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MSDTC on Workgroup computers unavailable

Posted on 2007-11-20
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Last Modified: 2008-02-01
I have two computer, which when working with a server in the same domain work perfectly, however, these compuer are configured to use a Workgroup, not a domain. Both are running Windows XP SP2, both have XP firewall switched off, both installed with McAfee firewall, but have tested with this disabled, same results.

Both computer A and computer B have VS2005 and SQL 2005 Express installed, when computer B tries to access the database on computer A, everything works fine until MSDTC get involved, i.e. a Transactional update etc. Then the database access fails. In the Event Log it has several entries, all saying the same thing. MSDTC on server 'ComputerA' is unavailable, Error No 8501, Error Code 2. I have checked both computers and both have MSDTC running, and both configured to use the NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE account. Both machine also work ok if accessing a database on an Windows Server 2003 computer with SQL 2005 Standard edition installed.

I can only assume it is somwthing to do with Workgroups, as when they both belonged to the same domain, computer B could work with computer A with no problem.

Thanks for any and all advice.
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Question by:townsma
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by:townsma
ID: 20326122
Thanks for the prompt reply. I have looked at the sites you suggest, but I am pretty sure I have already visitied all of those, and certinly hve tried everything list in those, and many other websites.

This really is confusing, I have been working with MSDTC for about 7 years, in many versions of windows, and have always managed to find a way to make it work, but this one completely baffles me.

The MSDTC is running on both computers, using the NetworkService aacount, the firewall has the correct ports open, or has been disabled. Non transactional selects etc. work fine, it is only when MSDTC get involved. The correct settings are set in the MSDTC Security tab. As I said, if I try again an SQL Server on a Windows 2003 server, it works fine, if ai try against an SQL Server Express 2005 on Windows XP in a Workgroup, it does not work. Same computer just different results.

Thanks
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by:townsma
ID: 20337541
I have now found the solution to this problem. Although in the MSDTC security page the reported username was NetworkService, apparently it was not the corret Network Service account. When I reselect the Network Service account from the search page. I discovered that the NetworkService account for the Domain that the computers used to be in, is spelt different to the Network Service account for the workgroup the computer is now in. One has a space , one doesn't. I guess this is why it worked against the server on a domain, but not against another workgroup connected computer.  

Very confusing I would have thought there would have been more consistency between the system generated account names.

Anyway fixed now.
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