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Portlock Software Newsletter - May 1, 2001


April was a very busy month for all of us. We released a new product "Disk Test for NetWare", we wrote several new documents and released new versions of our products.


Tips & Techniques.

New product "Disk Test for NetWare".

New documents are now available.

Tips & Techniques


  • How healthy are your NetWare disk drives? On some of our test servers, which get quite a workout, we have noticed error messages similar to the following on the NetWare console:

    4-20-2001 9:26:56 am: FILESYS-5.10-178 [nmID=60017]
    Error reading file NWDIR.JAR.
    Offset 000315AEh data stream 0.
    Read was requested by user ADMIN on station 6.

    This error message means that a user attempted to read data from this file. The disk read returned "Media Error" and the read could not be completed. For some reason NetWare does not Hotfix this data block. We recommend backing up this volume, replacing the disk drive and then doing a volume restore.

    The key problem here is that NetWare did not do something with this error. A possible reason is that this is only a temporary error and the read may succeed at some time in the future. However, at this time, NetWare just returns garbage to the user.

    How can you detect that this problem might be happening on your server?

    • Review the console logs located at SYS:/etc/console.log. Look for error messages of this type.
    • Attempt to read all of the files on the volume. This will force NetWare to actually read the file data off the disk. Read errors will be detected at this point. One problem with this strategy is that compressed files may be decompressed at this point. You might run out of disk space.
    • Run a disk verify periodically. Keep track of the number of errors that are reported. If the number of errors increase, then the disk drive if failing - replace it.
    • Run MONITOR.NLM and keep track of the number of "Used hot fix blocks". If the number of used hot fix blocks increase, then the disk drive if failing - replace it.
    • If there are "Used hot fix blocks" on RAID-5 drives, this is a problem. RAID-5 supports fault tolerance, and should not report media problems to NetWare. When this happens, usually an old driver is at fault. Contact the vendor (not Novell) to diagnose why this is happening.

    How to correct this error:

    For each file that NetWare reports this problem, rename the file to something else. An idea would be to create a root level directory called "badfiles". Rename the file specifying this directory as the destination path. Do not delete the file. Deleting the file will move the file and its data blocks to the deleted file list. Later when you purge the volume, the bad disk block will then be available for another file. The problem will then repeat later on. Now recover the defective file from your backup or other sources.

General Information

  • Installation: Our software can be installed on the server using install.nlm or nwconfig.nlm. Our software will also run from a floppy diskette without installation. Just type load a:defrag.nlm or a:resize.nlm at the server console.
  • Run Time Dependencies: Our software needs clib.nlm and its components loaded in order to execute. If you want to defragment or resize the SYS volume, load our software first and let our software dismount the SYS volume. This will ensure that the necessary support NLMs are loaded before SYS is dismounted.
  • Log Files: Our software supports logging events to a logfile. To enable logfiles, use the command line option -logfile=path/filename. You can create the logfile on either a DOS drive letter or a NetWare volume. Don't specify a path on the volume to be defragmented or resized.


Volume Defragment Utility for NetWare

  • To minimize VREPAIR and volume mount time, perform a "Quick Defragment" on your volumes. This will significantly reduce the length of time these two operations take on your servers.
  • To check if the individual directories on a volume are fragmented run a "Volume Report". The evaluation version does not have a size limit for the Volume Report function.
  • To stop a defragment while it is running press <ESC>. The current state of the volume will be written to disk. The next time a defragment is started, it will begin where it was last stopped.

Volume Resize Utility for NetWare

  • Novell's install.nlm or nwconfig.nlm does not support renaming volumes when they have more than one segment. Use our "Volume Rename" function to rename volumes.
  • To delete a volume segment, select a size of 0 on the volume resize screen. The software will first move all of the data located on the selected segment. Then the segment will be deleted.
  • To determine how much data is on a single volume segment, use the "Volume Display" function. The number of "Free Blocks" and "Used Blocks" will be displayed on the right side of the screen. To select other segments, press the <ENTER> key on the displayed field "(select for list)". A listbox of segments will pop up allowing a different segment to be selected.


New product: Disk Test for NetWare


New documents are now available.

We have written several new documents related to NetWare storage:

We have also collected a series of documents from Novell related to storage:

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Last modified: Tuesday March 14, 2006.