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Server lockup with unknown cause

I am a student, so I have access to Server 2003 for free and I am teaching myself how to run a server with enterprise services for those of you who would say I am in over my head and to use a differnt OS.  The system recently started freezing upon start-up. I've been reading the event viewer, but I can't find anything . As I am novice, I'm not sure if all of my security settings are correct. I haven't installed any new software, all of the software on the server is the server or data files, and when I look at TCPView, I don't see any obvious (to me) bogus connections.  Any help as to where to start to find error information would be appreciated.

Oh, and one of the updates never installed. I've tried everything I can think of, but it just won't install it.  I can get the number if it's important.
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bantab
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bantab
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Netman66Commented:
You shouldn't belittle yourself - how many of us started out just like you are?  I bet more than you can imagine.  You learn in this industry by DOING - paper certs don't cut it anymore.  Most good managers can see right through the paper guys.  

Anyway, server lockups are not always easy to troubleshoot.

You need to start with the basic steps to eliminate the obvious stuff.

1)  Make sure ALL the hardware is working properly.  This means reseating all the components to be sure nothing is just simply not making proper contact.  Use the vendors tools if it's a branded server to run diagnostics on the hardware.  If it's a home-built computer then look around the Net for tools like Memtest, SiSoft Sandra, and similar applications that you can trial to try to make sure your hardware is not faulty.  That's the first step.

2)  Make sure ALL the drivers you have installed are actually correct for the hardware and OS version you're using.  

Those 2 steps cover about 90% of all issues I run across like this.

3)  Make sure that your configuration isn't such that you are creating a "Race" condition - like having 2 NICs on one VLAN or switch that exist on the same subnet (poor example, I know).  Sometimes Services can oppose one another if not configured properly.  Antivirus software can be particulary problematic if it isn't the right version for Servers.

4)  Check the Setupapi.log for installation errors that might have gone unnoticed.

That should keep you busy for awhile.

Keep us posted.
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bantabAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the help.  I'm still going through the steps.  So far I have had no luck, as the system continues to lock, but I will keep trying.  Thanks again, and hopefully I will have more positive news soon.
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bantabAuthor Commented:
So sorry that it has taken so long, but I finally had time to finish this, and I believe I fixed it. It seems like two problems I was having were linked.  I had installed EasyCD creator (which I later found out was a big no-no) and then uninstalled it, which left registry debris (bounding filters?) on the system.  I also had installed the windows media server role.  Uninstalling that role and cleaning the registry of the adaptec junk seems to have worked.  I'll post if the problem reoccurs.  Thanks for the help!
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