Slow accessing of files over network

1. Client has 4 workstations and 1 server, Windows XP Professional
2. Client has 2 workstations with AOL latest and greatest.
3. Cleint has 2 workstations without AOL running XP are the 2 workstations with AOL ... Same machines.
4. The 2 workstations without AOL access all wordprocessing files on the server just fine.
5. The 2 workstations with AOL installed take forever to access a shared folder.

I am needing to know what is going on here and how to let the two workstations running AOL 9.X access the shared folders in a timely manner. I understand AOL is not a business email client and is flakey at best in a business enviorment...

Any suggestions would be helpful as my cleint wants to have AOL on his workstations and is pressuring me.

Who is Participating?
scrathcyboyConnect With a Mentor Commented:
This is typical of AOL, and has been going on since version 7 or maybe 6?  AOL installs all kinds of "port" monitoring software -- by port, in this case we mean a "port" to the WAN, internet. it can be a dial up modem, or a lan connection, or a WAN connection -- whatever it is, if there is a way to get to the net on this "port", then AOL installs parasitic drivers that suck off the system, and grind things like networking to a halt.  Tell you client it cannot be fixed without either removing AOL drivers from the registry, or "magic".

Now for the "magic".  Get into the registry and search all occurence of AOL and AIM.  You will have an incredibly long list (and see why this program is like a virus) -- but out of the hundred or so entries, there will be only 2-5 that install drivers that monitor the internet access "ports".  You can probably find the main one in the "RUN" group -- that is just above RunOnce -- if you search for RunOnce, the key above it will have what you need, most probably.  Check the programs that load, and remove them from "Run".  Once you deletethe right 1-2 virus-like AIM-AOL programs, networking will resume full speed.
I. Describe the network topology.
II. Have you disabled AOL on the A clients (A clients = AOL / B clients = no AOL, S = Server) and tried file access again?

Erik BjersPrincipal Systems AdministratorCommented:
What are the IP addresses of the clients having the problem, what is the IP of the server?  How are you accessing the shares; by server name, by IP address?

What’s more-than-likely happening is; the two clients that are connected to AOL are trying to go out the AOL interface before they try to go out the NIC to access the shared files.  When AOL can not find the server with the files then the client tries your local network.

You can try adding a static route to the clients W/ AOL to force them to use the NIC to access the shared recourses.  But if the clients are on the same network as the server you should not need this.

You can run route add from the command prompt (See below for details), for more info run ‘Route Help’ from the command prompt

        destination^      ^mask      ^gateway     metric^    ^
Rick HobbsRETIREDCommented:
AOL is one of those programs that are a good argument for VMware.  You run the AOL in a virtual machine that doesn't effect the normal, non-AOL system.  You can try static routes to see if it helps, but I think you will find that uninstalling AOL may be your only recourse.   Then, if within your budget, purchase a copy of VMware Workstation, create a virtual session, install AOL on it and Voila!
Erik BjersPrincipal Systems AdministratorCommented:
Problem with a virtual session is you have to buy VMWare about 200 and you need a license for windows another 2-300.

Best bet is to go to another ISP, if you are using dial up, check out people PC, they are around 9 a month and have excelent service.

It is obviously related to AOL, but since removing it is not an option you can try adding the server name/IP address to the workstations hosts files, and also to the LMHOSTS files
Computerguy107Author Commented:
I know it has to do with AOL and that AOL pretty much sucks in a business enviorment. I have already uninstalled AOL from the affected workstations...and still slow....I reformatted one of the machines and things were fine. I decided to give AOL another chance and loaded AOL after reformatting. Things went back to being slow. I had ghosted the hard drive before adding AOL so I was able to go back with ghost. I was not able to go back using the XP System restore. Seems that AOL adds some BS into the system files....Anyway I appericiate all the help.

Also the server is XP Professional. Small network. Clients are hard coded with both IP and DNS.
I am accessing the sever via server name. I will try the suggestion of EBJERS of :::route ADD MASK METRIC 3 IF 2
        destination^      ^mask      ^gateway     metric^    ^

Maybe I am missing something here. I sure hope so. Even though I would never recomend AOL to any client...I use AOL....but I use AOL 7.0 and that was the last version that didn't mess up my system.

Thanks for al lthe suggestions, I wil lget back with you all Monday.. : -)
"I have already uninstalled AOL from the affected workstations...and still slow....I reformatted one of the machines and things were fine. I decided to give AOL another chance and loaded AOL after reformatting. Things went back to being slow."

Yep that proves what I said, as I expected.  The point is, you CAN use AOL, with basic functionality, but not the invasive features it installs by default (without asking).  If you follow what I told you above and investigate the registry, you CAN indeed find what to delete and what to leave, you get the AOL access without the port monitoring hooks it uses to monitor every possible port to the internet -- and then it works fine.  YOu just need to take what I said to heart, or else give up on AOL, or else suffer the speed degradation, choose one of those three - and good luck.
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.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.