2000 Server crashes but get stuck on reboot

This problem below happened shortly after the "ISA server software"  failed (on Small Business Server machine), it may or may not be linked.  

I have had this problem now on two separate servers running the above Windows 2000 Server OS. The only server not effected is running Windows Small business server. The server crashes, and after rebooting windows it just hangs at the "establishing network connections" screen. We left the server overnight and still no progress. We attempted to get into the system through "safemode" using all options (debug, dos, without network connections) and nothing worked. Secondly, we disconnected the server from the network completely in case that helped, it did not. All our virus definitions are fully up to date (Symantec corporate eddition) and Symantec say they are not aware of any undefined virus that could cause this to happen.

We finally had to re-install the OS, on one werver, in order to solve the problem. Amazingly, without hours the other server running Windows 2000 server also failed with exactly the the same problem. This surely means it cannot be the OS on both machines and sniffs of a virus again. The second server did however boot up after 3 to 4 hours (again stuck on establishing network connections).The second server has since done this again, taking 4hrs+ to reboot. The first server thats had the OS rebuilt is ok to date.

However we are very concerned that this could happen again and there appears no easy way of recovering the system without reloading the operating system, if it fails to load again. Question 1. Does anyone know anything that would cause this (someone hagging in, or an undefined virus)? 2. Is there any way in to the Windows 2000 server system other than "Safemode options" or "recovery concole" as none of these work at all?

Many thanks
Paul Walker
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Rob StoneConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I was hoping you were going to say they were all the same and then it may have been easily a driver issue on all the servers, but unfortunatly not :-(

Just spoke to a mate at MS and he says the most common problem with this is the DNS being setup incorrectly but he also said taking it off the network should allow it to boot :-(

Might be worth checking though. Also check event viewer.  If it locks again, see if you can ping the server from another one and even try and connect to it
Rob StoneCommented:
Are all the servers using the same hardware and the same drivers?

There are no other ways of getting into 2000 except those routes that I know of.
bodypower39Author Commented:
Hi Stoner79,

These are the three separate servers all linked to the same network. The hardware is:

New Dell 1600SC Server (running 2000 server) - 4hr crash machine
Dell 600SC Server (running 2000 server & SQL server) - Had to reload OS
Dell Desktop (running Windows SBS & Exchange). Not crashed as yet.

The Desktop is currently the primary domain controller, although the 1600SC will shortly be promoted to PDC.

These machines may have difference drivers (e.g network cards etc) and other hardware being shares (e.g printers)


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