I left
Wordpad "up" overnight to see if it would ever come back. After 10 hours
it was still frozen. An examination of the tasks which are running on the
system (using Task Manager or Performance Monitor) usually reveals one
process (seemingly picked at random) which is occupying 95-99% of the
available CPU time. Once this behavior begins to appear, it never goes
away, even with a reboot.

I have also started seeing many similar reports from other individuals and
companies who are running NT4.0 SP2 in the NT mail lists I monitor,
convincing me that this is NOT an isolated incident.

I have run McAfee Virus Scan (Nov 96 sig. file) on two of the three systems
with no hits.

I uninstalled SP2 on the one server I had access to this weekend, and it
appears to have solved the problem. This server is now running NT Server
4.0 SP1. Time will tell if the problem is really solved... I will be
reverting the other two servers over the next couple of days.

The three systems involved have differing configurations:

1) Corsair Pro, Intel P133, 32MB, IIS2.0, L.Kahn's NT port of Bind-DNS
4.9.4p1, 2x2.1GB Quantum EIDE HD, IE3.01, Kernel Hotfix applied (post SP2)

2) Generic based on Intel Triton board, Intel P120, 16MB, IIS3.0, MS Proxy
Server (release version) configured for autodial, L.Kahn's NT port of
Bind-DNS 4.9.5, 1x3.0GB Western Digital HD, IE3.01, RAS (configured for
dial-out only) This system also began automatically dialing out on the
modem anytime the system was up, whether Proxy Server was running or not,
with no discernible pattern. Both the RAS and Kernel Post SP2 hotfixes had
been applied. This is the system which was backed up to SP1, and MS Proxy
was removed.

3) Compaq Pro??? 2500 (big mother server), Intel P200, 164MB, IIS2.0,
L.Kahn's port of Bind-DNS 4.9.5, Compaq Fast SCSI Wide II array of 5 2.1 GB
drives, Compaq SSD 1.20a, RAS (configured for both dial-in and dial-out),

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Michael E. Hanson
Gryphon Consulting Services
Gryphon's Gate (http://www.gryphonsgate.com)
1508 JF Kennedy Dr., Suite 207-4
Bellevue, NE 68005-3642

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