3ds max developer, Discreet, has issued an alert to users indicating that Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 may corrupt .max files, causing them to no longer load on systems with SP2 or SP3 installed. It affects all versions of 3dx max from 3 to 5.1.
Discreet is working with Microsoft to resolve the issue, but in the mean time has suggested that users do not install SP4, and if they have already, that they should revert to SP2.
The full Discreet Support Alert is detailed below.
Alert! Problem with Windows Service Pack 4 and .max files
The following alert is being sent to 3ds max and VIZ registered users.
We have identified and confirmed that installing the Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 causes the corruption of .max files. All 3ds max (.max) files saved with Windows 2000 SP4 installed will no longer load in 3ds max on systems with Windows 2000 SP2 or SP3 installed. Our Engineering Team has narrowed in on the problem and is working with Microsoft to resolve the situation. In the interim it is strongly advised that all 3ds max users do not install the Windows 2000 SP4. If Windows 2000 SP4 has already been installed it is suggested that customers revert back to SP2 to create usable .max file content. This affects all 3ds max files created in versions 3 through 5.1.
3ds max files created while Windows 2000 SP4 is installed can be retrieved through either of two workarounds:
(Please be aware that some data will still be lost in this workaround.)
Revert Windows 2000 SP 4 Systems back to SP3 or earlier.
Use "File Merge" to retrieve data from corrupted .max files created under Windows 2000 SP4 and resave.
Note: If you have Render Effects or Atmospherics in your max file, use the Merge button in the respective dialogs.
Open corrupted .max files created under Windows 2000 SP4 in Windows XP and resave.
Revert all systems back to Windows 2000 SP3 or previous.
Bear in mind that 3ds max 5.1 is officially supported for Windows 2000 SP2, so for optimum stability revert to this operating system platform to use 3ds max 5.
Thank you for patience and assistance in getting this problem resolved.
More Information: www.discreet.com/support/max/ and click on "Late Breaking 3ds max bulletins".