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XP computers having problems on NT domain

Posted on 2003-02-20
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Last Modified: 2010-03-19
We are running an NT 4.0 domain server, and mostly Win98 computers. Lately new computers that we have been getting have Win XP on them. These have worked great except at our remot locations that are connected to the corporate office through Frame Relay connections with Multitech routers.
The XP machines can log onto the network ok, they can connect to the unix server, and I can ping to and from them great. But when they try to access mapped drives on the NT server, explorer hangs and they get the eternal flashlight of doom.  The problem has been intermittent, they may get the contents of the drive, drill down into one of the folders and then have it hang.
The W98 machines in the same remote locations will work fine, it is just the XP machines that are having trouble and one 2000 machine (we really don't have any other 2000 machines)
So what could be so different in winXP networking that would be causing this issue?
Things I've already checked.
  lmhosts is preloading the server
  The machines are using the NT server for WINS
  WINS service is running on the NT server.
  The machines can ping the server and vice versa

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Question by:matthew_ut
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5 Comments
 

Assisted Solution

by:jmpearce
jmpearce earned 225 total points
ID: 7989824
I had a similar problem the other night.  The XP machine could ping the NT server and workstations but could not access the drives.  The solution I had was to disable XP's firewall that is located in the Advanced Tab of the Network Connections Properties. Once it was disabled I was able to browse everything with out the hanging flashlight.
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Accepted Solution

by:
stevenlewis earned 225 total points
ID: 7990353
http://cyberwizardpit.net/article2.htm
Here's a great tip to speed up your browsing of Windows 2000 & XP machines. Its actually a fix to a bug that by default of a normal Windows 2000 setup that scans shared files for Scheduled Tasks. And its turns out that you can experience a delay as long as 30 seconds when you try to view shared files across a network as Windows 2000 is using the extra time to search the Remote Computer for any Scheduled Tasks. Note that though the fix is originally intended for only those affected, Windows 2000 & XP users will experience that actual browsing speed of both the Internet & Windows Explorers improving significantly after applying it since it doesnt search for Scheduled Tasks anymore. Here's how :

Open up the Registry and go to :

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version/Explorer/RemoteComputer/NameSpace

Under that branch, select the key :

{D6277990-4C6A-11CF-8D87-00AA0060F5BF}

Right click it and select "Delete".







This is key that instructs Windows to search for Scheduled Tasks. If you like you may want to export the exact branch so that you can restore the key if necessary. This fix is so effective that it doesn't require a reboot and you can almost immediately determine yourself how much it speeds up your browsing processes.

Important

Note : This branch also exists in both Win98 & ME and Ive got so many mails asking me whether it's safe to apply the fix on it. However, I would like to warn users that the fix is intended only for Windows 2000 and XP. If you decide to try it for your Win98/ME system, pls make sure that you back up or export the exact branch so that you can restore the key if something should go wrong. Currently there are more than 20 users that have tried the fix in Win98/ME. Out of this 20, there are 4 users who reported that problems arises after removing the branch while the balance 16 reported great success.




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Expert Comment

by:stevenlewis
ID: 7990358
After installing Service Pack 1 on several of my Windows XP workstations, I noticed a dramatic reduction in network performance when communicating with my Windows 2000 servers. Although everything worked fine with small files, when I tried to access, create, or modify a file over 70 KB, I would get a file creation error, a delayed write failure, or some other odd error. After a little digging, I discovered that my Windows 2000 servers were holding the files open even after I had closed them, thus making it impossible to modify the file. Unfortunately, these file lock problems often occurred while the file was open, resulting in a corrupt file.

I first suspected faulty hardwarea bad network cable or hard disk ribbon. Yet after months of experimenting, I determined that my hardware was working perfectly. Since I have almost 20 computers and only PCs running Windows XP with SP1 were experiencing these communication errors, I decided that SP1 must be the culprit. I began researching the problem and after months of searching I found three potential solutions.



Word of warning

The following article suggests ways to edit your system registry. Using the Windows Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that could require you to reinstall your operating system and you could possibly lose data. TechRepublic does not and will not support problems that arise from your editing the registry. Use the Registry Editor and the following directions at your own risk.





