Patches for software or operating systems are always worth getting to keep your system up to date. These patches can rectify known problems before they strike your computer. But occasionally the patches are themselves flawed and the cure is worse than the disease.
That's what happened to Novell when they released a patch for NetWare 5 last month, called Support Pack 3 it was designed to fix a series of known problems. Unfortunately when you installed the Support Pack it crashed whole disk drives!
The problem only affects users of Novell's new NSS (NetWare Storage Services) hard drive system. NSS is Novell's answer to Microsoft NT's NTFS as a high performance, secure file system for large drives. NSS was released with NetWare 5 and must be specifically installed. So you must have NetWare 5 with an NSS partition and have applied Support Pack 3 to be affected.
As an interim measure Novell released a patch for the Support Pack, only needed by NSS users. Now they've tried for a more complete fix by repackaging the Support Pack as v3a.
If you haven't applied Support Pack 3
Download the updated patch from Novell. If you haven't applied the support pack already you should download this new version. Be careful to ensure that any Support Pack 3 you apply is the v3a variant -- the older patch may be on a CD, even a Novell supplied CD (i.e., Consolidated Support Pack CD or Connection CD).
If you have applied Support Pack 3 (no NSS drives)
Download a patch update (v3 to 3a) from Novell direct. This will update you to SP3a which mainly fixes the NSS problem but also some other matters. Doing this protects you if NSS drives are installed in the future and keeps your Netware version the same as others who have Support Pack 3a.
If you have applied Support Pack 3 (with NSS drives)
The only way to recover from a lost NSS partition caused by Support Pack 3 is to recreate the partition and restore data from a backup. If you're installed the patch but not lost your NSS drives then thank your lucky stars and call Novell Support quickly for assistance in avoiding a problem.
Novell did have a Knowledgebase article on this problem but it's not available at the moment. Hopefully it will be restored to public view soon.