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URGENT HELP! - XP Browsing NT4 Network & Drives SLOW

Posted on 2003-11-06
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-03-18
Hi all,

I need this one sorted over the next few days so I'll put good points on it..

I have a network over 2 sites with NT4 sp6a PDC & BDC.. the remote site with the BDC (TS) is having the problems. Everything has been running fine for ages now there is this.. The windows XP machines take a long time to list network drives and files.. So bad in fact that their office applications have gone to not responding (runnign XP Pro SP1 and Office XP SP2).

I have spoken with the users and got them to open up my computer and go \\server .. users have reported up to 20 seconds with little network activity besides a few flashes before the list of shares comes out.

I have a windows 2000 server also that I have been using remotely to do the same thing .. \\server and it comes up instantly..

It will also take a long time to open up files from the network, and open up their network home drives.. They also have their PST files on the server and it takes a long time to switch between emails ..

All of these problems come and go in severity. I have run disk and network NBT connection monitoring on the server and all seems fine .. in comparison to my server here also NT4 it has less usage. I have noticed some activity of the Avg.Disk Queue Lenght counter. on default scale (100.00) this can go from nothing for ages ... and spike to 12 over a period with an average of maybe 4-6 ... should I be concerned about this?? or is it normal ? Some times it may spike to 40 for a couple of seconds ?? Would this affect other users ?? as from what I ahve seen from monitoring an XP user will be on the phone telling me its slow to browse while there is basically nothing happening on the server...

My questions are:

1. why would this happen all of a sudden?
2. what should I be trying to rectify / test this.. I have done research and read about reg fixes and hosts files specifying the server name and ip in lmhosts or hosts... but I wanted to see what you all think??

I will be up on site on Tuesday next week and would like to try a few things before going up... any help would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance..
Question by:atlanticinternet
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Assisted Solution

mapledrums earned 375 total points
ID: 9700776
Do you have any antivirus software on the server ? This could be one reason that's causing the lag. Don't set the antivirus software to be that stringent on your day to day protection scans. Only do a thorough scan once a week, on a weekend preferably.

Do a traceroute to your server to check that the response time from the routers/switches & server is normal. Basically, each hop should not be more than 100-300 ms for a decent response. Anything above 500 ms is considered slow.

Do a nslookup to see how long it takes to resolve host names. Before doing that, clear your DNS cache with "ipconfig /flushdns".

Also check the MTU on the servers/clients and routers to make sure that they're all the same size. Details can be found here:

The average disk queue figures you see are quite normal for a server. You shouldn't just use this couter to measure the performance of a server though (just to be sure). Counters like Disk I/O, CPU, memory (free, swap, usage) should be included as well. As long as you do not have some couter/s that's frequently high, that shouldn't be an issue.

Assisted Solution

vtobusman earned 375 total points
ID: 9700827
 Have the win xp machines been slow ever since you added them to the net work ??
if so try adding the net bios protocol to the win xp box... it is not installed by default...

go to
 Start > Settings > Control panel > Network and dialup connections
Right click on local area connection and then choose properties...
 click install then cllick protocol and then Add then  choose the

nw link ipx/spx/netbios compatible transport protocol

 apply cjanges and that should speed things up on the win xp box...

  Good Luck..

Assisted Solution

Robing66066 earned 375 total points
ID: 9702157
Could this be a WINS vs DNS issue?  If you XP boxes are trying WINS before they try DNS, you might see this sort of problem.  Check your DHCP server to see what node type you are using.  Perhaps your Windows XP boxes are set to search WINS first and then DNS.  If so, perhaps your WINS server is having trouble.  

Not too sure on this one, just seems to remind me of a similar problem I had.

Good luck.
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Accepted Solution

stevenlewis earned 375 total points
ID: 9704998
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 :


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.


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.


Author Comment

ID: 9709521
Hi all .. thanks for the responses!!

You have given me some more options to look into.. I am thinking it is looking like a workstation issue as I have pings to the server of <50ms over the wan and <10ms over the lan which I think is fine. As you have said the disk and network usage is moderate.. I also can browse the server fine from a 2000 server box on the same segment.. it seems to only be the XP Pro workstations that are experiencing these delays.

To answer some questions... I have netbios enabled over tcp/ip from the DHCP server.. I do have symantec corporate 8.1 antivirus running across the whole network but this has not been a problem in the past.. has been running on this version for some months now.. I did have to increase some reg values after installing SAV as I was getting some 2021 events (i think) that required more handles for the server work items..

The server is running IPX as there used to be novell servers, but these workstations are strictly TCPIP and have been running at good speed since day 1.. I will still look into the WINS/DNS issue and see how that is going as the WINS server is on the PDC on the other end of the wAN.. so I may put WINS on the local server aswell.. how do I change the order for DNS/Wins resolution on the clients? I will check the node type of the DHCP and get back to you.. I did set this up (as per some microsoft docs) when I first configured the primary wins server...

stevenlewis: For the schedules tasks.. I have seen a bit of this while I've been researching this problem.. I will see what affect it has .. its weird that this problem has presented itself with no changes to the network environment ... but I'm not surprised :)

Thanks again for your help... I'll be on site tuesday so I'll be able to try some of these out... if you think of anything else to try after seeing my response please post :-)

Thanks again,


Expert Comment

ID: 9719117
To change the node type, just check your DHCP server.  It has an entry list available for it.

Author Comment

ID: 9791666
Hi Guys..

I eventually worked this one out.. It ended up being the ALEXA Spyware key that was causing problems.. why it affected the network clients so drastically I dont know but when I ran adaware over the systems and removed it the problem went away instantly.

I'll split the points as you all helped me quickly with your responses.

Thanks again,

Expert Comment

ID: 9791920
Thanks for the points. Good to know the problem was solved. Never expected it to be caused by spyware though...

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