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Service Pack and Version Compatibility Problems
By Darren Green

Any one of the following error messages can indicate package compatibility problems:

  • The parameter is incorrect
  • Invalid class string
  • The system cannot find the file specified

The DTS package format has undergone several changes since the original release of SQL Server 7.0. Compatibility was broken between service pack 1 and 2 for SQL Server 7.0, and again with the introduction of SQL Server 2000. Fortunately SQL Server 7.0 service pack 3 and above is capable of using either the SQL Server 7.0 service pack 2 format or the SQL Server 2000 format.

Upward compatibility has been maintained throughout, but backward compatibility has been lost. Therefore if you create a package on a SQL Server 2000 client and then try and load or execute it on a machine with a lower compatibility level you will see one of the error messages above.

To avoid these issues ensure all machines are on the same service pack. If you have a mixed SQL Server 7.0 and SQL Server 2000 environment then make sure you are using at least service pack 3 on all SQL Server 7.0 servers and clients. It is important to remember that as DTS is a client side application you must service pack client machines as well as servers.

An alternative workaround is to use package passwords. The encrypted package format has not changed at all, so a password protected package created on a SQL Server 2000 machine can still be read by an original SQL Server 7.0 machine.

Whilst these error messages are not exclusive to this problem, it is rare to see them otherwise.