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Server 2003 Standard - client PCs hang for 1 to 2 mins while viewing mapped drives several times daily

Posted on 2004-11-22
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when I was brought in to look at it the problem was slightly different.

the network is simple:  1 server 2003 Standard doing file-serve, 1 linux box as a firewall/gateway (ADSL), 7 client PCs (windows 2000 & XP Pro),  on 100 MBit UTP.
The clients were locking up occasionally while navigating the server folders.

I found that there were only 5 CALS and the licensing service was diasabled.  So I started the service, bought 5 more and installed them - found that the licensing mode is per-server.  So now 10 per-server licensed, 7 used.

Now the clients are locking up for up to 3 minutes several times daily when an app. 'looks' at the drives ( such as opening an app that references files on the server or opening a save-as dialog )- whcih includes drives mapped to the server. .  There are no event log entries that correspond to these incidents.

what should I do?
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Question by:pcguy-za
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by:TJworld
TJworld earned 600 total points
ID: 12652821
Check the local name resolution services. If it's DNS ensure that the clients are all set to query an internal DNS server, and that the DNS server zone file for the local LAN domain doesn't have erroneous entries, such as stale IPs or public IPs.

Sometimes on multihomed servers netlogon and Active Directory DNS service will conspire to register external IPs to the internal domain - causes a lot of "server not found" and unexplained delays.

If that all works fine you need to see if there is a common cause.

When the slow-down occurs does it affect all the workstations at the same time? Or can one workstation be accessing files normally while another one is having problems?

Fo you have a Disk Defragmentiation utility such as Executive Software's Diskeeper running on a set-it-and-forget-it Schedule? I have seen a lot of problems with this slowing down network access to files on a server that has that running.

On a similar note, do you have any automatic/scheduled processes such as back-up running on the drive that hosts the network shares?
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kminfotech earned 900 total points
ID: 12655065
Is your 2K3 server a DC?  If so, I'm assuming AD integrated DNS?  Are the clients DHCP?

Check four things:

(1)  The DNS server NIC settings should point at itself for DNS.  The DNS app should have a forwarder to the public DNS server.
(2)  Install a WINS server.  Microsoft has been moving away from WINS, but the reality is that WINS is still a necessary evil in all but the most controlled environments.
(3)  If your clients are DHCP, make sure the DHCP server is passing the WINS and DNS server name to the clients and make sure you have an A record for the file server.
(4)  If your clients are static, make sure the NIC settings include the DNS server, the WINS server, and the domain name in name resolution settings.
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by:pcguy-za
ID: 12670111
Thanks for the replies - I need to get out to site to work on it.  will try suggestions above and post back.

Its not a disk-usage problem I'm sure.  the data volume is on a 4 drive RAID and access is fine at the server while the clients stall.  I'm not sure if they all stall at once.

I feel good about the DNS angle that both mentioned above.
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by:kminfotech
ID: 12670425
I can guarantee this is Netbeui related...Netbeui does 3 broadcasts of 30 seconds
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by:TJworld
ID: 12670868
I've cleared this situation immediately, albeit sometimes only temporarily, simply by doing

C:\>ipconfig /flushdns

to clear out incorrect locally cached DNS host records of the server.

If you can reproduce the problem, do this on the affected workstation immediately, and try accessing the server again. If it connects quickly you can be almost sure incorrect address from DNS is an issue.
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by:pcguy-za
ID: 12719092
OK - so I went along and checked things out.  No misleading DNS records and the DNS server on the whole was looking more or less as kminfotech suggests except that the NIC had a secondary to the external which I removed.  Also put in better external DNS servers in the forwarder of my DNS server.  Made sure that all the clients only looked at local DNS server.

Installed the WINS whcih was not in by default.

Its not NETBUI - none whatsoever on the network

BUT found a likely culprit that I missed before.  An shared ADSL connection in the network connections - disconnected.  the ADSL comes in through the Linux gateway now but must have come in a 2nd NIC on the 2K3 server originally.  I saw the 2nd NIC and removed it on my previous visit but missed the ADSL dialup.

once I took that out things felt better.  Have left them for a few days now and they seem OK.  

was it the WINS, the DNS tweaks or the rouge ADSL connection? who can say?

I will split the points as both of you made valid suggestions whcih got me looking in the right place.  thanks for the input
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