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Window Manager
Brian Livingston
New service pack for Windows NT solves Winsock error as we await Windows 2000

WHILE WE'RE WAITING for Microsoft to release Windows 2000 -- officially scheduled for Feb. 17, 2000 -- many people are trying to keep Windows NT 4.0 machines up-to-date. Microsoft issued several upgrades, leading most recently to Service Pack 6 (SP6), although many companies still use an earlier upgrade.

Some recent confusion was forwarded to me by reader Bill Bradley (no, not the presidential candidate). He writes: "I was led to believe that SP6 was to be the last for Windows NT. But while looking at security info on the Microsoft Web site, I found mention of a Service Pack 7. Have you heard about this?"

This issue has occurred because some companies that installed SP6 found that certain applications would no longer connect to a server using TCP/IP. This problem affects Lotus Notes and other Winsock-based applications and results in error messages such as, "Could not connect to server," and "Access denied." The problem also affects companies that had installed SP4 or SP5 and had also installed a Microsoft patch to improve the security of TCP/IP sessions.

Microsoft recommends that those running SP4 and SP5 uninstall the patch until a fixed version is available (which Microsoft promises any day). To uninstall the patch, you can follow the steps described in a Microsoft FAQ at

Those running SP6 can add a new, temporary patch to eliminate the Winsock problem. Go to The link for the patch is in paragraph seven, where it says, "you can update your computer by installing the corresponding X86 or Alpha SP6a hotfix." Click to download the appropriate fix.

The Microsoft FAQ I mentioned above created a little confusion by saying that a permanent patch, when it's available, "will be incorporated into Service Pack 7."

That may be so, but the current upgrade version that Microsoft is distributing is called "Service Pack 6a." That's what you get if you choose the full SP6a download from the allSP6.asp site. SP6a includes the Winsock fix and other tweaks. A list of what SP6a includes is at

Before you install SP6a (or SP4 or SP5), Microsoft cautions that you should first upgrade your version of Computer Associates' Inoculan virus-scanning software, if you use it. Inoculan drivers dated earlier than Feb. 11, 1999, can result in the loss of Microsoft Outlook personal mail folder files (.pst files) and possibly others when you install an NT Service Pack. A link to the drivers is at

All these issues, including the original Winsock security patch and the need to uninstall it in some cases, have been the subject of Microsoft Security Bulletins. You can sign up for notifying e-mail from Microsoft by following the procedures described at Presumably these e-mails will include a notice when the permanent fix to the Winsock problem becomes available.

Reader Bradley will receive a free copy of More Windows 98 Secrets for being the first to suggest this topic to me.

Windows 2000 on standby

Speaking of Windows 2000, Bruce Kratofil (who's working with me on Windows 2000 Secrets) reports a peculiar behavior of the beta software. Windows 2000 (a major upgrade to Windows NT) supports a power-saving mode called Hibernate. On newer computers, Windows 2000 can enter a more sophisticated mode called Standby.

These modes are configured using the Power Options tool in Control Panel. When enabled, your power-saving alternatives become part of the list of Shutdown options.

When Win 2000 enters a power-saving mode automatically, it preserves communications you may have on a modem, ISDN, or virtual private network. But if you enter these modes manually, communications are disconnected. Microsoft says this is by design. See for yourself at


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