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File sharing occasionally slows to a crawl and then dies.  "Server" service cannot be stopped when this happens.  Reboot required.

Posted on 2008-06-11
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Last Modified: 2013-12-02
We are using Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard x64 Edition Service Pack 2.  We're running it on a dual core 2.39ghz opteron with 8 gigs of ram and 8 250gig hard drives organized in a couple of RAIDs.  We have at least 100 gigs free on each array.  It usually uses less than 1 gig of ram and the cpu usage idles around 10% and doesn't ever seem to go over 30% during normal usage.  We're using it for Active Directory and file sharing for a small network (about 25-30 clients).  This server is about 10 months old.  

Everything works fine 99% of the time.  However, every two or 3 weeks I will start getting complaints from several people all at once about the file sharing being slow, and then shortly after that, they will not be able to connect to the server at all.  It will just time out.  When this happens I log into the server and check things out and there doesn't seem to be anything weird in task manager, cpu and memory usage is normal, no errors from the RAID controller, no errors in the event log.  The only thing weird is that looking in Computer Management -> System Tools -> Shared Folders -> Sessions there will be 2 or 3 users that have hundreds of open files.  I know these users well and none of them really are opening hundreds of files from the server at once.  Killing the sessions with several hundred open files open does nothing to revive the server.  If I try to stop or restart the Server service, it times out when stopping, then it's stuck there.  It just hangs on stopping forever, and I have to completely reboot the server to get everything back.  

I haven't been able to find any information on what could be causing this and I'm at a loss.  Any help would be very much appreciated.  
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Question by:adamoverlock
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by:ChiefIT
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by:adamoverlock
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CheifIT:  This issue isn't regarding Terminal Services.  It is a problem with File Sharing.  Maybe it would be helpful if I could somehow limit the # of concurrent File Sharing connections per user, but I don't see any way of doing that.
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It's not well documented and there is a way to do this. I think it is in the NIC settings. Let me see if I can find it.

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On this post:
http://www.itnewsgroups.net/group/microsoft.public.windows.server.general/topic12383.aspx

""You only get 2 concurrent connections in admin-only mode.  Most likely,
someone disconnected instead of logging off.  If you have console access,
you can log in there.  Alternatively, if you have a domain and that server
is a member server, you can run terminal services manager from a workstation
as a domain admin and force the open connections to logoff.  Once you get in
to the server, you should set up the terminal services configuration so that
disconnected sessions logoff after a certain period of time.""

Sounds like a timeout period would work for you.
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by:adamoverlock
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CheifIT:  That information is also regarding Terminal Services, which isn't the issue here.  If there is a way to limit concurrent connections for File Sharing per user, or set some sort of an idle timeout on File Sharing connections, that might be helpful.  So far I don't see any way to do that.  
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On those two machines, are there any shortcuts found in the "My network places" folder.

If the 'My Network Places' folder contains a shortcut to a network share, then each refresh of the explorer window will attempt to read icon information from every file in the remote location, causing the system to slow to a crawl.
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by:adamoverlock
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I don't buy that.  We've had lots of machines that had shortcuts in the My Network Places folder and it's never caused a problem with any other server.  If that was the issue, it should happen all the time, not once every few weeks.  
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ChiefIT earned 500 total points
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Here is a plithera of information:

http://www.ss64.com/nt/slow_browsing.html

-->especially this one that says network shortcuts may cause extra traffic:

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=841978
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