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Vista computers lose network connectivity

Posted on 2008-10-17
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Last Modified: 2011-10-19
I got a call on Saturday because two Vista laptops couldn't get onto the file server, nor could they get on the network.  An hour later, through no intervention on my part, both computers were working fine.  On Saturday, there is very little network traffic, and most of the 30 workstations and laptops on the network were off.

Monday morning, the same 2 laptops could not connect to the server nor to the Internet.  Investigating, I discovered that one of the computers failed its automatic Windows Update over the weekend.  I re-ran the Microsoft Update on one laptop (from files previously downloaded).  After the process finished, I rebooted the computer.  Nope, still not connected.  An hour later while troubleshooting this problem, both computers suddenly were able to access the file server, get email, and access the Internet.  Everything was fine until this morning (Friday).

This morning, same problem, same two Windows Vista Ultimate computers could not access the network.  I couldn't ping the server, couldn't ping the router.  One of the two computers had been off overnight, and one was on.  Both worked yesterday when the users went home.  After about 2 and a half hours of troubleshooting one of the computers and restoring it back to an earlier restore point, and waiting another 40 minutes after the restore, both computers were again working.  It was like magic.  There are no tell-tale signs in the event log.  There are a few occurrences of the Event Id: 4226, but they do not correspond (timewise) to when the problem appears...and I would think that a reboot would resolve that issue.  Rebooting the failing workstations and/or the server does not resolve the issue.

Obviously, I would suspect the server since its the common denominator between the two computers, especially since both computers fail about the same time, and both computers start working again, about the same time.  But aside from the typical Windows Updates, nothing has recently changed on the server.  And its difficult to believe that any changes that would affect connectivity would only affect these two computers.


This environment has 30 workstations/laptops connected to a Windows Small Business Server 2003 server which provides the network functionality for DHCP, RRAS, Exchange, DNS, and ActiveDirectory.  The workstations/laptops are comprised of a few Windows 2000 Pro computers, several Windows XP SP2 & SP3 computers, 3 Windows Vista Ultimate computers and 1 Windows Vista Business Premium computer.  The problem occurs with 2 of the Windows Vista Ultimate computers (Dell).  Its always the same 2, and nobody else on the network experiences any loss of network connectivity.  Two of the Windows Vista Ultimate computers were purchased together and have (supposedly) identical hardware.  Only one of those is failing.  The other one that's failing was purchased 6 months later.  One computer has Service Pack 1 installed, the other one does not.

Anybody have any ideas?  Your help will be greatly appreciated.
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Question by:ACSIPaul
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14 Comments
 
LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:MrLonandB
ID: 22744721
If you are able to tell where the cabling for the two laptops comes in to your switch...try moving one or both of them from their current port to another known good port and see if there is any difference. Of if easier for you, move one of the laptops to another known good jack nearby and see.
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Expert Comment

by:SysExpert
ID: 22744822
also, check the event logs on the server and both machines.

Do you have the VISTA patch for SBS 2003 ?


I hope this helps !
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Author Comment

by:ACSIPaul
ID: 22744852
Thanks, MrLonandB, but I should have mentioned that the office has a wireless network too.  Its generally not used by the users when they're at their desks, but disconnecting the physical network cable from their laptops and enabling the wireless connection doesn't resolve the issue either.
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LVL 59

Expert Comment

by:Darius Ghassem
ID: 22745590
Do you get any info in the Event Viewer?
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Author Comment

by:ACSIPaul
ID: 22745786
SysExpert, what do you mean by Vista patch for SBS 2K3?  I've got Service pack 2 on the server.  Is the patch over and above that?

danusg, I've discovered some DNS errors in the event viewer that I didn't know about, but other than that, no.  I don't think its a DNS problem because I can't even ping a network device by its IP address.  But, eventually, I'll have to fix those DNS problems too....but that's another question.
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Accepted Solution

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communitypc earned 500 total points
ID: 22745803
Check antivirus software that may have integrated firewall.  disable and retry.  also, check if you are using ip4 instead of ip 6.


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Expert Comment

by:SysExpert
ID: 22746174
There were issues with Vista machines properly joining SBS domain via the server/connectcomputer method.

Not sure if that is the issue, but it did cause problems.

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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:ChiefIT
ID: 22746338
sounds like IPversion 6 guys
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:ChiefIT
ID: 22746359
Best way to troubleshoot is for us to see an IPconfig /all.
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Expert Comment

by:Darius Ghassem
ID: 22746374
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Author Comment

by:ACSIPaul
ID: 22746656
communitypc, we (my customer & I) have Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition 10.2 installed on the server.  It is a managed antivirus solution with antivirus clients installed on 10 workstations.  The two Vista computers experiencing problems are 2 of the 10.  The integrated firewall is turned on from the server, on all 10 computers without problems.  I just turned the firewall off on those two computers, but I have no way to test it.  The computers are working correctly right now.  My job is to determine what was wrong when they weren't working and determine how to prevent it from happening again.

IPV6 is not disabled, but DHCP is only serving IPV4 IP addresses from the address pool.

The attached file has the IPCONFIG /ALL output from both computers that are failing.  The domain name has been changed to protect the guilty :-)


SysExpert, both of these computers have been on the network and connected to the domain for close to a year give or take.  One computer is about 6 months older than the other.  Neither were joined using server/connectcomputer.  I got an error trying to use that method and went back to the manual method.

danusg, I checked out the hotfix.  I have no idea whether there is more than 1 NDIS filter driver installed.  I set up both of these computers and the server.  To my knowledge, I never installed anything that would have caused multiple NDIS filter drivers to be installed.  Interestingly enough, the solution for that, besides the hotfix, is to install service pack 1.

My investigation into this problem indicates that this problem started on Oct 11th, the first day that Windows Update tried to forcibly deliver Service Pack 1 to both of these computers.  The other Vista Ultimate computer in the office has had service pack 1 installed for at least a few months.  It too was delivered via Windows update, so I was surprised to discover today that neither of these computers had SP1 installed.  Now, one of the two computers experiencing this problem has SP1 installed, but the other one doesn't yet.


IPCONFIG-OUTPUT.txt
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Expert Comment

by:ChiefIT
ID: 22747381
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Author Closing Comment

by:ACSIPaul
ID: 31507275
When I first read this solution, I didn't realize that IPv6 could be the problem by interfering with the IPv4 connectivity.  The network was clearly running IPv4, but IPv6 was left in its default status.  Disabling IPv6 seems to have eliminated the problem.  What's interesting about this, is that I have two other Vista machines that do not exhibit this problem and that don't have IPv6 turned off.  One of the other two is identical in hardware configuration and software installation to one of the two that were failing.  How Odd!  Anyway, appears to be fixed.  Thank you for your time.  It is much appreciated.
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Expert Comment

by:Zyzzyx6
ID: 25632883
Disable IP6 on your NIC and then stop the Windows Media Network sharing service. It seems the Windows Media sharing queries the network at a preset interval. Checking my log files I see where prior to each manual restart I find that the service attempted to access the network. Stopping this service appears so far to have fixed my intermittant internet access trouble.
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