Windows Server 2003 - Terminal Services - stops responding

Posted on 2009-06-28
Last Modified: 2012-05-07
We have a server that has been installed and working fine for the past few years.

Out of the blue, in the past three weeks it has started "crashing".  What happens is the following:

Users terminal server sessions simply "freeze" - they do not disconnect, but they cannot click or do anything, cannot CTRL-ALT-END, etc.
On the console, you can press CTRL-ALT-DEL and logon, but it simply gets to "applying settings" and never goes any further (although this has not been left for any longer than around 5 minutes).
I can still ping the server, and can still access network shared drives across the network.

The only solution is to turn the server off and restart it.

There does not seem to be any pattern on when it is happening, eg:

29/6    11:01am   29/6    10:42am
25/6    10.24am  25/6    10.11am
24/6    9.21am
19/6    10.02am
18/6    11.54am
16/6    11.01am
11/6    12.21pm
5/6    12:00pm  5/6    11:06am  5/6    10:34am

On 3rd June (two days before this started happening) the following Microsoft updates were installed:
Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack Service Pack 2 (SP2)
Office 2003 Service Pack 3 (SP3)
Update for Outlook 2003: Junk E-mail Filter (KB969376)

I have loaded various Microsoft Hotfixes in an attempt to solve the issue, initially this one:

And then in a despearte attempt have loaded all the hotfixes listed here:

System Specs:
Windows Server 2003 R2
Service Pack 2
Dual Intel Xeon E5430 CPUs

Any suggestions?

Is there any monitoring software I can install to see exactly what applications were running when it stops responding?  There is nothing out of the ordinary in the event view - just the standard "the previous windows shutdown was unexpected..."
Question by:notable
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Expert Comment

ID: 24733053

      Please attach screen shots (event logs) & check if print spooler service hangs.
Try restarting this service on server before restarting the Server.

Also have you recently installed any new printer or driver..???

Author Comment

ID: 24733186
Screen shot of system log is attached.

All the MrxSmb warnings are the standard "the redirector failed to determine the connection type" as we connect mapped network drives when users log in.

We have not installed any new printer drivers for a long time.  There have been some new printers installed (using previously installed printer drivers), but not sure of exact dates.  

We have not had any issues with the print spooler hanging, but I will try stoping and restarting next time it hangs to see if it helps.


Expert Comment

ID: 24736881
sorry I need to ask few more things

1) How many users are logging on to the server.
2) All of them logging at the same time.
3) Is freezing happens to particularly one user logged in or all.
4) How big is their profiles.
5) is sufficient bandwidth available.

Author Comment

ID: 24739965
1.  On average 25 users, max 35 users at one time.
2.  Initial login times are spread over 1.5 hours in the morning - 7am-8.30am, crashing always is later on.  Users do log off and on during the day, but not all at the same time.
3. All users freeze at the same time.
4.  No roaming profiles - all locally stored.  Most profiles less than 10Mb, a few around 60Mb but since they are locally stored it shouldn't be an issue.
5.  There are only 2 remote users, all other users are local (100Mbps) so should have no bandwidth issues.
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Accepted Solution

peter_922002 earned 500 total points
ID: 24741444
If you are using Netextreme Broadcom NIC then check it, driver etc, it has known issue of dropping link. (MrxSmb error indicates adaptor cannot negotiate the speed)

Also check if your DNS server is working properly & has proper records for this server.

Are users using any specific application on Terminal Server???(compatibility etc)

I hope this will resolve ur issue, have u tried restarting spooler service..??

Author Comment

ID: 24875720
Sorry about the delay coming back to you on this - the problem seemed to 'go away' but has come back and crashed twice yesterday and once today.

What I have now done:
1.  I have removed the local drive mapping, which has removed all the "MrxSmb" errors in the event log - the crash has happened again since then, so these are obviously not the issue.
2.  When it last crashed, I was able to remotely manage the server using Computer Management.  I stopped the Printer Service, and attempted to connect and still couldn't.    I then tried to "restart" the Terminal Services Licensing service and then that pretty much crashed it totally - Not Responding for the computer management, and could no longer browse to the network.  Our only option then was to power off and on the server to get it back up and running.

We have not installed any new software recently - we run the standard Microsoft Office 2003 software, plus some specialised software that is compatible with Terminal Servers - and has been running for years with no issues.

Expert Comment

ID: 24877343
Its ok,

Firstly, is this a virtual machine or installed on one physical machine..???

How many Terminal Servers are there on your network..???

Secondly, is this also your TS License server or you've installed them on separate server.??

Thirdly, did you only stopped the print spooler service or restarted the service..??

Also post the Event logs for when exactly this crash happened & any changes made to the network, users, applications or any other change that might have triggered this..

Please also check if your DNS server is working fine & check records for this server.


Expert Comment

ID: 25156698
Secondly, is this also your TS License server or you've installed them on separate server.??

Thirdly, did you only stopped the print spooler service or restarted the service..??

Also please post event logs for the exact time when crash happens.....

Author Comment

ID: 25216110
Just an update on this - the server has not crashed in the last 6 weeks.  I am not sure if this is because the problem has been fixed, or just that it is so intermittent that it hasn't happened yet.

The only other thing I did since 17th July at the suggestion of Peter was to load the very latest Broadcom network drivers from the IBM site.  It has not crashed since I did this, so perhaps this did fix the problem?  I am still getting the MrxSmb errors in the event log.

Thanks for your help, I am hoping that the problem has gone away.

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