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Windows 2000 Workstation Cannot Save Roaming Profiles

Posted on 2006-06-16
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Last Modified: 2010-04-18
The Situation:
=========
A Windows 2003 Server (SMS, with Active Directory) with three computers, all running Windows 2000 Pro.
One user has two Win2K systems:  A desktop and a Laptop (both late-model Dells), and a single Roaming Profile.

We have generally avoided setting Group Policies, and the user is an Administrator, because of his need to frequently add/revise programs

The Problem:
=========
After several hours of use (and ALWAYS if left on overnight) the user cannot get the Roaming Profile to save.  The error message reads (Cannot find a logon server).

During Windows shutdown (or user logoff), the computer will properly synchronize all Offline Files, but when it comes to then saving the Roaming Profile, the system reports there's no server it can contact for that purpose.

Another desktop never seems to exhibit the problem, and the user of that computer has another ID with a unique profile

What we've Tried:
============
We have updated all system to latest HotFix level; no effect.
We have thoroughly cleaned registry with numerous trusted tools.
We have disabled Roaming Profiles; the problem obviously goes away, but we look the benefit of Roaming Profiles
We have reinstalled Windows 2000 Pro in the system, to insure system integrity; no effect
We have tested in another Domain (with a Windows 2000 Advanced Server, running AD); no problem
We have set autodisconnect to 0xffffffff on both server and client; no effect
We have installed Network Drive Manager (http://www.suncross.nl/) v1.5, set to reconnect every five minutes:  no effect
Installed the User Profile Hive Cleanup Service (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=1B286E6D-8912-4E18-B570-42470E2F3582&displaylang=en); no effect

<i>I'm at my wits' end, and hope someone knows how to solve this problem</i>
What would you recommend I try next?
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Question by:CAOgdin
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 16923902
What are your DNS settings on the client and what servers are running DNS?
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Author Comment

by:CAOgdin
ID: 16923931
There is no DNS running (save the AD default) in the network.

Client's DNS settings are those associated with the DSL service's DNS server addresses.  The DNS references shown by ipconfig /all are
IP Address of the Win2K3 Server
IP Address of the Internet Router
IP Addresses of DSL providers' DNS servers (two addresses)

The system has run for months without this problem, and no changes in Server or Internet configuration, then the problem appeared about two months ago, without any precipitating event I can identify.
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Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points
ID: 16923958
> Client's DNS settings are those associated with the DSL service's DNS server addresses.
There's your problem.

Active Directory uses DNS to register the services of the clients.  The Clients should ONLY know of and use the Active Directory DNS servers.

Here's some links:
10 DNS Errors That Will Kill Your Network
http://mcpmag.com/features/article.asp?EditorialsID=413

Frequently Asked Questions About Windows 2000 DNS and Windows Server 2003 DNS
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=291382

Best practices for DNS client settings in Windows 2000 Server and in Windows Server 2003
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=825036

How to Verify the Creation of SRV Records for a Domain Controller
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=241515

SRV Resource Records May Not Be Created on Domain Controller
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=239897

How Domain Controllers Are Located in Windows XP
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=314861

How to Verify an Active Directory Installation in Windows Server 2003
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=816106

[links, as assembled, originally provided by oBdA]


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Author Comment

by:CAOgdin
ID: 16924014
I'll take a look at all these, and report back.  (It's a weekend, so it'll be a few days before I get back to the client site.)

However, I'll say this:  I have seven different servers running at seven different clients (Win2K & Win2K3) and I've got them all configured (DNS & AD) the same way.  This is the only network with the problem.

I'm perplexed:  How could the Offline files synch work and the subsequent "Save profile" operation fail, a few seconds later.  And, only after several hours of being (idly) connected to the server?

What's the difference in DNS that makes the difference?

Thanks for working with me on this.
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 16924028
I'm sure the links cover this, but AD is based on services - the services are registered with DNS.  The clients ask DNS for the location of the services.  If the clients point to the ISP's DNS, the ISP has NO IDEA where your services are.  Windows does have other methods of resolving information, but DNS is preferrable - so things can get delayed or otherwise have problems with incorrect or misconfigured DNS.
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 16924033
Read the first link especially.
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Author Comment

by:CAOgdin
ID: 16924322
You wrote, in part..."If the clients point to the ISP's DNS, the ISP has NO IDEA where your services are.  Windows does have other methods of resolving information, but DNS is preferrable - so things can get delayed or otherwise have problems with incorrect or misconfigured DNS."

I'm under the mpression that IP addresses in the DNS list are processed in order of appearance.  Is that not true?  If not, why does Windows provide the ability to order the list of DNS IP addresses?

But, if the first DNS entry (delivered by DHCP) points to the Win2k3 server, doesn't the satisfy the need?  The reason that I put the 2nd, 3rd and 4th DNS entries in DHCP is in case the Server is down (usually the second forwards to the ISP's DNS server, but sometimes that fails, so we have recourse directly to the DNS servers in the 3rd and 4th entry.

Are you suggesting I should have ONLY a DNS entry to the Server, and have the Server duplicate all the DNS functionality of the ISP?
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 16924384
CAOgdin,
> I'm under the mpression that IP addresses in the DNS list are processed
> in order of appearance.  Is that not true?  If not, why does Windows
> provide the ability to order the list of DNS IP addresses?

Yes that's true.  I'm not sure I see your point.

> But, if the first DNS entry (delivered by DHCP) points to the Win2k3
> server, doesn't the satisfy the need?  The reason that I put the 2nd,
> 3rd and 4th DNS entries in DHCP is in case the Server is down (usually
> the second forwards to the ISP's DNS server, but sometimes that fails,
> so we have recourse directly to the DNS servers in the 3rd and 4th entry.

Exactly - So you end up having intermittant problems.  The primary DNS server provides responses whenever it can.  If - for whatever reason - it cannot answer quickly enough, one of the other servers will answer (in order listed).  Now, if those servers answer, they don't have a clue about your network and so they don't provide the required information.

Having backup DNS makes sense - but they should be run on additional servers in your network, NOT by the ISP.


> Are you suggesting I should have ONLY a DNS entry to the Server, and
> have the Server duplicate all the DNS functionality of the ISP?

Ultimately yes.

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Author Comment

by:CAOgdin
ID: 16924402
Hmmm.  That sounds highly logical.  I'll be studying it over the weekend, and reconfiguring that Win2k3 DNS sometime next week at the client site...As I promised, I'll report back on what I've done and what I find.

Thanks for your cordial collaboration.
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Author Comment

by:CAOgdin
ID: 16964068
That was it!  I confirmed DNS configuration (with forwarding), and changed DHCP to refer only to Win2K3 Server's IP address for DNS resolution, and roaming profiles are now saving.

The remaining problem is that if the server is down, workstations will not be able to access the Internet.  I plan to add the IP address of that DSL router as a secondary IP in the DNS server list in DHCP, to handle that case.  Does that violate some other constraint I'm still learning about?
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