Peer-to-peer network connections stop working

tsoward
tsoward used Ask the Experts™
on
I've run across this problem on multiple sites.

Typically a win 98 pc connected to NT4 server and using
a shared printer via peer-to-peer Microsoft networking (tcp/ip only ) reports they cannot print.  They were running along fine, when out of the blue all access to peer-to-peer has disappeared.  Their server mapped drives are still present and working but attmpting to browse the network shows that all other connections are unavailable.  Reboot and all is well...for a while.

I've replaced the NIC, tested the cable, searched for updates, even replaced a PC but with some regularity (every few days typically)  the problem recurs.

A sight variation occurs with a Novell server where the server drives also become inaccessable as well.  In that case the problem seems to occur at startup, after sometimes several re-starts all is well till the next day.
Comment
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
Commented:
Do you have an lmhosts file configured and in place? See the following link:

http://www.realcomputerguy.com/lmhosts.htm

Author

Commented:
Good question, will check.
Top Expert 2004

Commented:
Ensure you’re charging the right price for your IT

Do you wonder if your IT business is truly profitable or if you should raise your prices? Learn how to calculate your overhead burden using our free interactive tool and use it to determine the right price for your IT services. Start calculating Now!

Commented:
when you have the issue...see if you can ping the IPs of the printers/servers etc, and connect to the share with unc...\\IP\share, as it could be a netbois problem, maybe the novell server is battling the NT server for master browser rights.

Commented:
reintstall Netbeui and tcpip but more over Netbui

Commented:
Sounds like you maybe running out of memory on the PC. Windows 98 has never been very good at releasing previously used memory and after a period of time there just isn't any that the operating system thinks is free and then you atart to have strange problems.

I would check all of the applications that are installed on the Win 98 machine and make sure they are all patched to the latest levels. Avoiding running odd programs that you have downloaded from wherever.

Also, make sure there is enough memory installed. 64 meg is not enough even on Win 98 where that machine is required to run a lot of higher end software especially simultaneously.

Consider upgrading the system to at least Windows 2000. It is much better at memory managment. But you will have to have at least 256 Meg of ram to run reasonably well.
I have used Windows 98 for how many years now but I think it isn't a memory issue. From my experience, having a company with such limited budget on upgrades, I have run Windows 98/95 with 32Mb RAM smoothly over the network for many years now. Patched is neither a problem also.

If I were in your place I would rather suspect the connection between the server and the switch/hub.

Isolating every device, it maybe the switch/hub, CAT5/CAT5E wires that connect the server and the switch/hub, the RJ45 connectors, and the NIC of your server. Try troubleshooting relative issues on every devices that I mentioned and perform all possible testing.

As I can see it, it is not software related problem assuming that you didn't installed something on your server before this happened. Another thing, can you have same problem on your Network O/S (Novell and NT). Software issues is the least probable cause on your situation.

Good luck. :-)

Author

Commented:
I will  be on site today (hope) and can try out some of these ideas

The PC has lots physical memory (256+).

I suspected the cables and Ive had the net cabling tested and it was good to 155mbps,
it could be the switch but that is less likely since all users share the switch and it is noplace near capacity

I suspected server response until I saw it occur while monitoring server CPU at about 20% peaks.

Do not run Newbeui (only TCPIP) because ofconflict with a key software package they use.
My point in your response is that you said that you also have the same slight problem with your Novell. Logically speaking you can't have the same problem with both servers at the same time not unless the common device for both has a problem. And that common device will be the switch...so try focusing your troubleshooting from that area. Hope this helps.

Author

Commented:
Sorry for the confusion.

Similar problem, 2 unrelated  sites.  One a single server novell 4.1, the other single server NT 4.

Mostly concerned over NT4 site, but recognized a possible  recurring pattern.
will if this is so and considering that you haven't done or installed something on your server before this problem occured my suspect is the network card. try changing the network card. i have the same problem before with my novell server before...

win 98 will not suppose to drop the map drives of an NT server. try to browse the EVENT VIEWER of your NT, you will see log of your network activity.. browse the date and time where your workstations couldn't access your server... you might find your clue there if it is a hardware or software issue.

regards

Author

Commented:
This is one of those problems that are hard to be sure you have solved.  So far, after adding the LMHOSTS entries the problem on the first site seems not to have recurred.  The problem on the second site went into spontantaneous remission so I will wait till it recurs before trying this.

I rate the answer as good versus excellent because it is still not clear why the failure occurs, only that it can be avoided by providing the destination IP address in the LMHOSTS file.  One would expect that within a small network, transmission between adjacent PC's plugged into the same hub  would be reliable.  I suspect that a factor may be  the lack of NETBEUI or any other parallell network protocols on these sites.  I cannot help but wonder whether the default windows network setup where users often have multiple parallel protocols, all connected to file and printer sharing, a failure in one protocol  is masked by the others.

Anyhow at this site, the problem seems to be gone, and the change made was LMHOSTS so joelrob you get the prize.  

Thanks to everyone.  
Top Expert 2004

Commented:
Top Expert 2004

Commented:
oooops wrong question LOL

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial