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Small Business Server functional deterioration 24-48 hours after reboot

Where to start....

Small Business Server 2003 R2 running on a Dell 2900 tower server that is maybe 6 months old.  4gb RAM, 75% free HDD space, single quad core processor.  Has all Windows updates applied.  Has all updated firmware as well as latest Dell drivers for all hardware.  Physically removed TOE feature.

Running domain and DNS functions.  No Exchange and our Cisco ASA runs DHCP for the dozen XP clients on the domain.  The main application that runs on this server has a Pervasive SQL database backend with the client loaded on each workstation.  Application is a dental practice software called Practiceworks.  System also runs an X-ray application called Cliniview.

Problems...We have been fighting the following problems for a few weeks/months now.  What happens first (or at least what is noticed first) is our users get thrown out of their Practiceworks application and can not get back in.  Application talks to Pervasive on the server.  Preceding or coinciding with this problem is usually a very long "applying personal settings" delay if the users reboot their workstations and log back into the domain.  If you try to RDP to the SBS box, you will also usually get hung up at the "applying personal settings" as well for quite some time, if not indefinately.  We did install VNC on this server and have no problem getting in with VNC even while someone else is simultaneously waiting at the applying personal settings delay with RDP'ing in.

One other symptom I just noticed today is that after users have reported being kicked out of the system and the applying personal settings delays have begun...on the SBS console if I open a command prompt and type GPRESULT...I get an Access Denied error.  When the server is rebooted all these problems go away, and when I go back to the command prompt and type GPRESULT I get the expected results.  

After reboot, system will only usually last a day or two before the same problems start appearing again and another reboot is necessary.  I have noticed that if I reboot on friday after hours, there appears to be no system deterioration over the weekend (nobody working), but usually by tuesday afternoon the server will require a reboot.  So it seems that deterioration is accelerated by use.        

Event logs are pretty clean.  A few yellows but no reds.  Absolutely nothing to indicate any type of issue as far as I can see.  Nothing in the DNS or directory service logs.

I know it's related to the gpresult access denied error, but I just can't seem to put it together.  Hope I included enough info to get someone started in helping me out.  Thanks for looking...
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A-Baum
Asked:
A-Baum
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1 Solution
 
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Unfortunately, you have the server setup incompletely and against several best practices.  Exchange should be running.  And it should be used.  If the server were setup appropriately, you would be getting reports on a daily basis regarding what is happening with the server... but those reports require exchange.

Further, I have serious doubts about your DNS configuration.  The logon delays you describe are frequently caused by misconfigured DNS.  The ONLY DNS server that ALL your clients AND your server's TCP/IP settings know about is the SBS's DNS server - which SHOULD be running.  

Please post an IPCONFIG /ALL from the server and the workstation so that me can verify your DNS settings are correct.
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dmbgoCommented:
DNS is a good start, but have you simply looked at task manager before and after the problem occurs? look at the memory used by individual apps and the overall memory usage. Also look at CPU usage
This will help to identify a program thAt may be chewing up all the systemn resources
Cheers
Dave
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
And if SBS was setup properly, you'd be getting notifications about memory and CPU issues via email
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A-BaumAuthor Commented:
Ok well I went ahead and changed the appropriate Exchange services to automatic and started all the correct ones up.  I matched them up against another SBS running Exchange I have access to.  I assume it's ok for them to be running but not receiving mail.  This company doesn't use email other than a shared yahoo account.

IPCONFIG /ALL for server:

HOSTNAME: SERVER
Primary DNS Suffix:  DOMAIN.LOCAL
Node type:  HYBRID
IP routing: NO
WINS: NO
DNS Suffix Search list:  DOMAIN.LOCAL

DHCP enabled:  NO
IP address:  192.168.1.10
Subnet:  255.255.255.0
Default Gateway:  192.168.1.1
DNS servers:  192.168.1.10


IPCONFIG /ALL for workstation:

