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URGENT! Windows 2008 server keeps hanging, hosts Exchange 2007

Posted on 2009-05-14
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
We have a 64bit, 2008 Server (Standard) which hosts Exchange 2007.  For some reason, it keeps locking up solid.  When I am using it, it starts to get sluggish then just locks, and I have to hard restart it.  Now it boots to the login screen and just freezes!!  I can boot in safe mode all the time, but I need some pointers guys!!!  Just trying 'last known good' now....
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Question by:-Juddy-
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by:Ashleigh_IT
Ashleigh_IT earned 100 total points
ID: 24384010
How long has this been occuring? Sounds like some sort of driver issue - have you updated any hardware or installed new drivers recently. When you boot into Safe Mode, are there any errors in either the System or Application event logs?
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Rajith Enchiparambil earned 400 total points
ID: 24384044
looks like a driver problem. Any driver been updated recently?
Anything in event viewer?

What's the spec of the server?
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by:-Juddy-
ID: 24384091
I haven't installed any new drivers.  Errors in System log:

the device device\cdrom0 has a bad block?

The processing of Group Policy failed. Windows attempted to read the file \\my-domain.com\sysvol\my-domain.com\Policies\{31B2F340-016D-11D2-945F-00C04FB984F9}\gpt.ini from a domain controller and was not successful. Group Policy settings may not be applied until this event is resolved. This issue may be transient and could be caused by one or more of the following:
a) Name Resolution/Network Connectivity to the current domain controller.
b) File Replication Service Latency (a file created on another domain controller has not replicated to the current domain controller).
c) The Distributed File System (DFS) client has been disabled.

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by:-Juddy-
ID: 24384106
Server is a Dell Power Edge SC1425.  Dual Xeon 2.8, 4 gb RAM, 2 X 1TB drives (RAID1 Mirror).  
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by:Rajith Enchiparambil
ID: 24384108
Is the IP setting correct, especially DNS?
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by:-Juddy-
ID: 24384110
Just crashed again.....
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by:Rajith Enchiparambil
ID: 24384128
Is the IP setting correct, especially DNS?

Run Exchange Best Practices Analyzer and see what it flags.

http://www.microsoft.com/Downloads/details.aspx?familyid=DBAB201F-4BEE-4943-AC22-E2DDBD258DF3&displaylang=en
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by:-Juddy-
ID: 24384131
That's all fine, been working well for over a month now.  It works ok for a while, goes really sluggish, then just freezes.
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by:-Juddy-
ID: 24384144
I have run memory diagnostics, nothing came back, Last Know Good seemed to have worked as it lasted longer than it normally does, but it failed again.  What 'repair' options should I try using the Windows Media, and do you think the hard reboots have screwed something up?
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by:-Juddy-
ID: 24384152
I can't keep it stable enough to run tests, I tried SFC but it just locks up again, so Best practises would fail also.
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by:-Juddy-
ID: 24384203
Surely DNS wouldn't cause the system to Lock up?
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by:Rajith Enchiparambil
ID: 24384307
my suggestion will be to wipe it off and start from scratch.
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by:-Juddy-
ID: 24384488
WIPE IT!!! It took me weeks to get it right!!

More errors in the system log:

LSI_SAS (Our RAID controller)

Warning LSI_SAS Reset to device, \Device\RaidPort0, was issued.

The driver detected a controller error on \Device\RaidPort0.
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by:-Juddy-
ID: 24384548
And here (attached) is the result of the Best Practise scan:


