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Microsoft KB Archive/171618

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Knowledge Base

Article ID: 171618

Article Last Modified on 11/1/2006


  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51

This article was previously published under Q171618


When you install Service Pack 5 in a mass deployment for Windows NT 3.51 on IDE-based systems, using the following command may render you system unbootable:

Update.exe -u

This service pack switch performs an automated installation. When the -u switch is used with Update.exe, it will automatically close all applications and restart the system after the service pack is applied.

You may see one of the following behaviors:

  • Computer gets to the boot loader (Boot.ini) file but will stop responding (hang) on (most common symptom)

  • Computer stops responding at the end of the POST at a black screen without displaying the Windows NT Boot menu options.


This problem is caused by the IDE Drives buffers (cache) not being flushed properly before the computer is reset.


To recover the system after the service pack installation, follow these steps:

  1. Create a Windows NT boot floppy disk. For additional information, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    119467 Creating a Boot Disk for an NTFS or FAT Partition

  2. When booted to Windows NT, run a chkdsk /f on the system drive.

    NOTE: Because this is the system partition, you will need to keep the boot floppy disk in drive A so the computer can reboot and run chkdsk.
  3. The system should now be recovered. Verify by doing a reboot without the Windows NT boot floppy disk in drive A.



To keep this problem from happening with future installations of Service Pack 5, perform the following steps:

  1. Create a batch file that will call the Update.exe and Shutdown.exe (Shutdown is a Windows NT Resource kit utility that will shut down the system).

    For example:

          %path%\update -u
          %path%\shutdown /L /R /T:60 /Y /C

    The above shutdown command forces a local shutdown (/L), reboots when shutdown (/R), waits 60 seconds before beginning shutdown (/T:60), Answers 'yes' to all prompts (/Y), and forces a close of all apps (/C). For more information on the shutdown command, please see the Windows NT 3.51 Resource Kit.

  2. Modify the Update.inf in SP5 so that it does not automatically reboot when the -u switch is used. Below is a sample of code that should be commented out using a semi-colon (;) to stop the automatic reboot.

            Rebootend =+
          ;********* bypass reboot**************
              ;set Reboot = YES
              ;ifstr(i) $(Unattended) != TRUE
             ;install Install-Shutdown
             ;ifstr(i) $(ForceClose) != TRUE
                 ;set ForceAppsClosed = NO
                 ;set ForceAppsClosed = YES
             ;install Install-Shutdown2
          ;**********ends here********************

Additional query words: SP5 Hangs Unattended

Keywords: kbprb KB171618