I had to apply a CPU patch to 188.8.131.52 Oracle Home on Windows 2003 Server box.
Opatch utility was failing with the following error:
The patch directory area must be a number.
ERROR: OPatch failed because of problems in patch area.
OPatch returns with error code = 170
Well, there are quite few reasons why you may get this error when you try to apply a patch using Opatch.
Many of them are published in some of the following Metalink notes:
But, I couldn't find anything about the one that I came across recently.
I tried everything described in the notes above. Nothing worked out, until I realized that all of the patch files have been somehow blocked.
Although the patch files had all the necessary permissions, especially read, the opatch utility couldn't read them because of the lock set by the OS.
If you check the file properties you can see the message:
"This file came from another computer and might be blocked to help protect this computer".
The reason why these files were blocked was because I copy them from a different machine.
A blocked file can be unlocked by pressing Unlock button.
The odd thing was that only one file can be unlocked at a time.
So I just deleted the patch directory and unlocked the patch zip before I extract it again.
I haven't had similar issue before. I believe this is a new "security" feature of Windows 2003 Server.