scan.jpg
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by:Ashleigh_IT
ID: 24384780
I think that the post regarding the RAID error is probably your issue. I would make an image of your drives ASAP to avoid having to re-build completely. Either swap the raid controller for a known good device, or temporarily remove it from the loop altogether - restore your image and see if the problem is still there.
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by:-Juddy-
ID: 24384800
I have no 'image' software, is there something i can use, a trial product maybe?
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by:Ashleigh_IT
ID: 24384812
I don't know of any trial versions that will let you image a server. We use Acronis products ourselves with good results.
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by:-Juddy-
ID: 24384893
Whic Acronis product will aloow me to Image a Windows 2008 server with Exchange 2007?
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by:Ashleigh_IT
ID: 24384917
True image for SBS: http://www.acronis.com/smb/products/ATISBS/
I see they have a trial version - don't know if there are any limitations though.
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by:Rajith Enchiparambil
ID: 24385288
Use array manager or somthing similar to find out what is wrong with the server. Trial version won't let you do the full the job.
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by:-Juddy-
ID: 24385304
I am downloading Acronis trueimage Echo for Windows servers as we speak, going to get this system backed up first!
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by:Rajith Enchiparambil
ID: 24385426
I am sure that it won't give you the full functionality either in backup or restore. Run a full ntbackup of info store if you can.
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by:Ashleigh_IT
ID: 24385430
Good plan
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by:-Juddy-
ID: 24385440
Will do that as well.  Guy at Acronis seemed to think it was fully functional, they have removed some of the 'bare metal' functionality but other than that, I should be ok.
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by:Rajith Enchiparambil
ID: 24385500
"Bare metal" functionality is what you need if your server dies. So, its pretty useless. Get a full backup of exchange.

Did you run array manager? What is it flagging?
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by:-Juddy-
ID: 24385530
Slot: 2, SATA, 931.51 GB, Failed.

I think i got my phrases mixed up, the demo wont let you use the feature to install the restore on a different type of server.  I don't need to do that, so I'm happy to make a 'Snapshot'.  Server is running ok now (apart from the failed disk) and I'm running the Server 2008 backup to create a backup onto another server, for safe keeping.  The Acronis download is taking forever!
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by:-Juddy-
ID: 24385544
I'm going to order another 1 TB disk to arrive tomorrow, can't get the exact model but that doesn't matter as long as it's the same capacity, right?
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by:Rajith Enchiparambil
ID: 24385562
2008 backup won't backup your exchange fully apart from the files. You need to use a third party product. What have you been using so far for backups?
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by:-Juddy-
ID: 24385581
We use Backup Exec 12d.  I'm going to use Acronis as well, when it finally downloads.

Our daily backup is incremental, but I think I'll run a full backup tonight instead.
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by:Rajith Enchiparambil
ID: 24385687
Run a full backup before troubleshooting.
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by:-Juddy-
ID: 24385721
Will do.  So far i have a Windows Server 2008 backup, I'm going to backup using Acronis (58% of download so far) and I'm going to run a full Backup Exec backup as well tonight.  My replacement 1TB hard disk is ordered and will arrive tomorrow morning.

So all I need to do then is fit the disk, rebuild the array and hopefully I'm done.  I need a hoilday......
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by:Ashleigh_IT
ID: 24386370
The acronis servers are often slow. Glad to see you appaer to have a tangible cause for your issues. Best of luck.
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by:halejr1
ID: 24706400
Judy, in general do you think any of your issues rise from "certification" or "compatibility" of the sc1425 and windows server 2008?  I noticed that dell only lists up to 2003 as recognized compatibility OS.

Just checking in with you, give me some feedback overall of your experiences with installation of 2008 on this box and any challenges that you may have had.

Thanks.
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by:-Juddy-
ID: 24709394
In general, the SC1425 has been a great platform but I have had a couple of problems along the way.  Driver support for my RAID card was a problem (Dell), and then the card failed so I purchased an LSI one, which is great.  Server 2008 seems to be very happy with the SC1425 and still hosts our Exchange Server, which runs like a charm.  The only caveat would be driver support for any RAID cards that come with it and I wouldn't recommend the supplied Dell one, it's rubbish!  If you are interested in getting a SC1425 and don't mind a reconditioned one, let me know and I'll tell you where I got ours from (we bought 2) as it was £170!  Not bad for dual 3ghz Xeon CPU's with 4gb RAM!
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