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What to Do Before Calling Technical Support for OS Issues

Articles and Tips: tip

Robert Rodriguez
Research Engineer
Novell, Inc.

01 Aug 2003

NetWare is very reliable, but there are times when problems can arise. When trouble comes to your NetWare server, it is sometimes helpful to have a list of steps that help you identify the root cause of the problem.

TID #10016899 is such a document, from which this Tip and Trick has been adapted. The TID has five simple steps that help you determine what the problem might be. If you can't find the solution, these steps also prepare you for contacting technical support at Novell. So let's go down through these steps.

Step 1: What version of NetWare do you have?

You can probably answer this without even looking. If not, you will need to download the file CONFIG.NLM and find out. (The current version is available at

What about other Novell software that's running on the server? What about third-party software? All of these pieces may be playing a part in your server problem. Get versions on all of the software that you're using.

Step 2: What patches have been applied to the server?

Is your server current? If not, go to and find out. If the server is out of date, get it current. What about patches for other Novell software and third-party applications? If they're not current, update them also. And don't forget your drivers--make sure they are up to date as well.

Step 3

If there are still problems, then it's time to identify the symptoms your server is having.

  1. Is there anything in the error logs?

  2. Are there any error messages?

  3. Does the problem occur only under certain conditions?

  4. Can you duplicate the problem? (If so, list the steps.)

  5. Could the problem be with hardware?

  6. If you unload certain applications or NLMs, does the problem go away?

  7. When was the last time you scanned for viruses? Are the virus definitions up to date?

  8. When did the problem first appear?

  9. What has recently changed in the system?

Step 4

At this point, it is time to use a few utilities to see if the problem can be isolated. Support recommends the following:

  1. Use CONFIG.NLM and config reader to check software versions. In some cases, the output of this NLM will be requested by technical support.

  2. Run VREPAIR.NLM if you are having volume problems.

  3. Run DRVSPEC.EXE to verify compatibility of ODI modules and LAN drivers. The current version is at

Step 5

If you've gone through the previous steps without a resolution, it is now time to review some documents that cover diagnosing and solving problems.

If you want to search all of Novell, use the search dialog at the top of any Novell web page. There is a drop down window that allows you to refine your search to specific sub-sites, such as or

  • Try the support forums. This service is free and has some of the most knowledgeable sysops around. Begin your search at

  • Check your manuals, online documentation, and so forth. Novell's online documentation is at Also, don't forget those readme files on your product CDs. They sometimes contain late-breaking information that never made it into the product documentation.

  • TID #10012765 ( covers Performance, Tuning, and Optimization. While this isn't exactly troubleshooting, many of the tips found in this TID can fix related server problems.

* Originally published in Novell AppNotes


The origin of this information may be internal or external to Novell. While Novell makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information, Novell does not make explicit or implied claims to its validity.

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