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NDS Tips, Tricks, and Switches

Novell Cool Solutions: Tip
By Kent Beck, Kent Purdy

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Posted: 5 May 1999

Kent and Kent shared this info during their session at BrainShare 99. Actually, they used the lure of this handout to keep everyone alert and in their seats until the end of the session. Based on the number of people still in the room, it worked. They collected some great troubleshooting fodder, which is difficult info to come by, and we're publishing it here so everyone, even the folks who left early, can benefit from their experience.

Tips for Troubleshooting NDS with NetWare 5

Problem: Time Synchronization
On rare instances it may be possible for a server's time zone offsets to have a negative value from the GMT. If the server including the negative offset, is shutdown and then restarted, all of the replicas contained within that partition are given a future timestamp will be in the future by the offset value.
Resolution: The best resolution is to patiently wait until time catches up to the offset. Synthetic time will decease once the time reaches the correct offset. If waiting is absolutely not an option, use DSREPAIR to repair the timestamps and declare anew epoch on the problem partition.

Problem: 618 error during schema sync
A 618 error may occur when a schema class becomes invalid with corrupted attributes.
Resolution: To prevent this from happening you need at least version 7.23 of DS.NLM. If you do not have the latest DS.NLM applied, a Novell dial-in will be required to rectify the problem.

Problem: 634 Error During In-Place Server Upgrade
With certain LAN cards, the driver must be loaded and bound for an in-place server upgrade from 4.x to 5.x to be successful and not cause an NDS error. Instances have been recorded where the LAN card is unbound during the server upgrade.
Resolution: Toggle to the console prompt. Load and bind the LAN card.

Problem: Random 625 errors
In NW4 there is a DSTrace parameter, !Z, that increases the wait time before a server will return a 625 error. In NW5, this functionality was left out. As a result, random 625 errors may occur on slower wide area links.
Resolution: The !Z functionality was restored in version 7.23 and later of the DS.NLM.

Tip: Encountering 714 Error When Running Repair Remote ID's within DSREPAIR.
NetWare 5 does not contain the Repair Remote IDs functionality. When running this option in a mixed 4.x/5.x environment, DSREPAIR will return and error 714 ERR_NOT_IMPLEMENTED. This is completely normal and there is no reason for concern.

DSRepair Tips


Allows the automatic loading and unloading of DSREPAIR so a repair local database (same as in advanced options) may be scheduled using the CRON.NLM.


Allows the automatic loading and unloading of DSREPAIR so unattended full repair of the database may be scheduled using CRON.NLM.


Creates a dsrepair.dib file in SYS:SYSTEM. Nice in case a disaster occurs. One caveat, it must be resorted with DSDUMP. Still nice to have just in case. Loads and automatically unloads after creating dib file so this option can be scheduled with CRON.NLM. If dib needs to be located somewhere other than SYS because of size limitations, it can be created manually in advanced options in DSRepair, and you can modify the path.


This is an old switch, but it's still useful. If database inconsistencies occur between replicas, run this option on the replicas with the unknown objects and when sync cycles occur. The unknown objects will be updated with information from the valid objects.

Do the following to execute:

LOAD DSREPAIR -xK3. Select Advanced Options>Repair Local DS database. Make sure Check Local References equals yes. This is the only thing you need to set to yes. Perform the repair. Save the repaired database. Exit DSREPAIR. This process zeroes out all the backlinks on that server and purges the orphaned obituaries.

To rebuild the external references list, at the server console, follow the steps below:

  3. Toggle to the Directory Services screen. Once you seethe line "BACKLINK: Finished checking backlinks successfully," you may go back to the system console and SET DSTRACE=OFF.

    Warning: This process generates excessive NDS traffic, especially on heavily replicated servers. The backlink process could take hours to complete its sync cycle.

DSTRACE Filters You Want to Know About

Using this hex DSTRACE filter will show debugging information that isn't present when simply turning DSTRACE on. This filter shows inbound/outbound server synchronization, and is widely used by consultants when monitoring DSTRACE screens.

In setting DSTRACE with the *st flag, and administrator can see DS related messages pertaining to Obituaries, Schema, External References, and Limber. This flag is relevant only on the server in which it is set. DS.NLM versions 5.93 and above are required for this to work.

The !Z flag increases the wait time before a server will return a 625 error. This is extremely helpful if you have susceptible circuits within the infrastructure.

Recommended NDS Troubleshooting Resources

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