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Scheduled Tasks on Windows Server 2003 won´t start after SP1 is applied

Hi there,

I´ve ran on a difficult problem that I just can´t seem to crack.

I have 4 identical Windows Server 2003 servers running various applications, but their mainly function is EMC Control Center for managing our SAN:s. On these servers we have various scheduled tasks running different batch jobs.

After we´ve applied SP1 onto those 4 servers, the Scheduled Tasks GUI doesn´t start anymore and the explorer.exe process eats about 45MB of RAM and 25% CPU. I´ve searched everywhere, googled the problem, tried MS Kb but haven´t found anything close to my problem....

This is what I´ve tried so far:
1. Tried to restart the service but it fails to restart and I get the usual error that the service couldn´t stop in a timely fashion.... (only reboot helps)
2. Tried to re-register the mstask.dll, but got an error saying that the dll is loaded but the DllRegisterServer entry point was not found.
3. Ran the following registry script (found it in another forum)

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{D6277990-4C6A-11CF-8D87-00AA0060F5BF}]
"InfoTip"=hex(2):40,00,25,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,52,00,6f,00,\
  6f,00,74,00,25,00,5c,00,73,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,33,00,32,00,5c,\
  00,53,00,48,00,45,00,4c,00,4c,00,33,00,32,00,2e,00,64,00,6c,00,6c,00,2c,00,\
  2d,00,32,00,32,00,39,00,32,00,33,00,00,00
"IntroText"=hex(2):40,00,25,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,52,00,6f,00,\
  6f,00,74,00,25,00,5c,00,73,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,33,00,32,00,5c,\
  00,53,00,48,00,45,00,4c,00,4c,00,33,00,32,00,2e,00,64,00,6c,00,6c,00,2c,00,\
  2d,00,33,00,31,00,37,00,35,00,33,00,00,00
"{305CA226-D286-468e-B848-2B2E8E697B74} 2"=dword:00000005
@="Scheduled Tasks"
"LocalizedString"="@C:\\WINDOWS\\system32\\mstask.dll,-3408"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{D6277990-4C6A-11CF-8D87-00AA0060F5BF}\DefaultIcon]
@="C:\\WINDOWS\\system32\\mstask.dll,-100"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{D6277990-4C6A-11CF-8D87-00AA0060F5BF}\InProcServer32]
@="C:\\WINDOWS\\system32\\mstask.dll"
"ThreadingModel"="Both"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{D6277990-4C6A-11CF-8D87-00AA0060F5BF}\ShellFolder]
"Attributes"=hex:00,00,00,21

4. Verified the actual version of the mstask.dll file on the server with the one here: http://support.microsoft.com/dllhelp/?dlltype=prodfile&l=55&pid=3198&vid=229707&alpha=mstask.dll&S=1&x=0&y=0

Anyone seen or heard about this problem before?!?
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GStiuca
Asked:
GStiuca
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1 Solution
 
Michael PfisterCommented:
A few things to try:

- Verify Task Scheduler is started under "System Account"
- Check if there are old tasks under %SYSTEMROOT%\Taks. If yes, move them away or delete them.
- Any other errors in the eventlog? Esp. at boot time?

Finally, if you have saved the uninstall info for SP1, remove SP1 and check if the problem goes away.
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Michael PfisterCommented:
- and have you checked that EMCs driver for your SAN are current?
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GStiucaAuthor Commented:
Hello again,

-The task scheduler is running with the LocalSystem account....I also tried the Interactive button, but no success.
-I will check the %SYSTEMROOT\Tasks folder and get back to you on that.
-No errors (regarding this) whatsoever, neither at boot nor when I log on....that´s the strange part.

SP1 is applied with a specific load of software and cannot be uninstalled.  Same goes for the EMC drivers, they meet a minimum required version, but that doesn´t mean that the version is necessarly the latest one.

Like I said, a reboot is OK but I have to announce that in advance and before I reboot, I really wanna feel that all other options are drained out.

Cheers....
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GStiucaAuthor Commented:
Hello,

I´ve tried to access the %SYSTEMROOT%\Taks folder, but apparently that folder opens up the same GUI that I´ve been trying to open from the control panel....in other words it´s a No go.

The HBA card is a Qlogic QLA2340 Fibre Chanel Adapter and the drivers are dated 2006-03-16 and the version is 9.1.2.16.

Anyone? Please....

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Michael PfisterCommented:
Can you check the %SYSTEMROOT%\Tasks folder from command line and not via GUI?
i.e.

dir %SYSTEMROOT%\Tasks

You should see some *.job files there, try to move them away to a different folder or delete them if you can re-create them lateron:

i.e.

md C:\Task_Backup
move %SYSTEMROOT%\Task\*.* C:\Task_Backup

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GStiucaAuthor Commented:
Hi,

There was one .job file there and also a desktop.ini and a SA.dat file aswell and I moved all of them to a backup folder.
Allthough, I still cannot access the GUI and the behavior is the same....explorer.exe takes 25% constant CPU and nothing happens.

What can I do with the moved files? Are they in any way relevant?

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Michael PfisterCommented:
The desktop.ini control the look of the folder, don't know whats the SA.dat.
The .job file contains a scheduled task.
I was hoping that a bad job file kills your scheduler gui .. but thats not the case.

