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00168: Lock of the header problem under Novell Ports


Lock of the header problem under Novell Ports



Workstations appear to hang, although server is not locked. 


When BBx accesses a file for an OPEN, READ, WRITE, etc., it briefly exclusively locks the header of the file. It will normally release the lock after accessing the header, so that this lock is usually so temporary that is cannot be detected via MONITOR (see below). However, on the Novell ports there is a known problem where NetWare will not let us release the lock on the header of the file. Because everyone who attempts to access the file has to lock the header, and will wait forever until they can lock the header, they will appear to hang while they wait for the lock to be released. 


Here is how to check to see if this is the problem. At the server console, use the MONITOR utility. To load this utility at the server prompt> LOAD MONITOR. 

It may say it is already loaded, then toggle to the MONITOR screen (the way to do this varies depending on the Novell version or if you are accessing the Novell console via RCONSOLE.) 

Once the utility is loaded, select CONNECTION INFORMATION, this will give a list of active users logged into the network. You will need to check each active connection and all open files listed. Highlight the connection, press the ENTER key. This will show a list of open files on the network for this user. Highlight each file and press the ENTER key, the screen will display something similar to the following: 

(note: pressing the ESCAPE key will take you back a screen) 

NetWare v3.12 (250 user) – 8/12/93 NetWare 386 Loadable Module 
Connection Information for SUPERVISOR 
Open Files 
Start End Record Lock Status 

3FFC0001 3FFC0001 Locked Exclusive Not Logged 
3FFC0000 3FFC0000 Locked Exclusive Not Logged 

This lock number may not be the same as shown above, but if it is a high address, similar to the example above, it is okay. They have the problem if it is a low address that begins with 0000000F. 

This can be cleared by deleting the users connection, Press the ESCAPE key back to the first screen under Connection Information, highlight the users and press the DELETE key. 

The second method of verification can be used if the application is using the Data Server to access files. If this is the case, then the Data Server should be started with logging enabled (See the Data Server’s manual for more information on this). 

After the lock of header problem occurs, there will be a line in the Data Server’s log file that says something to the effect of ‘Error 255 on first unlock’. 


The problem has been determined to be directly related to the Novell workstation drivers. The problem has been fixed with Novell’s 32-bit Client Kit for Windows version 2.5 

Occasionally updating the Client Kit doesn’t solve the problem if files are being accessed via the Data Server NLM. However, the Client Kit should be updated to the current version since BASIS doesn’t test current product with older drivers. 

If this is the case, the solution is to to change the “frame type” setting for the IPX/SPX protocol in the Networking control panel. By default, the frame type is set to Auto. If changed to anything but Auto the problem goes away completely. 

Last Modified: 12/17/1998 Product: PRO/5 Operating System: Novell

BASIS structures five components of their technology into the BBx Generations.

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