Microsoft have posted a knowledge base article (KB 891017) that resolves a problem when SQL Server 2000 performs a large deallocation.
When a large deallocation occurs in Microsoft SQL Server 2000, SQL Server may temporarily stop responding to other requests. Operations, like dropping tables, dropping work files, and dropping indexes, that are performed on objects that are multiple gigabytes in size may cause 17883 error messages in the error log, timeouts, or slow performance symptoms.
This hotfix requires Microsoft SQL Server 2000 SP3a. Details of how you can obtain the hotfix can be found here. Microsoft only offer the option to contact Microsoft Support, there is no direct link to download the hotix.