XP has trouble writing to 2000 domain controllers

Unfortunately Microsoft's support Web site doesnt list Windows XP SP1 problems in a single location so I dug through its knowledge base until I found article 321169, "Slow SMB Performance When You Copy Files from Windows XP to a Windows 2000 Domain Controller."





According to the article, Windows sometimes has problems writing to domain controllers, but should have no trouble reading from domain controllers. Alas, I was having trouble reading and writing to Windows 2000. Sometimes it would take a full 60 seconds for Windows XP to open a 50-KB file that was stored on a Windows 2000 domain controller. Other times though, the same file would open instantly. Although this knowledge base article didn't address my exact problem, I decided to follow the instructions and see what happened.

The article suggests that the slow performance results from a delayed TCP/IP acknowledgement occurring in an SMB: C NT Transact-Notify Change packet. To put it simply, Windows 2000 uses what are known as SMB security signatures. If security signatures are enabled, the redirector is forced to wait until the current SMB command has completed before processing the next one. This means waiting for an SMB acknowledgement from the server. The easiest way to implement a workaround to the problem is simply to disable SMB security signatures on the domain controller by editing the registry.

To do this, open the Registry Editor and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\

CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Parameters. Double click on the RequireSecuritySignature value and enter 0 in the Value Data dialog box. Next, double-click on the EnableSecuritySignature value and enter 0 in the Value Data dialog box. However, this registry modification didnt correct my particular problem.

Possible task scheduling bug

I decided to turn my attention to the Web and see if anyone else was having the same problem. A quick search revealed dozens of Web pages where people discussed similar problems. One of the suggested fixes involved a bug that exists in both Windows XP and in Windows 2000. The bug causes Windows to check for any scheduled tasks that might exist on a remote machine before displaying the browse contents.

This particular bug is also controlled by the registry. To solve the problem, just remove the following registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\

Explorer\RemoteComputer\NameSpace\{D6277990-4C6A-11CF-8D87-00AA0060F5BF}. This registry fix did speed things up somewhat for me, but didnt completely correct the problem.

A solution at long last: SMB signing incompatibility

Finally, after another month of digging, I discovered MSKB article 331519, "Network File Errors Occur After You Install Windows XP SP1," in which Microsoft acknowledges the problem. According to Microsoft, the problem is related to an incompatibility in SMB signing between Windows 2000 and Windows XP SP1. It appears several group policy settings are to blame.

To fix the problem, go to a domain controller and open the Active Directory Users And Computers console. Then, right-click on the Domain Controller organizational unit (OU) and select the Properties command from the shortcut menu. Doing so will display the Domain Controllers Properties sheet. Select the Group Policy tab. Select the Default Domain Controller Policy (or what ever group policy applies to the domain) and click the Edit button. Navigate through the policy to Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Options. Then, locate the following four policy settings and change them to Disabled:

Digitally Sign Client Communications (Always)

Digitally Sign Client Communication (When Possible)

Digitally Sign Server Communication (Always)

Digitally Sign Server Communication (When Possible)



Close the Group Policy Editor, click OK, and close Active Directory Users And Computers. After you apply the settings, wait for the next replication cycle to complete and the settings should take effect. Once the settings took effect on my system the communication problems disappeared. Rumor has it that Microsoft intends to correct this issue in the next Windows XP Service pack.






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Author Comment

by:matthew_ut
ID: 8021604
Firewalls have been disabled.
I tried the fix removing the registry key involved in checking for shceduled tasks. Things seemed better for about 5 clicks then same problem.
As for the SMB signing fix, I don't see how to apply this to an NT4.0 file server.
Also I had the chance to look at a laptop that was having this issue in Nashville. When I hooked it to the network here and changed the ip to be on our subnet mask it worked great. Now that it is back in Nashville it is having the issue again. When the user browses out to a share on the NT server it may get the folder contents and a folder one deep but eventually the explorer window gets a very long flashlight search followed by the words "Explorer (Not Responding)" in the title bar.
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Expert Comment

by:CleanupPing
ID: 9153456
matthew_ut:
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