Troubleshooting Installations

In most cases, installing Windows 2000 is a relatively painless process; however, when Setup fails for some reason or another, life gets more difficult. Fortunately, most installation problems are easily solved. The most common problems are covered here. Additional troubleshooting procedures can be found in Chapter 38.

More Info

You can find additional troubleshooting help either in the Windows 2000 Help System's troubleshooters (admittedly not much good unless you have access to a functioning Windows 2000 machine) or in the Microsoft Knowledge Base, available online through

Setup Freezes or Locks Up

Sometimes Windows 2000 Setup inexplicably locks up during the installation process. If you receive a Stop Error message, write it down and consult either the Stop Errors troubleshooter in Windows 2000 Help or Microsoft technical support.

In general, these failures are intermittent and don't come with anything as helpful as an error message. First reboot the system by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del. Do this repeatedly, if necessary. If you get no response, press the Reset button on the computer or turn the system off, wait 10 seconds, and then turn it back on. If you see a Boot menu, choose the Windows 2000 Server Setup option to allow Windows 2000 Setup to attempt to continue with its installation. If no Boot menu appears, launch Setup again. In either case, don't choose to repair the installation, but instead choose to continue with Setup.

Setup usually detects that an error occurred with its last attempt to install Windows 2000 and compensates by using a safer method of installation. If Setup hangs or stops responding again, repeat this process. Sometimes, Setup hangs multiple times before it finishes installing Windows 2000, so be persistent. If installation freezes at a particular part of Setup, try choosing simpler setup options, if applicable. For example, leave out optional Windows components.

Other procedures you can use to fix setup problems are as follows:

  • Disable the system cache (processor cache) in the BIOS, and then run Setup again. Consult the hardware documentation for information on the correct procedure to do this. After Setup is complete, enable the cache again to avoid a significant performance loss.
  • Try adding a wait state to the RAM in the system BIOS. This can help with partially faulty RAM chips. (However, if this server is important—and what server isn't?—plan on replacing that iffy RAM before doing any critical work on the machine.)
  • Verify that the RAM modules are manufactured by the same company and are of the same speed and type. Although this isn't a necessity, it can often eliminate problems.
  • Switch the order of the RAM modules, or remove some modules and try installing them again.
  • Test the RAM modules for faulty RAM chips with a third-party software program. Replace any faulty modules and run Setup again.
  • Check the computer for an MBR virus by booting it from a floppy disk that has been checked for viruses, and then run a virus-checking program and scan the drives for any viruses. If you find any viruses, clean them from the system and run Setup again.

Real World

ACPI BIOS Compatibility Problems

If Setup consistently freezes during the Windows-based Setup Wizard and the system has an older ACPI-compatible BIOS (dated January 1, 2000 or earlier), the BIOS may not function in ACPI mode with Windows. The freezes might happen at any time during the Setup Wizard, although they most frequently happen during the device detection phase. If you suspect the BIOS isn't working properly with Windows, download the latest version from the system vendor.

If you still have trouble, or if no updated BIOS is available, try disabling ACPI during Setup by pressing F5 at the beginning of the text-mode phase of Setup, right after it prompts you to press F6 to install third-party storage drivers. If this doesn't solve the setup problems, you don't have a problem with the ACPI support in the BIOS (ACPI support can only be added back by reinstalling Windows, usually by a same-version upgrade).

You can also manually enable or disable ACPI support after the file copy phase of Setup completes, right before the computer reboots into the Windows Setup Wizard. (Sometimes you can do this after the system freezes during the Setup Wizard.) To force Windows to enable or disable ACPI support, follow these steps:

  1. After the text-mode phase of Setup completes but before Windows reboots into the Setup Wizard, go to a command prompt.
  2. Type attrib -r -s -h c:\txtsetup.sif at the command prompt.
  3. Open the c:\Txtsetup.sif file using the edit command or another text editor and search for "ACPIEnable=".
  4. To force ACPI support to be enabled, which sometimes fixes setup problems, change the "ACPIEnable=" value to 1.
  5. To disable ACPI support, change the "ACPIEnable=" value to 0.
  6. Save the file and reboot into the Windows Setup Wizard.

Again, if any of the steps you take reveal questionable hardware, replace the hardware before you rely on the computer to store important data or provide critical functions to users.

