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An Interrupt Request (IRQ) conflict is a situation where two hardware devices are contending for a single IRQ. NT 4.0's improved Windows NT Diagnostics tool makes troubleshooting IRQ conflicts a snap. Start by checking the IRQ settings for the problem card in Control Panel. Then launch NT Diagnostics (from the Start menu's Programs/Administrative Tools folder), bring up its Resources tab and see what driver owns that IRQ. If the two disagree, you've found your problem.
NT Server 4.0 includes a software-based protocol analyzer or so-called "sniffer" dubbed Network Monitor. To install it, start Control Panel/Network, select the Services tab, click on Add and pick Network Monitor from the list. Once installed, a Network Monitor item is added to the Start menu's Administrative Tools folder. To start it, just select that menu item. To capture network data, Select Capture/Start. After a dozen or so network frames have been captured, select Capture/Stop and View. You'll see a screen with summary data (see John D. Ruley's December 1996 Windows NT column for more information).
Lead the Pack
As we went to press, NT 4.0 was just hitting the streets in shrink wrap. However, rumors were already circulating about its first service pack (SP). If past experience is any guide, SP1 for NT 4.0 will be available by the time you read this-look for it at Microsoft's support Web site (http://www.microsoft.com/support). Select Windows NT Workstation or Server from the GO! list, and look for information on service packs (NT 3.51 is up to SP4 at this writing).
Web Site Problem Solver
Microsoft's Web site has a support area (http://www.microsoft.com/support) with step-by-step guides to troubleshooting problems. To find them, pick Windows NT Workstation or Server from the GO! list. Topics with online guides available include: Applications, Directory Replication, Fault Tolerance, Licensing, Remote Access, Support Resources, User Profiles, File Systems, Joining a Domain, Printing, Setup and Trust Relationships.
If an NT 4.0 system should ever fail to boot, you might recover if you have an up-to-date Emergency Diskette. Normally, one is created during NT Setup. You can also make one using Windows NT's Repair Disk utility: Start/Run RDISK.EXE, and click on Create Repair Disk. Note that you should update your emergency diskette after installing new software or updating user accounts. Using the emergency diskette requires the three NT boot disks. If you don't have the disks, make them with NT Setup: Start/Run WINNT32.EXE /O from the \i386 (or \MIPS, \ALPHA or \PPC as appropriate) directory of your NT distribution CD. The /O switch instructs NT Setup to create the boot diskettes only.
Obscuring the Fax
Since NT 4.0 requires new video, printer and installable file system (IFS) drivers, some NT 3.x applications which depend on those drivers won't work. Applications affected by this problem include fax software that functions as a custom NT print driver, most NT remote control hosts (the client software usually continues to work), and Network File System (NFS) connectivity applications. If you use any application from these categories, check with your vendor before upgrading to NT 4.0-you'll be glad you did!
On multiprotocol networks, it's easier to troubleshoot connectivity problems if only one protocol is active at a time. To disable network bindings for one or more protocols, start Control Panel/Network, and select the Bindings tab. To view the network bindings associated with any Service, click the [+] box to the left of the Service's icon. You can then select any binding and click the Disable button. When all bindings for protocols other than the one you want to test are disabled, click the OK button.
If you're having trouble with NT 4.0 systems "seeing" each other on a TCP/IP network, various IP troubleshooting tools are available. From an NT command prompt, run IPCONFIG.EXE to check the local IP addresses, then use PING.EXE to check low-level connectivity. Also, run NET VIEW to check high-level connectivity.
If you should encounter a problem with NT 4.0's built-in Windows Messaging e-mail client, try the Inbox Repair Tool from the Start menu's Programs/Accessories/System Tools folder. Click on Browse and locate your .PST file (the file your local mail is stored in), then click on Start. The repair tool will scan the file looking for errors, and if necessary, will rebuild it for you.
In NT 4.0, the Windows NT Diagnostics tool has been modified to permit network operation, letting you retrieve information for a remote computer as if you were logged onto the system console. To do this, start NT Diagnostics (from the Start menu's Programs/Administrative Tools folder) and use the File/Select Computer... menu. The only information you can't view remotely will be certain details on the Display tab, and Environment properties for the locally logged-in user.