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Office files taking 30sec-1min to open on XP clients from Windows 2000 DC share. Started small, now over 500 pcs affected!!

Posted on 2006-11-21
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Last Modified: 2010-03-18
Saturday I recieved a page from one of my stores, "our share is really slow." A quick look into it revealed that it does in fact take anywhere from instant (which used to be the norm) to 1-2minutes to open Office docs from a network share. Opening TXT's or any other type of file is instantaneous. Attempting to open an office document will appear to "hang" excell/word, until it opens. After opening the file behaves fine. These shares are a combination of mapped drives and myself attempnig to connect via \\server\share and \\ipaddy\share.

This initiated at one store, but by the end of the day 80% of my users were reporting delays (and the pager was going INSANE). I have setup counters (no excessive disk/cpu activity client or server), I have done some bandwidth monitoring (nothing spamming), and this is happening at at least 5 seperate locations on seperate file servers. Most servers are also DC's, but a couple are just member servers.

Servers: Dell PowerEdge 2600 (or greater), Windows 2000 sp4 (fully updated). DCs (though some are just member servers).

Desktops: XP Pro SP2 fully updated, mainly dell mainly from within 1-2 years. Some older "whitebox" OEM machines. All exhibit same symptoms.


All locations are 100mb local (where the file access is occuring) with T1's back to the central location and out to the internet via oc-3.

I have searched here, and the web in general, but any help is GREATLY appreciated. Save this admin!!!


UPDATE: Disabling/uninstalling A/V does not resolve the issue. There are no Office templates being loaded or used.

Also, in contrast to my initial observations this is also occuring on local files! Now I realize this is in the wrong forum, but plz help anyway! :)


Thanks

Justin Allen
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Question by:ZLucas
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by:ZLucas
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update 2: I have noticed that if i open winword.exe or excel.exe and then from there do a open of the file, it opens instantly. This happens to both local and networked files. Upon closing word and then double clicking the word file itself, its back to 30sec-1min delays. ahhhh!!!!!
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by:ZLucas
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update 3: oh lordy. ok, so I have now deteremined that if i unplug the NIC the files open just fine. Plug the nic in and we're back to delay.
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by:johnb6767
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Something simple to start with...Are any of the clients showing any disconnected mapped drives? If so, remove them, as it causes Office to hang. Also, any addins that were pushed out to them that could be failing?
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by:ZLucas
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johnb6767: no, no d/c'd mapped drives. No addins to speak of. As I stated, the problem goes away when the nic isn't connected, so theres a connection between the two somewhere.
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johnb6767 earned 500 total points
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Yea, I didnt think it was going to be that easy....All of the T1's are connected via VPN? Any DNS changes in the domain?
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by:ZLucas
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no the t1's are point-to-points from our stores to our main office. so they're just on different subnets, and in different sites AD-wise. no dns changes or problems. all things still resolve fine. Tomorrow im going to do a capture on the client nic, see if theres something going on there.
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by:ZLucas
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SOLUTION:

This turned out to be related to a MS initiated audit. We were recently audited by ms, and in the proccess of that audit utilized a piece of software from Express Metrix (EM). This software deserves is own ridiculous thread, and cost our company many, many man-hours to setup and use. Needless to say, we used the software for 30days (Trial) and completed the audit within that timeframe. Their software is client/server based, with a SQL database on the server, and pushing out to clients via WMI and AD. The server itself is used for nothing other than this (part of the problem, I'll get to that later). So, 1 week after the audit, and probably 2 weeks since anyone thought of the server, the current office problem creeps up. Since the EM client is installed without leaving a noticeable footprint on the client (unless you dig into the sysroot dir and look for it specifically), we at first missed this correlation. Turns out that on the 16th the EM Server rebooted (probably from a windows update) and at somepoint the floppy drive had died. This left it setting at a BIOS 'f1 to continue' prompt. Now, this 'server' (nothing more than a crappy desktop formatted for the purpose) isn't production, and the only software on it has expired, so its lack of network presence wasn't felt. However, each time you attempt to open a office doc, the express client attempts to contact the server with usage data. Since the server is down, it times out. No where along the lines did these guys ever bother to include any form of error reporting in there software, so no log/event was generated. No message was displayed, not even a beep from the PC speaker.

So, this 'non-intrusive,' 'absolutely easy to use,' 'save countless manhours,' software has cost us a fortune in lost productivity, and not to mention it did an INCREDIBLY poor job of actually inventorying. Oh ya, and then after it completely misreported our environment to MS, it was on us (guilty until proven innocent) to prove that we weren't using the software it reported. And by prove, i mean visit almost 500 pcs and take screen shots of 'add/remove programs.' But like I said, that is a compeletly different thread.


So, if your office apps have taken a huge turn for the worse, and you've been trying to inventory your environment, just shoot yourself. I wish i had weeks ago.
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by:johnb6767
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Thats crazy......But why are you accepting an answer? You can always close a question on your own if no answer was provided.
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