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Computers in office unable to access server at random

Posted on 2004-10-06
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Last Modified: 2010-05-19
I've been having this problem with a network I maintain where users will complain of going to open or save a document in Word, and it freezes up, and it happens to anyone trying to do those functions simultaneously.  Obviously, it's not just Word--it just is the most common scenario.  After a minute or two, the application becomes unlocked and they can continue working.

This only happens on their Windows XP workstations, when accessing files on the Windows 2003 Server (for Small Business).

I've verified that if you try to open a network share from the server during the period when this happens, Explorer will freeze too.  I'm assuming there's sort of a response from the server, but not a complete one, since it doesn't time out or tell you that the resource isn't available.

This seemed to increase after the workstations were upgraded to Windows XP SP2.

About this setup:
The server is running Exchange, DNS, Routing and Remote Access, and sharing files and printers for this small business with ten or so computers.  The server's hardware specs are well beyond the recommended specs provided by Microsoft for this, has plenty of free physical memory, and does not produce high processor usage errors (I have performance monitoring on and set to send me e-mail if anything odd happens).  Also there is nothing in the event logs of a suspicious nature when this happens.

The network has one high speed Internet connection with static IPs, and is connected directly to the Windows 2003 Server, which, through Routing and Remote Access, is assigned a range of IPs and provides NAT and firewall on this connection and shares it to the entire internal network, connected to the server through a second NIC.  Very little outside of standard routing is done, with exception to it statically outing RDP requests on specific IPs to specific computers so users aren't forced to always use the Remote Web Workplace.

Between the server's NIC assigned to the LAN (using 192.168.0.1, of course) and the workstations is a simple 24-port Linksys 10/100 switch.
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Question by:elevatedconsulting
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7 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:adamdrayer
ID: 12243954
Pete Long is great at troubleshooting slow networks, take a look at his posts here:
http:Q_21109533.html
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Author Comment

by:elevatedconsulting
ID: 12245212
It's not a slowness issue though.  Seems like everything works brilliantly except at these random, periodic complete freezes in accessibility to the network shares on the server.  

I am not sure if Internet access through the server or pinging the server works during these moments since I haven't been in the office when it happens, but will find out tomorrow by attempting to keep an RDP session open to the server from my machine, with it constantly pinging one machine in the office, waiting for someone to call me the moment it happens.
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Author Comment

by:elevatedconsulting
ID: 12290255
I have now been able to note that when this occurs, there is no trouble pinging the server (<1 ms response from computers in the office), and that everyone still has Internet access through the server (set up as a NAT router and firewall).  So during these periods, TCP/IP is still working in and out of the server--the inaccessibility during the period where things stop appears to be limited to Windows file shares on the server, exclusively.

I also noticed two other things that might be useful in determining the source of the problem here:

1) Shortly after it happened, I had a client call me and let me know, as I'd instructed her.  I left an RDP session to the server open and immediately looked at it to see if there was anything I could observe during the down time at the server.  A balloon indicating the Internet connection was freshly connected was there, as if the LAN connection to the DSL modem had been recently disconnected.  There does not appear to be any instability with the Internet connection or the modem--I don't see why it would think it wasn't connected for any period of time.

2) If Routing and Remote Access is restarted, the Internet connection appears to lose its configuration as if it lost its DHCP data, but it's set up with a static IP address.  This makes me think that there may just be something wrong with the networking components somewhere.  Internet access and remote access become unavailable when this happens, and choosing to "repair" the connection, or disabling and re-enabling it both fix it.

I have reinstalled the SBS components and have reconfigured Routing and Remote Access on several occasions, with no improvement in this odd behavior.  I'm wary of doing anything as drastic as a detect and repair install of Windows 2003 Server, or an overinstall, fearing it could really mess things up--even though it appears some core components might not be properly in place.
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Accepted Solution

by:
ziwez0 earned 1500 total points
ID: 12297782
Just a shot in the dark, but have you got RAID configured on your server?

-
David
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Author Comment

by:elevatedconsulting
ID: 12299028
Yes, actually.  There is a RAID array.
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Author Comment

by:elevatedconsulting
ID: 12697578
Issue resolved by myself.
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Expert Comment

by:CHRube
ID: 13991481
I'm having the same problems, could you post the solution you figured out?  Thanks.
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