Setup Stops During File Copying

If Setup locks up while copying files, you might have a problem with IDE drive configuration. Try one of these solutions:

  • Reboot the machine using Ctrl+Alt+Del or Reset, and go into the system BIOS. Verify that the IDE controllers are enabled and configured properly. Make sure that any IDE hard disks or CD-ROMs are detected properly. (You might have to reboot the system and watch the display to verify this because often the drives aren't displayed inside the BIOS.)
  • Check the physical jumper settings on the drives to make sure that they are properly configured to have one master and a maximum of one slave per IDE channel.
  • If the CD-ROM drive is on the same channel as the hard disk, move it to the secondary channel and configure it to master.
  • Try lowering the data transfer rate for the drives; for example, configure the drives to use PIO mode 2 instead of Ultra DMA mode or Ultra 66 transfer mode.
  • Check to make sure that the drives are cabled correctly and that the cables aren't faulty.
  • Check the hardware settings to make sure that the hard disk controller isn't conflicting with another device. Try removing all cards from the computer except for the display card and SCSI adapter (if you're using a SCSI drive), and run Setup again. If Setup succeeds, add the cards one by one after installation, and use the Hardware Wizard in Windows 2000 to configure the devices and troubleshoot any hardware conflicts you encounter.

Windows 2000 provides a variety of tools you can use to boot a system that doesn't want to start, including the Safe Mode and Last Known Good Boot options, as well as the Recovery Console, which allows you command-line access to an NTFS or FAT drive that won't boot (see Chapter 38 for more information).

If none of this helps, try the recommendations in the previous section or consult the Windows 2000 Knowledge Base.

Previous OS Will Not Boot

When you install Windows 2000 on a computer that's already using an operating system and you choose not to upgrade, Setup creates a dual boot so that you can select which operating system you'd like to use at boot time.

If the computer never displays the Windows 2000 Loader menu that allows you to choose the previous operating system, the problem is most likely one of two issues: either the Boot.ini file has a timeout set to 0 (and thus doesn't display the Boot menu), or the MBR was overwritten during Setup, preventing you from booting the previous operating system even if you have the proper entry in the Boot.ini file.

Changing the Default Operating System and Boot Times

To change which operating system Windows boots by default, as well as to control how long Windows displays a choice of operating systems at boot time, follow these steps:

  1. Double-click the System icon in the Windows Control Panel.
  2. Click the Advanced tab, and then click Startup And Recovery.
  3. Select the operating system you want to boot by default from the Default Operating System list box.
  4. Select the Display List Of Operating Systems For check box and specify the number of seconds you want the Boot menu displayed.

You can also do this by manually changing the timeout value in the Boot.ini file to a value higher than 0. To do so, follow these steps (for more information on the Boot.ini file, see Chapter 38):

  1. At a command prompt either in the Recovery Console or Windows 2000 proper, type the command

    attrib -r -s -h c:\boot.ini

    edit c:\boot.ini

  2. Change the timeout value from 0 to the number of seconds that you want the system to display the Windows 2000 Loader screen before automatically booting. (The default is 30 seconds.)
  3. Save and exit Edit, and then type the following command:

    attrib +r +s +h c:\boot.ini

  4. Reboot the computer normally.

You can force the Windows 2000 Boot menu to display at startup by holding down the Spacebar after the BIOS screens are displayed. This displays the Hardware Profile/Configuration Recovery screen. Press F3 to display the Windows 2000 Loader screen with no timeout value.

Restoring the MBR of the Previous OS

If the previous operating system still doesn't boot properly, you might need to re-create the MBR for the operating system that you had previously installed. This is risky business, so make sure that you have the time to reinstall the operating system and restore a backup if you run into trouble.

To re-create the MBR for a version of Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me, use the following steps:

  1. Boot the computer with a boot disk for the operating system you are unable to boot. (Make sure the disk contains the file.)
  2. Type A:\sys c: at the command prompt to transfer the system files from the floppy disk to the hard disk.

    If this step doesn't work on your operating system, transfer the system files the way the operating system allows, or try using any MBR repair utilities bundled with the operating system.

  3. Remove the floppy disk and reboot your computer. Verify that the operating system you wanted to repair boots properly before performing the next step.
  4. Boot Windows 2000 using the Windows 2000 CD-ROM or Setup boot disks.
  5. In the Welcome To Setup screen press F10, or type R followed by C.
  6. Choose the Windows installation to log on to and then enter the administrator password.
  7. Type fixmbr to write a valid MBR for the system.
  8. Reboot the computer and choose the appropriate operating system from the Windows 2000 Loader menu.

Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Administrator's Companion
Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Administrators Companion
ISBN: 0735617856
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 320

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