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Serious Windows 2000 Server problems after security patch installation

In Windows 2000 server I can get no explorer window after security patches installed, but services are running. I tried to start it from the task manager, but the task manager quits if I try to run anything. The same thing happens in safe mode. With a prompt, I can run some apps in safe mode by finding them in the Windows directory, like notepad, but if I try to open a file it quits also. I tried last known good configuration with no change. I succeeded in running the event viewer but in safe mode it doesn't give me much of a clue. I don't know which patches were put in; I was not there and the user does not remember. The server has been running like this for a week but there is no way to tell if the backups are successful since we can't access the GUI. Any help would be appreciated. The only machine I have onsite is one NT4 server the rest are Macintoshes.

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Restore the backups to a different system to verify their contents. Consider building a new machine to replace it or perform a drive image copy from the system then format it as start over. If you don't know what patch caused the problem, there is no way to know how to undo the problem or even if it is possible.

This was first published in December 2003

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