2 PCs fighting each other

Hello all,

Here's a quick description:
- 10 PCs networked (9 desktops, 1 notebook, all with static IPs running combination of XP Pro, Win 2000), logging in to Windows 2000 Advanced Server
- DNS configured as per best practices
- DSL w/ static IP
- 8 PCs have no problem and operate fine
- 2 PCs seem to have a problem as the day goes on (they are fine early in the day).  They slow down to a crawl when trying to access anything over the network.  My clients call it freezing but it really is just taking a LOOONNGG time to retrieve the information.  If they turn either one of them off and the other is OK so obviously some sort of conflict.
- I have checked the IPs of the 2 PCs and will be checking the MAC addresses this morning
- 1 of the PCs is the notebook using a docking station the other a standard desktop

This has been a very frustrating problem as it is impossible to recreate when I am actually onsite.
Any and all help is appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Erik BjersPrincipal Systems AdministratorCommented:
run a packet capture like ethereal (ethereal.com) or packetizer (networkchemistry.com).  See what kind of traffic each of the 2 systems is sending out, this may give you a clue.  Check the network cables to make sure they are wired correctly.  Check the computer names.  Disable any un needed network protocals.

Good luck
Check to make sure the computer names are not the same.
Also try to change the ports on the switch that those two are on, reinstall drivers for nic cards and lastly replace nic cards.
Dont forget the basic
1. Virus
2. Spyware
3. Adware
Check the lisence configured on the server, ie no. of users.
Ultimate Tool Kit for Technology Solution Provider

Broken down into practical pointers and step-by-step instructions, the IT Service Excellence Tool Kit delivers expert advice for technology solution providers. Get your free copy now.

jchown22Author Commented:
First of all thanks everyone for the quick response!
Here's an update:
- ebjers:
  - have run Ethereal but have not been onsite when the problem occurs so no unusual traffic noticed in the log.  I have plans to be onsite all day tomorrow to see if I can witness the problem first hand
  - checked the network cables
  - checked the computer names
  - had already disabled all unnecessary protocols
- jasonduncan76:
  - already had run virus/spy/ad ware checks on both PCs
  - checked the network cables
  - changed the ports on the switch
  - updated the NIC drivers for both PCs
  - installed a new NIC in the desktop
- Prasanna: thanks but it's not a license issue

The problem still exists as is evident in the VERY slow login on the desktop PC (yes DNS best practices are in use).  Also noticed when looking at the Windows Task Manager and clicking on the Networking tab, the computer takes forever to show the information on that tab.

Any thoughts?

sounds to me like its time to format and clean install the OS!  at least that's what i'd do...

i usually look at the time it takes to troubleshoot this vs the time it takes to backup data and clean install.  Most of the time, the latter is quicker.  If at all possible, make sure the user accounts afterwards do not have admin rights so they can't install crap without going through you first.   That seems to cause more problems for me then anything else.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
run sfc /scannow on both pc..its a long shot but worth it.
They wouldn't happen to have the same IP address would they? This can cause this type of behavior.

Do this on both machines
start --> run --> cmd --> ipconfig/all

Then compare and see if ip address are the same. They shouldn't have the same, if they do....change on of them.  

Are you running DHCP? Check the scope's under DHCP to make sure enough addresses are available and being given out correctly.
jchown22Author Commented:
Hi again,

- cyrusuncc: I am very close to doing that on the desktop as I suspect it is the cause of all of this
- jasonduncan76: Thanks, I will try that tomorrow when I am back onsite
- NetAdmin2436: no, the IPs have been checked (they are all static) and the DHCP settings are OK

Thanks again for the great ideas.  I will update everyone tomorrow.

Hmmm, just for kicks... flushdns on each machine and server. There may be an old entry in DNS that is throwing things off. If it's timing out or taking a long time looking for network places, it sounds like DNS.

Start --> run --> cmd --> ipconfig /flushdns

Oh, also. Do they have any mapped drives? If so, delete these and see if the problems re-occurs. I remember i had something similar to this where it would just take a long time, and the issue was a mapped drive for some reason. Deleting and re-adding the maps drives seamed to work.
> - 1 of the PCs is the notebook using a docking station the other a standard desktop

that's probably the one.

Also check the names and the health of WINS, which often deteriorates and cannot distinguish some pairs. Turn off WINS and go with TCP/IP instead?

Make sure you have no more than one master browser.

Try rebooting both at the same time.

Make sure both are configured as workstation, such as, so one took it on themselves to be a form of rogue server.

Make sure the two workstations do not map to each others drives (loopingly?) at all
Personally I think you have 2 users prone to complain about their connection speed and to exaggerate their claims. Maybe someone likes to listen to a streaming NPR show at 3 in the afternoon and their connection slows a bit? :)
(I wish you could edit comments...)

Make the users a batch file that tracerts a LAN resource and an internet resource and pipes the results to a file, then copies that file to your desktop (or some server share, etc). When they are experiencing the problem, have them run that batch file.
jchown22Author Commented:
Back again,

Here's the update...

jasonduncan76: running sfc /scannow as we "speak"
NetAdmin243: all static IPs, no conflicts, already ran ipconfig /flushdns (I was pretty sure it was a DNS problem but alas I was wrong).  They do have mapped drives but all of the drives work just fine.  The slowdown is not present all of the time which is making it very hard e to diagnose.  If access to the mapped drives was consistently slow, I agree, remapping would possibly help as it has helped me in the past under those circumstances.
SunBow: you suspect the notebook?  Why?  One master browser.  No mapping to each other ("looping").  Both configured as workstations.  Would prefer not to disable WINS but will try if nothing else works
uter: I wish it were simply a matter of impatient users, but such is not the case (they have too many credible witnesses).  Your idea re: a tracert batch file is a good one.  I will set that up hoping for more clues next time the slowdown occurs.

I just want to reiterate one point to everyone - the slowdown is not present all of the time, it seems to occur after both PCs have been used for a while (i.e. late in day).

I appreciate everyone's help and am sure we will solve this one.

jchown22Author Commented:
Hi all,

- ran sfc /scannow on both PCs
- I was finally onsite when a slowdown occured.  It seems the notebook was the PC primarily affected:
  - ran an ipconfig /flushdns - it seemed to help but only temporarily
  - again updated the network driver - again temporary improvement
  - remapped the drive under use - no effect
  - disabled WINS - no change
  - it seems some of the adjustments made a difference but impossible to tell without a couple of days testing, I will be onsite again on Mon. and will update everyone then.
  - if no improvement, have recommended to the client we perform a total reformat.

Let's see..... would changing the NICs be an option for you?

Also, check the Power Management settings of the existing NICs on each machine that has that problem.
jchown22Author Commented:
Hey all,

It's been a long frustrating haul...despite all of the great suggestions, the problem still exists and I have finally convinced my client to allow me to reformat both systems.

If this doesn't do the trick...you'll probably hear from me again :).

Have a great day.

P.S. I'll split the points as I used everyone's suggestions.

Thanks again.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.

Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.