Check if permissions to %SYSTEMROOT%\Tasks are ok, should be similar to:

BUILTIN\Administrators:F
NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM:F
CREATOR OWNER:F

further questions:
- This happens on all 4 servers?
- Do scheduled tasks run anyway?
- can you manage jobs on the command line with the schtasks command?

If all this doen't help, lets switch back back to basic troubleshooting:
- Check your server for malware/spyware with at least 2 decent virus scanners and at least 2 malware scanners (like AdWare and Spybot S&D).
- If its clean, download hijackthis (http://www.merijn.org/programs.php). You can post the log for online check at http://www.hijackthis.de


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GStiucaAuthor Commented:
Hello,

I was kinda hoping the same....unfortunately that didn´t help.

1. The permissions are OK
2. All 4 servers are affected in the same way.
3. No, the task(s) don´t run at all.....
4. Not sure if schtasks is the same as at....if so, the answer is no, the tasks aren´t running via the CLI either.

These servers are pretty much isolated from the outside world and like I said, the updates are performed through specific loads which include already tested patches/hotfixes and other critical stuff from MS. Although I´m supervising those servers, my hands are tied to a small amount of things I´m allowed to do. In other words, I´m not allowed to run any other virus scanners /adware software other than what the load permits. That´s the crappy part.....:(

I will however try the schtasks command, but I´m not sure what that´ll prove if it´s working...?!?

Cheers...
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Michael PfisterCommented:
Ok, tasks not running at all is really bad news.
If schtasks can create _working_ tasks, it means just the GUI part is corrupt. If not, the whole scheduler is really broken.
AT is just a subset of schtasks and has only a few options. I think MS left it in for compatibilty reasons with NT 4 without IE 5, i.e. AT can't run tasks under a different user account than SYSTEM.
...hm, I think IE is still delivering the scheduler, so maybe a repair of your IE can also repair your scheduler?

Imho you need to get full control of one of the machines, or maybe a VMWare clone of it so you can try things without taking risks.
Even uninstalling SP1 might be an option, ignoring that the uninstall claims there are other programs affected....

Other idea: call Microsoft support. They will help you analyze your system and they have access to an internal knowledgebase which is unaccessible for us mortals ... if someone else had similar problems they should find it.



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GStiucaAuthor Commented:
I´ve just tried to run the schtasks command from CLI but it seems that the whole scheduler is broken.....:(

When I run schtasks the taskmanager gets the same behavior as before when I tried to run the GUI.....if I give schtasks som parameters, like /? or /create /? then it´s OK. I can even create a task, e.g "schtasks /create /TN test /ST 14:18 /TR notepad /SC once", but when the time comes, nothing happens...except the taskmanager that get the "default" behavior as before.

If noone else has any ideas, I´ll give MS a call too.....will get back here with results (if any).

Cheers....
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Michael PfisterCommented:
I hope MS can help you ...
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GStiucaAuthor Commented:
Hi all,

Here´s some info regarding my case;

I´ve just uninstalled SP1 and rebooted the server. After that the Scheduled Tasks GUI appears normally and all tasks are fully functional.
Now I just have to investigate and find what software/update/patch/other is the culprit responsible for making the Scheduled Tasks GUI corrupt....that´ll be fun.

@mpfister: Tnx 4 all your input and ideas, they were quite useful!
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Michael PfisterCommented:
This is really bad. SP1 has some problems, but I never saw it breaking task scheduler...
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GStiucaAuthor Commented:
In case someone is interested, MS finaly cracked the case.....and the culprit was apparently a job that got corrupted during the SP1 upgrade and therefor stalled the entire GUI and all other jobs.

Also the jobs got very strange attributes after the upgrade....and to that even MS lacks explanation.
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Michael PfisterCommented:
But where were these jobs stored??? In my 1st and my 3rd post I asked you to move all jobs under %SYSTEMROOT%\Tasks away ... this should have solved the problem?!
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GStiucaAuthor Commented:
Yes I´m aware of that....but as I wrote in my last post, the jobs got very strange attributes (SHR) and because of that, I didn´t see them at first. That´s why it didn´t help to move them at that point.

The case however is still open....just talked to MS and informed them that none of the jobs are running anymore, even after I removed the corrupted one. Not even newly created jobs start.
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Michael PfisterCommented:
Very strange... have you checked the attributes of the Tasks folder?
Maybe just stop task scheduler, remove the entire directory %SystemROOT%\Tasks, recreate the directory and start the service...
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GStiucaAuthor Commented:
Hmmm....that I haven´t tried yet. Will do and get back with results...
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GStiucaAuthor Commented:
Here´s the latest update on my issue:

After talking to MS, I tried different aproaches and finaly I see the light....;)
Apparently the problem consists of two parts: First there´s a corrupt .JOB that had to be removed in order to get the GUI working.
Second thing I had to do, was to replace the SP1-version of mstask.dll with the one from the original I386 installation. After a reboot everything is back to normal operation.

How/what do I do to close this issue?
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Michael PfisterCommented:
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Michael PfisterCommented:
Thanks for the points...
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GStiucaAuthor Commented:
NP! Tnx for the time you put on this...;)
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