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Dissapearing network

We have a simple Windows workgroup network in our office. There are nine laptops connected to a router, via 3 network switches. We are using a wired network (NOT wireless). Six laptops are running Windows XP SP3, and two are running Windows Vista SP2. The users access a shared folder on a server which is connected directly to the router. This server is running Windows 7 Pro. Every couple of minutes (sometimes hours), the network seems to dissapear. The users can't access the server anymore, or even some of the other PCs (normally they can't access the XP machines - for some reason the Vista machines appear to be very stable and almost always accessible). Running a repair on the network connection (on the workgroup PC's or the server) doesn't seem to help. Restarting the network switches or router doesn't help either. When I then restart the server however, everthing is fine again for a while again. Any idea what this might be? We have replaced 2 of the 3 switches but it hasnt made a difference. I suppose we can try replacing the router? But I get the feeling it is a software issue - not hardware - as restarting the server solves the problem.

P.S. The server used to have Windows Vista SP2 and had the exact same Problems. We have now formatted the computer and installed Windows 7 Pro but the problem persists. The server has 4 GB RAM, lots of free disk space, all the latest updates and AVG AntiVirus 9 Free Edition.
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SETP
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SETP
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1 Solution
 
Glen KnightCommented:
On the Vista and Windows 7 machines disable IPv6 as per:http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929852 then reboot.

Also in device manager check the properties of the Network Card and disable the power save mode.

Do you have host files on each computer for names resolution?
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marcokrecicCommented:
your server is a workstation os that support only 10 concurrent connections.
Are you sure that workstations cannot make multiple connections to server (map local unit , access via NAME and via IP address)
you receive the popup "cable disconnected" from workstation or server ?

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SETPAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your replies. I will try your suggestion now demazter. marcokrecic, I was scared that the 10 connection limit of XP/Vista might be the problem, that's why we upgraded to Windows 7 which has a 20 connection limit. We have even tried running on just 5 laptops just in case, but same problem....

The users simply open pictures on a shared folder on the server. Nothing more than that.
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Glen KnightCommented:
The concurrent connection issue would not stop the whole network from working it would simply refuse connection 11.

Try the suggestions i posted they will probably help.

Especially the IPv6 part.
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marcokrecicCommented:
please send a screenshot of the exact error (access denied, cannot find shared folder, other...)
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SETPAuthor Commented:
There are normally two error messages - unfortunately I can't remember the one (when it happens again I'll post it), but the other is "Not enough server storage is available to process this command". I've tried Microsoft's suggestion - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/106167 - but it did't help.
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marcokrecicCommented:
there are errors in server/workstations eventviewers (send eventid)?
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tbrent77Commented:
Based on the error of Not enough server storage to process command, it would seem that you have disk quota's turned on and the quota is being exceeded by some. Check disk quota in explorer by right clicking the drive and properites tab, there you will find a quota tab that lets you turn it off and/or make adjustments to size.

This still doesn't explain the network shares going away.  Is it possible that there is a single switch that the machines that loose the connection all run through?  I would look for a hardware problem as well.  It could be a switch or the router.  A bot on one or more cpu's is not out of the question either as they can generate a lot of traffic and make a network almost non-functional.  If I had to make a quess, I would replace the router to see if the problem goes away.
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SETPAuthor Commented:
Disabling IPv6 did the trick! Thanks! :)
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