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Many services, on 15 XP Pro workstations, fail to automatically start on a SBS 2003 network.

Posted on 2007-04-11
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Last Modified: 2010-03-18
On all of the 15 XP Pro workstations, many services fail to start automatically, including the network browser service, on a small business server 2003 network.

Despite this most network programs work normally and existing mapped network drives are usually accessible. My network places however cannot be browsed unitl the network browser service is manually started. Other problems caused by this issue, which seemed to co-incide with last months Windows updates ,are as follows.

1) The Windows firewall is now controlled by Group Policy, resulting in a 'firewall may be disabled' error message appearing on startup.
2) SBS Exchange appears off-line at regular intervals, although it then manages to re-connect and synchronise ( as Exchange is working in cached mode this does not cause any serious problems ).
3) Data Execution Prevention error messages are appearing on startup, which then seem to be resolved by changing the DEP settings to 'turn on for all programs, except..." option
4) The desktop screen display on many of the workstations changes to a basic 'Windows Classic'  view i.e. the Start Button changes to the basic button icon, the background changes etc. ( N.B. roaming profiles are not enabled ).
5) The anit-virus software has problems updating on some of the workstations, although there are no viruses found and eventually it does manage to update.
6) Network drives sometimes have a red cross through them in My Computer, but when double clicked they still link to the server

For reference, all PC's are relatively new, of good specification and the server is also very highly specified . The network infrastructure is fairly new and includes a fast ethernet 24 port switch.

How can the above issues be resolved?
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Question by:itcroydon
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tigermatt earned 500 total points
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Sounds like the services controlling all those functions could be disabled for some reason by a Group Policy setting, perhaps after the installation of a piece of software?

Can you run "rsop.msc" from the command line (without the quotes) of a client PC, then have a look in Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > System Services. Can you reply with details of any services in their which don't have "Not Defined" appearing in the "Startup" and "Permission" columns. Also, what does the source GPO column say?

Thanks
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by:tigermatt
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You said: 1) The Windows firewall is now controlled by Group Policy, resulting in a 'firewall may be disabled' error message appearing on startup.

That happens anyway because the security centre is enabled by default. To disable security centre, you will need to set the following in a GPO which applies to all your machines (probably Default Domain Policy)
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Security Centre > Turn on Security Centre (Domain PCs only) > Disabled. That should sort out your constant messages warning you Windows Firewall is disabled.
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by:itcroydon
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I should be able to check this early next week -- thanks!
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by:itcroydon
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The PC that was checked will not allow the security centre to be disabled. Also rsop.msc showed all services as 'not defined' and I believe that the source GPO column was blank.

I suppose that it could just be an intermittant communications problem between the SBS Server and the workstations, as there seems to be no obvious signs of configuration issues. Could this possibly be caused by using static IP addresses, or is there anything else that can be checked?  
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by:tigermatt
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The security centre can only be disabled on domain PCs, so a machine not connected to the domain can't have it controlled by the GPO. Also check your switches and NIC in the server to ensure it isn't being overloaded with too much network traffic and needs to be upgraded etc.

Static IPs shouldn't be a problem, providing they have the correct gateway, DNS and WINS configuration.

The classic view problem can occur if the Workstation service disables for some reason, or if one of the svchost.exe programs which "holds" the workstation services crashes and exits unintentionally.
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by:itcroydon
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The problem seems to have resolved itself, possibly by further Windows updates!?
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by:tigermatt
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That could have been the solution, or perhaps Windows was just being weird, as usual from time to time!

Glad to hear it's solved now - thanks for the points!
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