How to Perform a Parallel Installation on Small Business Server

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SUMMARY

In some circumstances, a production installation of Small Business Server (SBS) may become unbootable. If other means of troubleshooting (such as booting to Last Known Good configuration, or using an Emergency Repair Disk) do not work, a parallel installation can be extremely useful for troubleshooting blue screen error messages and other error messages that prevent SBS from loading.

Through a parallel installation, files that are damaged or are incorrect versions can be replaced with the correct, undamaged versions. If it is not clear which file is causing the problem, follow the steps outlined in the last part of this article.

You can also make changes to the registry of an unbootable installation through a parallel installation. For additional information, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
165748 How to Disable a Service or Device that Prevents NT from Booting

MORE INFORMATION

NOTE: Before you perform a parallel installation and during the repair process, you should temporarily remove the server from the network. Make sure that you have the necessary drivers available for devices (for example, RAID controllers, modems, and video cards).

Using a Non-SBS Copy of Microsoft Windows NT

Microsoft recommends that you use a non-SBS copy of Windows NT (for example, Microsoft Windows NT Workstation or Microsoft Windows NT Server) if it is available.
  1. Begin the installation process just as if you were loading Windows NT on the computer for the first time.
  2. Do not choose to upgrade the current copy of Windows NT. When you are prompted to upgrade, press N to select a new installation.
  3. Leave the partition information intact, and if possible, install to a different partition than the production installation. Installing to the same partition can damage programs that are installed in the Program Files folder, and can lead to fragmentation when you remove the parallel installation.
  4. Make sure to specify an alternate folder name such as Winntfix or Winntjunk for the installation.

    NOTE: Do not install to the Winnt or Winnt.sbs folders, or you may overwrite the production installation that you are trying to fix. The default folder for SBS is Winnt.sbs, but some Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) providers use a Winnt folder for the SBS installation.
  5. Load the parallel installation as a primary domain controller (PDC) with the current administrator password or a blank password, no networking, and no accessories.

    NOTES
    • If you try to install as a stand-alone server, the installation will fail. For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
      178349 Stop 0x0000009a When Installing Small Business Server
    • If you installed SBS on a large IDE hard disk, are using SBS 4.0 or Windows NT 4.0 for the parallel installation, and Setup appears to hang while formatting, refer to the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article:
      197667 Installing Windows NT on a Large IDE Hard Disk
      This is assuming that the partition needs to be formatted to perform the parallel installation. In most cases, the partition is already formatted and this is not likely to be an issue.

Using an SBS Version of Windows NT

If the only available copy of Windows NT is an SBS version, you need to take extra caution and use a slightly different procedure.
  • You need to rename the Winnt.sif file on Setup disk 2. This eliminates the automation of the SBS installation and allows you to install just the Windows NT portion.

    NOTE: Do not delete the Winnt.sif file. After you run the parallel installation, be sure to rename the file back to Winnt.sif.
  • You may also need to modify the Txtsetup.sif file on disk 1. SBS requires a minimum of 1.3 GB of free space; and the parallel installation may not work even though you do not need that much free space. To work around this issue:
    1. Insert disk 1 in the drive. Open the Txtsetup.sif file in Notepad and search for the [SetupData] string, as shown in the following example:
      [SetupData]
      
      FreeSysPartDiskSpace = 750
      
      UpgradeFreeSysPartDiskSpace = 750
      
      FreeDiskSpace = 131872
      
      UpgradeFreeDiskSpace = 48368
      						
      NOTE: You can change the FreeDiskSpace section to a value that represents the space that is available. It is very important that you remove the server from the network before you perform a parallel installation, because you must install SBS as a primary domain controller (PDC). If you attempt to install SBS as a stand-alone server, a blue screen error message is displayed. For additional information, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
      178349 Stop 0x0000009a When Installing Small Business Server
    2. Begin the installation process just if you were loading SBS on the computer for the first time.
    3. Do not choose to upgrade the current copy of Windows NT. Instead, press N for new.
    4. Leave the partition information intact, and if possible, install to a different partition than the production installation. Installing to the same partition can damage programs that are installed in the Program Files folder, and can lead to fragmentation of the partition when you remove the parallel installation.