 Host Name . . . . . . . . . . . . : boi4
 Primary Dns Suffix  . . . . . . . : domain.local
 Node Type . . . . . . . . . . . . : Hybrid
 IP Routing Enabled. . . . . . . . : No
 WINS Proxy Enabled. . . . . . . . : No
 DNS Suffix Search List. . . . . . : domain.local

 Description . . . . . . . . . . . : Marvell Yukon 88E8050 PCI-E ASF Gi
 Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : 00-11-11-4B-DF-C9
 Dhcp Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : Yes
 Autoconfiguration Enabled . . . . : Yes
 IP Address. . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.175
 Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.0
 Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.1
 DHCP Server . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.1
 DNS Servers . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.10
 Lease Obtained. . . . . . . . . . : Wednesday, November 18, 2008 6:41:

 Lease Expires . . . . . . . . . . : Wednesday, November 19, 2008 2:51:

However I have found a couple of workstations that have an additional DNS address added and are setup static.  The other DNS address was 4.2.2.2.

Would that really cause deterioiration that I am seeing?
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A-BaumAuthor Commented:
I have also checked out the system thoroughly while users are unable to log in and/or get into their app.  Task manager shows no funny business at all.  The biggest memory user is the pervasive DB at about 400mb...it doesn't grow and stays pretty consistent.  Processor is at 1% or 2% utilization.  

What I don't know is if the deterioration is gradual or if something just sets it off.
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dmbgoCommented:
What Leew says is correct, but the incorrect dns settings on the workstations would affect those Pcs right away, not after a while
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A-BaumAuthor Commented:
dmbgo:

Correct.  After reboot....every workstation can do everything it needs.  
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dmbgoCommented:
The very long applying personal settings is a documented DNS problem, but once again I would have expected this to occur all the time if it was a dns issue. Have you checked name resolution when the problem is happening?
Also you could try the DNS server's inbuilt diags when the issue occurs.
Having said that, all this is I think a red herring, but one that needs to be eliminated, the problem must be related to something going wrong on the server over time.
You could try restarting the server service and netlogon services when the problem occurs
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A-BaumAuthor Commented:
Could someone perhaps address the GPresult oddity?

After SBS has booted users out and/or people are experiencing applying personal settings...when I run GPRESULT on the SBS console I get access denied.

After rebooting, I am able to GPRESULT successfully.  This has to be some kind of indicator and it's not DNS related.  
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dmbgoCommented:
You could try this, I'm not sure if it is relevant
http://www.parmiter.com/microsoft/windows-2003/2008/10/RP492
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A-BaumAuthor Commented:
I will try that fix perhaps next time it gets hosed up.  But is that a symptom of something bigger which could lead us to the root cause of the issue?
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dmbgoCommented:
I think you are probably right about it being a symptom of something else. The fact that the server kicks people off their database app, and the slow logons must be related, although the slow logons could be related to the gfroup policy problem. I would be very keen to try restarting some services to see if the problem goes away.
Are all the updates and service packs applied?
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A-BaumAuthor Commented:
Server is totally up to date save for Windows search 4.0 and one other irrelevant optional software update.
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dmbgoCommented:
What about the 3rd party apps such as pervasive?
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A-BaumAuthor Commented:
The version of Pervasive that is supported by Practiceworks is quite old, but it is up to date so to speak.
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A-BaumAuthor Commented:
Anyone else have any ideas about the gpresult failing and then working after reboot?
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A-BaumAuthor Commented:
Well we decided to call Microsoft and we even stumped their first two levels of engineers.  AD seems pretty screwy from what they can tell and they are working on it as we speak.

I'd like to close this and get half points refunded and half to dmbgo for being the most helpful.
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dmbgoCommented:
Thanks for the points, sorry we didn't quite get there, when you do find out what the issue was, would you mind letting us know please?
Cheers
Dave
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A-BaumAuthor Commented:
Microsoft basically gave up on me today and told me to rebuild so I am currently in the process of rebuilding the SBS server and the entire domain.  There's only 12 workstations so it's not the end of the world.  First they thought I was compromised but it ends up I wasn't.  They have no idea.  Either do I.  Never seen anything like this before.
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