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Upgrading from NDS: eDirectory 8 or eDirectory 8.5?

Novell Cool Solutions: Tip
By Marcel Cox

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Posted: 4 Jan 2002

We have a user who wants to upgrade from his existing base of NDS to something more current. The question he's faced with is, does he upgrade straight to eDirectory 8.5, or does he do a two-step upgrade first to eDirectory 8 (supplied on the NW 5.1 CD), and then to eDirectory 8.5?

We found this sound advice from Marcel Cox on Novell's NDS-NetWare Support Forum.

If you are not on NDS8/eDirectory 8 yet, there is no advantage to go to eDirectory 8. You should upgrade directly to eDirectory 8.5. This saves you a lot of installation time. Make sure you use eDirectory 8.5.1. This is the newer international version (which includes English). The original eDirectory 8.5 was English only. Even if you only use English, you still need the international version for more up-to-date files. This is a non-issue if you still have to get eDirectory 8.5 as 8.5.1 is the only version available now. However, if you have an old installation CD, it might be an 8.5 version.

If you don't have the installation files yet, you should go to and select the product labeled "NDS eDirectory 8.5.1 for NetWare (English, Portuguese, French, Italian, German, Spanish)". This is a full version, and for NetWare 5.1, you are licensed to use it without paying anything more. For other platforms, you will have to buy licenses to use it.

[Updated January 7, 2002: Today Novell released eDirectory 8.6.1 for all platforms (available at With this release, eDirectory 8.5.1 is no longer available for download).]

Before installing eDirectory 8.5, you should get the following file and follow the instructions to prepare your schema: As you are still completely on NDS7, you shouldn't have a problem here.

Always install eDirectory 8.5 from a local source. Either send a CD to each site, or copy the files to a local volume of the server. Don't do remote installations. They are too risky. The installation program itself can still be run remotely through RCONSOLE/RCONJ.

Install your local server first. The first installation is the most critical as it will make changes to your global NDS structure. If the first installation succeeds, other installations should be no problem. Also, if you do the first installation on a local server, it's easier to troubleshoot during the installation.

After upgrading a server to eDirectory 8.5, check the minimum patch list ( and install the recommended patches for this version.

After your first installation, make sure everything still works correctly. Check to make sure your servers sync correctly, and the schema is OK. Do not proceed with further installations until you have done a good NDS health check.

As for the Support Pack 3/eDirectory 8.5 installation order, I have no strong opinion on it. However I would strongly advise against doing both installations at the same time. Leave at least a couple of days between installations so that you have enough time to spot problems caused by one of the installations. That way, you make it easier to diagnose the source of any problems that might arise.

As for mixed trees, while not being optimal, they should not cause a problem. Especially when you have no NetWare 4.x servers in your tree. The main downside is that you will not be able to fully take advantage of the new eDirectory 8.5 features until all servers are running that version. So it is not critical that all servers are upgraded in a short period.

Some pitfalls for NDS7 -> eDirectory 8/8.5 upgrades:
During the upgrade, the database will be replaced by a completely new database. This new database works differently and this has some impacts:
  1. Obituaries that have not finished processing before the upgrade might get stuck or lost. So make sure there are no outstanding obituaries before the upgrade. You can check this by running "DSREPAIR -a", "Advanced options"->"Check external references" on each server.
  2. Local IDs. The upgrade will change all local IDs. You should be aware that this may have an impact on everything that uses local IDs. More precisely, local IDs are used in the following cases:

    1. File system ownership and trustee assignments. During the eDirectory install, the installation program will swap the IDs for all owners and trustees of *mounted* columns. For any volume that is not mounted during the install, trustees and file ownership will be lost. The ID swap will occur after an automatic server reboot. So make sure *all* volumes are automatically mounted from your AUTOEXEC.NCF. As an extra precausion, you can use some utility like TBACKUP or an SMS enabled backup software to backup your trustees. Another important impact of this is backups you made before the upgrade. If your backup software is SMS compliant and uses TSA500.NLM to access the files, there should be no problem. However if your backup software bypasses TSA500.NLM, your backups will be based on local IDs, and a restore from an old backup will not restore file ownership and trustees, but only the data.
    2. Bindery objects. Bindery objects use local IDs as idendifincation. As local IDs change, bindery objects may break. This will for instance commonly happen in the following 2 cases:
      • users with bindery directory in SYS:MAIL. The mapping to the mail directory will be lost and bindery login scripts or other files in the MAIL directory will be lost
      • bindery print queues will break during the upgrade and will have to be recreated after the upgrade. Bindery queues are queues for which the QDR directory is in SYS:SYSTEM. Queues which reside in the QUEUES directory on any volume are NDS queues (even if used in bindery mode), and will be fine. The most common use of bindery print queues is using external print servers that only support bindery mode, or that are configured in bindery mode.

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