      NOTE: The drive space limits of 4 GB for the Text mode copy portion of Setup may be an issue. For example, if you have an 8-GB drive that has a 3-GB drive C and a ~5-GB drive D partition for data with 2 GB of data on it, the drive D partition is probably not usable for installation. In this case, you need to install the parallel to the primary partition.
    5. Make sure to specify an alternate folder name such as Winntfix or Winntjunk for the installation.

      NOTE: Do not install to the Winnt or Winnt.sbs folders, or you may overwrite the production installation that you are trying to fix. The default folder for SBS is Winnt.sbs, but some OEM providers use a Winnt folder for the SBS installation.
    6. Do not put the server back on the network until the parallel installation is deleted. After you confirm that you are able to boot to the original installation, modify the Boot.ini file (found on the root of the drive) so that your original installation is again the default. Before you open the Boot.ini file, make sure you remove the read-only attribute, or you cannot save the changes. The Boot.ini file looks similar to the following example:
      [bootloader]
      
      timeout=30
      
      default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\JUNK
      
      [operating systems]
      
      multi(0) disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\JUNK="Parallel"
      
      multi(0) disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\JUNK="Parallel [VGA mode]" /basevideo /sos
      
      multi(0) disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT.SBS="BackOffice Small Business Server"
      
      multi(0) disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT.SBS="BackOffice Small Business Server [VGA mode]" /basevideo /sos
      						
    7. Simply replace \JUNK with \WINNT.SBS in the default line. Delete the lines in the operating system section that refer to the parallel installation.
    8. Save the changes, close the Boot.ini file, and then restore the read-only attribute.
    9. Use Windows Explorer to delete the folder. For additional information about removing a parallel installation, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
      244378 System Cleanup After a Parallel Installation of Windows NT 4.0

If the Corrupted or Incorrect File Is Unknown

  1. After you finish the parallel installation, you need to install the same service pack level as the production installation. A mismatch of service pack files is likely to cause blue screen error messages. Also, make sure that the same version of Internet Explorer is loaded on the parallel installation.

    NOTE: If you receive a "the target file is newer than the source, do you want to overwrite" message, click No to All. Do not overwrite newer files.
  2. From Windows Explorer in the parallel installation, back up the files in the Winnt.sbs\System32 folder and the files in the Winnt.sbs\System32\Drivers folder to temporary folders. Back up only the files, not the folders.
  3. Select only the files in the ParallelInstallation\System32 folder (do not select the folders).
  4. On the Edit menu, click Copy. Switch to the Winnt.sbs\System32 folder and from the Edit menu, and then click Paste.
  5. Follow the same steps for the System32\Drivers folder. Again, select only the files, not folders. When you are prompted to overwrite, click Yes to All.
  6. Close Windows Explorer, restart the server, and then boot into the production installation.

REFERENCES

For additional information, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
178349 Stop 0x0000009a When Installing Small Business Server
216586 INFO: What Does the Winnt.sif File Do?
165748 How to Disable a Service or Device that Prevents NT from Booting
197667 Installing Windows NT on a Large IDE Hard Disk
244378 System Cleanup After a Parallel Installation of Windows NT 4.0
(c) Microsoft Corporation 2000, All Rights Reserved. Contributions by Lynne Williams, Microsoft Corporation.

Properties

Article ID: 252777 - Last Review: December 3, 2003 - Revision: 3.0
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft BackOffice Small Business Server 4.0
  • Microsoft BackOffice Small Business Server 4.0a
  • Microsoft BackOffice Small Business Server 4.5
Keywords: 
kberrmsg kbinfo kbenv KB252777

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