When to Reinstall a Service Pack

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After initial installation of a service pack for Windows NT, there are times the service pack may need to be reinstalled. This article describes those scenarios.


The simple rule is this: Any operation that causes system files older than the service pack to be installed (for example, any time you are prompted to install files from the original Windows NT Server CD) should then be followed by reinstalling the service pack.

This includes the following:

  1. Adding any components that install files from the original Windows NT CD.
  2. Performing an emergency repair operation that causes files to be restored that are older than the current service pack files.
  3. Restoring from a tape backup that was created before the time the current service pack was installed
  4. Installation of applications that may install older components.

If you have made any changes that replaced files with older versions as listed above, when asked to restart the computer click "No" until you have reinstalled the service pack, applied any post service pack hotfixes, and applied the latest SSD if on Compaq computer with the Compaq SSD loaded. This will keep the number of times you restart to a minimum and lessen the chance of a blue screen error message when restarting.

In the case of Small Business Server or Windows Terminal Server, these rules apply only for Service Pack 4 and later. Do not reapply Service Pack 3 as it is slip-streamed into the initial build of Small Business Server and Windows Terminal Server.

Service Pack updates also affect installations of Windows NT Option Pack. When Windows NT Option Pack, or components, are reinstalled, the latest service pack should also be reapplied.


Article ID: 196269 - Last Review: February 21, 2014 - Revision: 2.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft BackOffice Small Business Server 4.0
  • Microsoft BackOffice Small Business Server 4.0a
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