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Windows XP machine not mapping drives after boot.

Posted on 2006-07-07
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
We have a client that has about 30 PC's in an office, all are XP Pro. Two of the machines will not map the network drives from the startup script after powering up the computer. The PC boots up fine and the user logs into the domain fine, but the network drives are not available. If the user logs off the domain and back on, the network drives are available. This leads us to believe that the "networking" part of Windows is not running or completing correctly after the boot up. This does not happen every time the machine is started, and this makes it difficult to pinpoint. There are 2 NIC's installed on the machine (1 integrated - 1 PCI) and both do the same thing. Also, periodically through the day, they will loose the mapped drives and have to either log off-on or run the script manually.

Is there a registry setting or something that needs set to force Windows to run the script after the OS has loaded up or is this a network-server related issue?

Thank you in advance!
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Question by:InterWorks
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by:fm250
ID: 17060046
there is an option somewhere in the group policy to run network connections at login. so check the options there.

If it did n't work, you may want to  try my script in this link; it loops till it connect, you may make the loop go 2-5 times only: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/Windows_Server_2003/Q_21040935.html

hope this helps!
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Expert Comment

by:gareva1
ID: 17060169
If all of the computers are identical builds, the mention of the mapped drives dropping during the day makes me think a connection failure; check the wiring and the ports on the switch that these computers connect to...also, have you tried moving the computers to another location that currently works to make sure its not the physical connection?
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by:lkingpinl
ID: 17060321
This sounds like intermittent signals on the NIC's.  Take gareva1's suggestion and move the machines to a known good spot and see what happens.  It sounds like physical wires or ports.  First, try swapping ports on the switch, then swap cables, then move to known good location.  
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by:Pber
ID: 17060461
You're network might not be on before logon.  You can enable this in a local or domain policy.

On either a local Group policy on the workstation (gpedit.msc) or preferably in a domain GPO you need to enable the following setting:

Computer Configuration\Administrative templates\system\logon\Always wait for the network at computer startup and logon and enable that.

Reboot the desktop and see if that fixes things.

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by:james_in_hardware
ID: 17060595
I would go into your device manager on that particular machine and check on your network cards advanced settings and make sure that power saving mode is disabled on the NIC's.  This would come to mind if the machine is losing connection to mapped drives during the day.  The issue with not mapping drives or losing map drives is an issue with XP sometimes and it can be resolved by using the net use x: \\servername\sharename /persistent:yes  in your script the persistent:yes should correct the problem.
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by:b0lsc0tt
ID: 17060874
james_in_hardware,

The suggestions you have received are good but the problem may also be caused by the limit on the number of simultaneous connections.  What is the OS on the machine that is sharing the drives?  If it is also Win XP Pro then you are limited to 10 simultaneous connections and that limit would explain why machines may not be able to connect at start up or loose the connection.  This MS Knowledgebase article (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314882/en-us) has some information on this limit.  The article also mentions one solution, change the auto disconnect time.  However if this is the problem and you will need more connections then you will have to change the OS on the machine sharing the drives.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this or want more information.

b0lsc0tt
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by:james_in_hardware
ID: 17060907
Correct b0l but since it happens on the same two machines I was thinking that the 10 concurrent connections would not be an issue......now off topic if we could get windows xp to support more then 10 concurrent then you would be a GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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by:b0lsc0tt
ID: 17061257
@James - I did notice that point and am honestly surprised that it is not a bigger problem if 30 computers are trying to connect to a XP Pro machine.  I made that comment since the point had not been mentioned yet.  If I could provide a solution like that then that would be quite the feat. :-)

bol
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by:fm250
ID: 17061852
I think InterWorks has a server that has the shares, it wasn't mentioned that the connections to an xp machine.

InterWorks, any feedback.
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by:dvdogca
ID: 17062125
Do you have any errors listed in your event log of these two machines?
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by:jasonr0025
ID: 17062482
Are you using wireless on these 2 machines?
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Author Comment

by:InterWorks
ID: 17062635
WOW....talk about fast feedback. I did not expect to have this many replies so fast.

>>>>>You're network might not be on before logon.  You can enable this in a local or domain policy.

On either a local Group policy on the workstation (gpedit.msc) or preferably in a domain GPO you need to enable the following setting:

Computer Configuration\Administrative templates\system\logon\Always wait for the network at computer startup and logon and enable that.<<<<<

The above fix has already been done.

The machine that has the shares is Server 2003.

I have not tried moving the 2 desktops to a different location.

There is no wireless. They both are using the on-board Net Extreme GB adapters with updated drivers. BTW, this is a GB network, all the desktops, servers and switches are GigaBit.

The NIC's on the desktops had the power option set for the OS to turn off to save power. I disabled this feature on both machines and will see if that does any good. I am not sure why this would help since the users use IM software, email and DB related software all day long, but its worth a shot.

THANKS for all the fast replies!



