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Installing the Latest NetWare 5 Beta: A Techno-junkie's Dream

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Dave Doering
TechVoice, Inc.

01 Jul 1998

Nothing thrills a devoted techno-junkie more than the chance to try the latest and greatest version of a favorite product. And there's none greater than the up and coming NetWare 5 -- formerly codenamed Moab. This NetNote is a peek inside a techno-junkie's mind as he installs the latest beta version of NetWare 5, describing both the thrilling highlights and some of the speedbumps encountered along the way.

Speedbump: Not Looking Before I Leap

Since I was starting with a PC that had Windows 95 running on it, I knew I had to remove the Windows OS and repartition the hard drive. To do this, I need a DOS boot diskette with FDISK and other appropriate utilities. I quickly make one from an MS-DOS box in Windows 95. I then create a 50MB partition for DOS and format it.

Upon rebooting the machine, I see the disturbing message "Starting Windows 95." It seems even DOS's COMMAND.COM has been taken over by the omnipresent Windows. Ah, well. I am still at the DOS prompt, so what does it matter?

I next discover that I have no drive D, which is supposed to be my CD-ROM drive. Rats, I forgot to save the CD-ROM drivers before reformatting that hard disk. Another hour goes by while I scrounge up another Compaq workstation with the same configuration and copy the drivers. I restore the drivers and can now read from the CD-ROM drive.

Speedbump: DOS Isn't DOS Anymore

At this point I start the NetWare 5 installation program from the CD-ROM. I get as far as selecting which language I want to use, and the install fails. Another hour passes while I investigate online to discover that the version of DOS that underlies Windows 95 won't do for a NetWare installation. I don't know if it is a FAT32 problem or what, but NetWare won't proceed with this DOS.

Do you know how hard it is to find a boot diskette for a previous version of DOS these days? After searching for a while, I end up traveling offsite to obtain a DOS 6.2 diskette. (Had I bothered to check the NetWare 5.0 CD-ROM more thoroughly, I would have found a complete set of NDOS 7 files included for just this purpose. I could have created a boot diskette and been on my way immediately.)

Speedbump: The Dreaded Insufficient Memory Warning

No sooner do I restart the NetWare 5 install program when it reports this workstation hasn't got enough RAM to complete the installation. I guess the days of a NetWare server at least installing in 8MB are past. My PC has 48MB of RAM and it says it needs more.

I decide to take a chance and choose "Continue" despite the RAM deficiency. (After all, we techno-junkies are nothing if not fearless.) As if to reward my recklessness, NetWare proceeds with its installation. I am getting excited about seeing the new Java-based graphical install utility.

But so far all I see are a series of standard C-Worthy screens asking me to:

  1. Choose New/Upgrade

  2. Specify Country/Language

  3. Accept PS/2 mouse and Super VGA

  4. Define hardware drivers

At this point I accept the autodetected IDEATA driver and Platform Support Module offered.

Speedbump 4: What's My Line?

NetWare now asks me what LAN driver I want and how to configure it. I am faced with trying to determine the interrupt and I/O address of the internal LAN adapter built in to my Compaq PC. Of course, it is software-configurable and I don't have the Compaq configuration utility. Rather than take more time out to hunt that down, I decide to install a nearby NE2000 card with the standard 3/300 IRQ and I/O port settings. (I'll skip the part here about me downing the system, installing the card, and restarting the install program.)

Once back at the LAN driver selection screen, I select the CNE2000 driver and the appropriate configuration. The program asks if I want to use all available space for a SYS volume. I answer Yes and NetWare proceeds to do a long set of file copies from the CD-ROM.

First Thrill: A Graphical Interface for the Server

Up until now, fifteen minutes into the installation, I have seen only C-Worthy screens. But at last I see the gray-toned Java screen begin to load. On the edge of my seat, I anxiously wait the fourminutes it takes for the screen to become active. After all that, I can do something never before seen in NetWare: I can type in the name of the server in a Java GUI screen! Wow!

I quickly proceed through various type-in screens for IP addressing, tree name, organization name, and administrator's name and password. I even get to use some pick boxes for Time Zone and the location of my License file. Finally, after a total of 300MB of data transfer from the CD-ROM to the hard disk, my new NetWare 5.0 server begins its life.

Speedbump: Can't README with 48MB of RAM

I am feeling pretty fat and happy right now, thinking that I've beaten the odds by ignoring the insufficient memory warning earlier on. The Java-based portion of the install is now innocently asking if I'd like to read the README file now. Of course I do -- what kind of administrator would I be without reading the README file?

Upon clicking "Yes" my bubble was burst. The onscreen error messages tell me the system tried to bring up the README in Java, but ran out of resources. Now the server is locked up. Java won't unload without some resources to handle the process.

My only recourse is to reboot. Fortunately, the server comes up fine. Once the available resources allocated to the install process are freed up, the system hums like a well-oiled machine.

Had I just not bothered with the README file in Java, I could probably have exited gracefully to DOS and restarted NetWare without the cold boot.

Final Thrill: A Whole New World

Despite the speedbumps along the way, I find myself at last in a state of near-nirvana, gazing at the hitherto never-before-seen blinking cursor on a NetWare 5 server. I relish launching the NetWare Administrator utility from my production NetWare 4 network to view my new creation with its variety of strange new objects: a NetWare 5 server, a NetWare 5 volume, and others. For die-hard techno-junkies like me, it doesn't get much better than this.

* Originally published in Novell AppNotes


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