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Windows Server 2003 keeps crashing, not overheating, no errors in event logs.

Posted on 2008-10-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Afternoon all,

I have a mail server running exchange at one of our satellite offices.
It keeps randomly crashing, there are no errors in the event log.
I havn't installed any new hardware or software.

I've checked the system temperatures and all seem ok.

It's well within specification for exchange (2003)

I know it's not much to go by, but is there anything else you can recommend checking that might give away a reason why this server keeps crashing?

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Question by:Alan-Yeo
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Expert Comment

by:mirzas
ID: 22731006
Check its power supply - reboot it and check if the RAM is ok.

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Author Comment

by:Alan-Yeo
ID: 22731019
Are there anyways to check the power supply?
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Expert Comment

by:mirzas
ID: 22731070
If you have a spare one try using that.

If you have a redundant power supply unit try connecting the power cord to that one or just one of the two.

Try all of the combinations. See how the server behaves under some load.

Please be careful - do not touch anything if you don't know what your are doing.
Electricity from the power supply can be really dangerous.
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Expert Comment

by:Paranormastic
ID: 22732220
You can make it so that the BSOD actually shows up before rebooting - when it BSOD it may not be able to actually complete the dump or access the hard drives.  System Properties - Advanced tab - Settings button under Startup and Recovery - uncheck Automatically restart.

Fresh Diagnose is a nice little freeware utility for some generalized automated testing of various issues, I've used it before successfully for a couple of tough to see issues - it may not recognize everything in your system but it can usually get enough stuff that is standard to get you going:
http://www.download.com/Fresh-Diagnose/3000-2086_4-10065841.html?tag=mncol&cdlPid=10849960

Everest I haven't used yet personally, but I know that a number of large retail chain PC shops use it for their entry level techs to diagnose all kinds of stuff like the pro they are supposed to be:
http://www.download.com/Everest-Ultimate-Edition/3000-2086_4-10499291.html?cdlPid=10832752

Some servers you can check out the System Event Log (SEL) which is an out-of-band log stored on the motherboard - this is not the windows event log.  You could see if your OEM has this type of software.  Intel I know does, and most OEMs tend to resell Intel or supermicro server kits.  If they don't have the software you might ask them (or look at the motherbaord) and see if you can find the model number etched / silkscreened into the motherboard not the OEM part number.  This may be kind of a pain, but if none of the other stuff works for you it might be worth looking into.
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Expert Comment

by:Paranormastic
ID: 22732269
If this just started happening in the last day or two and you have automatic windows updates, that could be a possibility too as patches would have just gone out for this month (2nd tuesday of the month is standard for MS).  Maybe one of the patches might have flipped out on you.
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Author Comment

by:Alan-Yeo
ID: 22732670
I've thought about that, Last updates installed where yesterday.

Automatic settings are set to "notify but dont download or install."
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Expert Comment

by:Paranormastic
ID: 22734489
How often is this bouncing?  What is the criticality of it (i.e. can it be down for 2x expected time period between bounces)?  - can it be down overnight, over the weekend, during the day (sorry to have to think this way)?

If it remains a mystery the definitive way to look at hardware vs. software is to boot into DOS.  Usually when I do this I will make a small batch file for autoexec to run that will display the time upon bootup, that way if i step out for a couple minutes or come back in the morning there is evidence that it bounced.  Could even export that to a text file (date > c:\date.log)
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Expert Comment

by:ChiefIT
ID: 22742286
What service pack are you on?
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Author Comment

by:Alan-Yeo
ID: 22742335
It's bounce 2 occasions over 2 consequtive days.
The 2nd day it restarted itself abour 3 times over and over.

but has been fine since.

The server is running Service Pack 2.
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Accepted Solution

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ChiefIT earned 500 total points
ID: 22742628
Windows updates may be causing the problem in a different way than you expect.

It sounds like you have a GPO set to automatically reboot upon finishing installing windows updates. Domain policy GPOs for Windows updates are not recommended for this very reason. You don't want Windows updates controlling your server reboots.  

By default the computer will check for updates every 22 hours.
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