W2K loses GUID when it runs out of memory

by Wayne Maples [Published on 20 April 2004 / Last Updated on 20 April 2004]

Windows 2000 has a gotcha! that results in the system being unable to read the GUID, globally unique identifier. The occurs when the system runs out of memory. As a side effect, it thinks that there isn't a GUID and writes a new one right on top of the old one. When this happens, you system is dead. You lose access to the Active Directory. If you don't have a copy of the GUID to restore, its reinstall time. A fix is supposed to be in the next W2K service pack but until then, you can make a backup copy of the GUID:

  • In regedt32 navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Cryptography
  • Save the key as a text file such as GUID.TXT
The first item in the list is the actual GUID, so you may safely delete all of the other key blocks.

The bug is rare. Your system has to run out of memory before it can occur.

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