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keep loosing network

Network consists of :-
1 Windows 2003 small business server
several laptop computers running XP pro or home
several desktop computers running XP pro or home.
Server set as Domain controller but not logging onto domain from workstations or laptops just using workgroup.
My problem is this :-
Every now and then about twice per day at random times the network stops.
If you are on a pc you are kicked out of network shares and you can not see an computer or file on the network.
On the server you can not see and workstation or shared folder.
After about 10 minutes it generally comes back on or sometimes we have to reboot the lot.
What I have done so far.
I have replaced the network hubs for switches but this has made no difference.
If you are on a workstation you can see no other machine same on the server so I am a bit lost as to what it is.
I would have thought if it was server specific then the workstations would be able to see each other even if they could not see the server.
Any ideas anyone this is doing my head in.
Thanks.
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jsharrock
Asked:
jsharrock
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1 Solution
 
jbielotCommented:
You need to start with basics.  You didn't mention it, but I'm assuming that you are using DHCP to provide IP addresses to your PC's. Since you can initially connect to the server, and the pc's to each other, that appears to be working. The lease renewal time is typically several days, so even if that stopped working, it shouldn't interrupt the network.

When this happens again, open a command prompt (MS-DOS session) and type "ping severname" and then "ping PCname(s)" to check basic TCP/IP connectivity between the computers.

Your description sounds like *something* may be saturating the network with traffic, thus preventing *all* of the computers from being able to communicate. Make sure that the IP addresses are all part of the same network; i.e. 192.168.1.x or whatever you are using. From a cmd prompt you can find the current IP address by typing "ipconfig" (NT/2K/XP) or "ipconfig /all".

There are many reasons why something like this would happen. It could be caused by a bad NIC (network interface card) in a PC or server, a bad hub, spyware running on a PC that has to 'phone home', etc.

Another thing to look at is the link/activity indicator lights on your switches and possibly network cards. Normally these will be blinking, but if one or more PC's is generating traffic, they will likely be solid green.

I'd recommend that you get some good spyware checker programs, something like Ad-Aware & Spybot Search & Destroy, and install it (them) on all of your PC's & the server and scan for spyware. Also make sure that you have up to date antivirus software and run scans of the hard drives at least weekly. Daily would be better.
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jsharrockAuthor Commented:
WHEN I PING WHILST THE NETWORK IS LIVE IT IS FINE.
WHEN THE NETWORK IS DOWN I CAN NOT PING ANYTHING.
i AM USING DHCP AND HAVE UPDATED ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE RUNNING ON ALL PALTFORMS.
i WILL TRY THE ADAWARE AND SEE IF IT FINDS ANYTHING AND POST A REPLY.
AS FAR AS THE NIC FLASHING LIGHTS GO NORMAL BLINKING IS NORMAL WHEN NETWORK OFF ALL LIGHTS STEADY NO TRAFFIC..
JUST SEEMS STRANGE THAT IT STOPS THE WHOLE NETWORK COULD A SPYWARE/ADAWARE PROG DO THIS?
tHANKS FOR THE REPLY.
jON.
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jbielotCommented:
Do you get any error messages when you try to ping when the network is down? Something like destination host unreachable, or does the ping just timeout?

I would have recommended trying another hub/switch, but you already did that. I'd suggest tha the next time the problem occurs, that you disconnect the pc's network cables from the switch, one at a time, and leave them disconnected, to see if you can isolate the problem to a specific pc. Leave the server for last.

Spyware is a major problem and causes all sorts of unusual problems. I've seen cases where you turn on a PC and there's so much junk on it trying to phone home, that it saturates the router/modem connecting you to the Internet. They tend to be buggy programs also and cause the PC's to become much slower, prone to crashing, etc.

If you have unreliable power, something like a power dip or surge could cause the hub/switch to reset, and that could be difficult to find, depending upon location/visability, except they usually reboot in < 2 minutes. SOHO switches its more like < 30 seconds.
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