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by:fm250
ID: 17062885
Did you try to make persistent:yes  on your script?

You may also disconnect any network drives before you reboot or logoff, log back on and see what happens?

try the other suggestions for moving the computers or swithching the cables and switches and see if that helps!

post back the result
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by:InterWorks
ID: 17088126
A few more comments on the issue:

1. We had this problem at our old building as well (with all different wiring, different switches, etc) so we have in effect tried multiple locations
2. We have tried multiple NICS on the machines with the problems
3. We had had multiple OS's on our server (currently Windows 2003, it was 2003 SBS prior)
4. We use login scripts by assigning them in A.D. by for example filling in standard.bat in the login script section
5. When I say the script doesn't run, I don't mean it tries to run but the drives don't map, it just flat out completely ignores the batch file and goes straight to windows.

Adding a persistent:yes would solve the problem in that if the script doesn't run the drives are still mapped, but it doesn't get to the root of the problem which is why is the script randomly being ignored?

I do very much appreciate the ideas and dialogue

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by:InterWorks
ID: 17088139
I bumped this question up to 500 points because it is most definitely a tough problem.  I spoke to a few other network administrators as well and they have reported the same problems on their network..... I can't help but think many networks in a 2003 environment have this same problem but it's really never addressed because a simple reboot of the client machine generally fixes the problem

I am leaning towards something with the network on the computers themselves are starting AFTER the computer logs in..... not sure why it's random and not sure how to prevent it.  As I said, we have tried multiple NICS (different brands) and have also tried different drivers for the NIC
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by:fm250
ID: 17092255
Have you tried to logon as different user?
I am thinking of something in the user configuration.
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by:lkingpinl
ID: 17099236
I run a 2003 environment and have 75 XP Pro machines and have never experienced this issue.  

It's not very clear, are you enforcing Group Policy?

If your script is being ignored then there is no connection to the network at logon so the machine is using the local profile it created to login successfully.  

There is no explicable reason why two machines would simply drop off the network and there not be a hardware and/or physical termination issue.

My suggestion:

1.  Make sure your GP is enforced.
2.  Disjoin the two machines from the domain (join them to a workgroup).
3.  Re-join them to the domain.

This process takes maybe 15 minutes.  
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by:Snakebyte
ID: 17105408
Have you checked your DNS server. Group policy, and the ability to process is largely dependant on DNS in Active Directory, so you may have a DNS server issue. If you have more than one DNS server, than one server may be working well, and the other may be dropping requests (not sure why this would show up on only a handful of machines, but I've seen weirder things).
     You can try and hard code the DNS server one one of the machines to one DNS server, and hardcode the other DNS server on one of the other machines. If it doesn;t work, not much time lost.

     Also, are you getting any failures related to group policy at the client or the DC?
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by:InterWorks
ID: 17133913
I just ran some testing on one of the PC's that is in question and here is what I came up with:
1st Boot (cold boot)
      -Network Drives not mapped
            -Disabled Symantec
            -Rebooted
2nd Boot
      -Network Drives Available
            -Turned off PC
3rd Boot
      -Network Drives not mapped
            -Re-enabled Symantec
            -Removed VNC server from startup
            -Rebooted
4th Boot
      -Network Drives Available
            -Turned off PC
5th Boot
      -Network Drives not mapped
            -Added VNC back to startup
            -Rebooted
6th Boot
      -Network Drives Available
            -Turned off PC
7th Boot
      -Network Drives not mapped
                                -Turned off PC
8th Boot
      -Network Drives not mapped
            -Set Static IP for DNS on NIC
            -Turned off PC
9th Boot
      -Network Drives Available
            -Turned off PC
10th Boot
      -Network Drives not mapped
            -Turned off PC
11th Boot
      -Held “Shift” key after control/alt/del login
      -Network Drives Available
            -Turned off PC
12th Boot
      -Did not log into domain from this PC. I connected to PC using VNC and then logged into domain.
      -Network Drives Available

This looks like it is almost always happening on booting the PC from cold boot. Could this be the "Prepairing Network Connections" portion of XP?
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by:InterWorks
ID: 17138447
Update:

On one of the machines that we are having issues with, I set the IP address as a static IP, SM and Gateway. I left the static DNS IP in there from yesterday. After doing this, I shut down the PC 6 times (cold boot) and after every startup the drives were mapped correctly.

Something with the local machines' DHCP properites and/or services maybe?

I verified that the DHCP client serivce was running and set to automatic and it is running as "Local System" account.

Any suggestions are appreciated!
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by:InterWorks
ID: 17138538
Oh FYI, our Sonicwall is what hands out DHCP, we have tried two separate model Sonicwalls with separate firmwares...... I think it's still something related to Windows and networking services starting too fast or something along those lines
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by:InterWorks
ID: 17227228
Looks like the problem may be fixed.
Fast Link on the Dell switches — We have moved 2 of the users to a switch that has this set and have not had any more problems.
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ID: 17397416
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