Remote server machine does not exist or is unavailable.

This problem will be extremely difficult to solve.

This error is occurring sporadically when trying to use third party application written in VB running on a client machine trying to open a mail merged document located in a folder on a server machine.  There is no consistent behaviour observed that leads up to causing the error.  Users of the third party app. may go a couple of days without getting the error and then get it several times in one day.  The configurations of the machines are as follows:

Client Machine
Windows 98
Office 97 SR-2

Server Machine
Windows NT 4.0 SP-6

The third party application runs normally at several other sites with the same configuration normally without this error occurring.  That led me to believe DCOM was the culprit so I made sure the client machines were on the latest version of DCOM by upgrading them from version 4.71.0.2900 to version 4.71.0.3328 and the error still occurred sporadically.  The third part app. is written in VB 6.0 and although I don't believe that is causing the problem, I am submitting the three lines of code that execute prior to the problem occurring in a sporadic manner.

wrd has been declared as follows
Public wrd As WORD.Application

Excerpted three lines of code:
wrd.Visible = True
wrd.WindowState = wdWindowStateMaximize
Set wrdDoc = wrd.Documents.Open(VLETTER, 0, 1)  'Where VLETTER is the directory/file name of the document

The user reports the application locking up and they do a ctrl+alt+del to view the tasks that are not responding and the Word application is listed.  They end the task on Word and get the error 'The remote server machine does not exist or is unavailable.'

My suspicion is that it has something to do with the environment the users are running in because the third party app. runs fine in similar configured environments without any problem.  Kudos and 500 points to whoever figures this one out.  Thanks.
bethecodeAsked:
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dansotoCommented:
Yikes... I think someone needs to be teleported to your offices for this one! :-)  Ya' anywhere near New Orleans :-) ?

Understanding that there is no observable pattern, is it perhaps happening around the same time of day?

Dan Soto
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bethecodeAuthor Commented:
Hi Dan,
The problem occurs in a random manner in regards to time and days of the week.  The amount of networking traffic causing some aggravation of the issue is something I was considering as well.  I'm just not sure if that is it.  Perhaps there is a concrete way to eliminate that as a potential cause of the problem but I'm not sure how.  Thanks.
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dansotoCommented:
You can use netmon... a service called "Network Monitor Tools and Agent" that can be added from the NT4 CD.  It's a very basic Network Monitor that you can use to monitor network traffic.  Here's some basic info ...

http://www.comptechdoc.org/os/windows/ntserverguide/ntsnetmon.html

Questions:  

Are the clients that work correctly at the remote sites running the exact same version of the OS and Service Pack levels? Also the same version and service packs of MS Office?

Are the remote sites running the doc from the same server as the problems sites or do they have their own server?

Dan Soto, MCSE
New Orleans ,LA

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bethecodeAuthor Commented:
Thanks, for the suggestion on Network Monitor.

Regarding the questions you have asked:
1. The clients are running the exact same version of the OS and Service Pack levels and MS Office service pack levels.  I have gone to great lengths to verify this.

2. The remote sites are running the doc from their own dedicated server.

By the way, I am fairly close to Louisana here in central Florida.  I work with some customers in NO.  Great community of people there.

Thanks for your reply.

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dansotoCommented:
I figured you had checked the OS and SP levels already :-)

Now, the remote sites.... are they running the exact same OS on the Server?.. and appropriate SP's.  I'm just trying to find "any" variable that may exist.

Also, though an unlikely culprit, network hardware could be different (NICS, hubs/switches).

Another thought; have you kept track of what applications are running on the misfit machines at the time of error? (this isn't that easy since it would require you to run to each workstation as it happened, or faithfully rely on the user to tell you exactly what is happening).

Just more food for thought...

FYI.. great community yes, tech jobs, no :-(

Dan Soto, MCSE
New Orleans, LA
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bethecodeAuthor Commented:
Hi Dan,
Yes, the remote sites are running the same OS on the Server with the same level of SP's.  

I have been able to PC Anywhere into the sites to verify conditions and have been able to get the problem to occur during a PC Anywhere session.  The problem occurs when other applications are running and when there are no other applications are running.  I have not verified what services are running that may be different between the sites.

I am not sure about the hardware differences.  I will check into it.  Thanks.
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dansotoCommented:
More variables.. maybe relevant maybe not... but possible variables..

> Protocols running on each client and server
> Binding order of the protocols

My gears are running now (thank you Starbucks) so I'll try to think of more.

 - ds -
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bethecodeAuthor Commented:
Dan,
I was able to capture some logging of network statistics using the Network Monitor as you suggested.  Everything checked out well and their network hardware and protocol settings are fine as well.  Very nice Cisco routers by the way.  

I am open to any other suggestions.  Thanks.
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SpideyModCommented:
A request for a refund has been made.  Experts you have 72 hours to object.  

I do see that some assistance was provided in attempting to resolve the issue and at least you know it is not likely the network traffic.  To that end, I would recommend a reduction of points (your call on how much but a minimum of 20) and an award to dansoto for assistance.  If you'd still like a full refund, I'm happy to do it, but must wait the for the 72 hours or when all experts indicate it is OK (whichever comes first)

SpideyMod
Community Support Moderator @Experts Exchange
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bethecodeAuthor Commented:
I agree SpideyMod.  How do I award dansoto 100 points for the effort?
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SpideyModCommented:
I have reduced the points from 500 to 100.  You may now accept one of dansoto's answers that assisted you.  Thanks

Spidey.
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