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server shuts down unexpectedly

Posted on 2008-10-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I have a customer that is having a problem with thier server.  It is shutting down unexpectley in the middle of the night with no error messages.  A DSET report sent to Dell reveales little if anything.  We have replaced the Motherboard, CPU, Memory, power supply and modem within the last two months.  What can I do to track what is running when the system shuts downs or better yet how can we stop the shut downs from happening?
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Question by:Beaucairej
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ryansoto earned 250 total points
ID: 22732979
First thing is check antivirus software that a first shot.  Next is drivers.
Incompatible drivers cause nice reboots.  Check the logs to see if any drivers were updated recently.
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by:FourBeers
FourBeers earned 250 total points
ID: 22733746
Can you just confirm what is displayed in the Startup and Recovery settings page (Right click My Computer, Properties, Advanced Tab, lowest Settings button.  Is it set to Automatically Restart? And also is it set to create a crash dump - this is usually created if a driver has an issue and can sometimes give you a clue - if you can find some dump files I can give you more info on reading them.

However, if the power is literally shut off this won't happen (no chance to create the dump) - I'd look at event logs just to see if you can see a consistent time (eg gaps in security log).
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by:Beaucairej
ID: 22739199
Thanks for your suggestions, the server shuts down it doesn't restart itself.  When I look at the logs there is an activity at 11:00 pm, the next entry is at 7:34 am the following day & it referes to the previous shoutdown was unexpected at 11:50pm the day before.  There is no other entries in any of the event applications, no dumps no nothing.  Like I said before most of the hardware has been replaced or removed.  The last thing I did was reset the CPU and clear the event logs.  I will see what happens today.

Thanks again for your input.
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by:FourBeers
ID: 22739630
Did you get a chance to check that screen (mentioned in my last comment) - I think if that tick box for Automatically Restart is not checked it won't come back on again.  Plus, below that checkbox there is an option to save a crash dump which could help you work out what is wrong, but if these are not set you won't have much to go on.

Checking the time of shutdown may help you if it's the same time each day, but ultimately sometimes even watching a server crash doesn't help (although you might see the blue screen and error code if you're lucky).
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by:ryansoto
ID: 22741357
Right do any backup jobs run at that time (maybe backup software is causing the issue)  Any antivirus sweeps done at that time?
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by:Beaucairej
ID: 22744276
I didnot get a chance to check to see if the automatic startup or dump box is checked.  THere is no one there today so I will have to check tomorrow.  Also, when I was there yesterday, the server just locked up, no messages no nothing, just froze.  I restarted and it stayed up until last night, then this morning it was down again and I did not have a chance to see any event logs prior to them leaving today.  I also was told that the system froze up again this morning with no error messages and had to be restarted.

The backup program that runs starts at 7:30pm and is usually finished by 8:30 pm and these crashes have been happening some where around 10:30pm to 11:00 pm.

When I get a chance to log into their system remotely tomorrow I will update this with more information and see if some one can help us out.

THanks for your time and effort.  It is much apprectiated.
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Author Comment

by:Beaucairej
ID: 23173871
After much deliberation, and constant problems the owner of the business demaded that the server be replaced.  It was and no more problems.  THanks for all the help.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Beaucairej
ID: 31526039
Although both of you tried to help and your suggestions were good ones, I am splitting the points between you for your help.  The actual solution was replacing the server and it is running fine.  Thanks for your help.
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