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Windows Server 2003, SP2 - Delayed Write Failed

Posted on 2010-08-19
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
Starting yesterday I have been having a problem with our Dell PowerEdge 2850 Server. I'm (seems) randomly getting 'Windows - Delayed Write Failed'. Once I get one, a bunch more will pop up to the point that the server freezes up and I have to manually re-boot the server.
I used the Dell software to check the hard drives and everything checks out OK - what else could be causing these errors? Thank you for any help you can get me!
Scott
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Question by:scott801
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19 Comments
 
LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:TechnoButt
ID: 33476307
I run into this when I pull any drive (usb thumbdrive for example) without aquiescing the device (ie, usb device X is now safe to remove).
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Author Comment

by:scott801
ID: 33476342
I haven't done anything like that to the server, no USB Drives are attached.
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:IT-Monkey-Dave
ID: 33476383
I've seen this on a server running 2003 Appliance Edition.  We were using the box for misc. backups that were not super critical.  I had scheduled tasks running on various other servers that would back up system state stuff etc. to this box.  Anyway some of the jobs involved moving large files around etc. on this server and the jobs were overlapping so that more than one was active at the same time.  Very disk-intensive activity.  The server just couldn't keep up for some reason and would throw the "Delayed Write Failed" error.  Once that happened, the server would become unresponsive.  I never pinpointed exactly why this heavy load was causing this, but I "fixed" it by rescheduling the backup tasks so they never overlap.  It's been fine since then.
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Author Comment

by:scott801
ID: 33476438
That makes sense, except for the fact that I haven't changed anything in terms of back-ups or schedules, or anything else like that in the past 6 months.
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:Cluskitt
ID: 33476440
This is one of the most generalized windows errors there are. It has hundreds of different causes and sources. It can even happen with mapped drives. I've been trying to solve a couple different cases (at work and at home) for some time now, to no avail. I wish you good luck on your search, because there's no real solution to this. There are hundreds, and you have to try them until it works.
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 33476447
What are your driver and firmware versions at?  If your drives are Online and not showing Pred Fail, I would test the drives first.  If they test ok, then make sure you have a good backup, and update the system firmware (BIOS, ESM), including the PERC (driver first) and hard drives.  You might also post the controller log here for review or contact Dell's Technical Support for review.
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Author Comment

by:scott801
ID: 33476514
The drives are NOT showing 'Failure Predicted'.
Firmware - 5B2D
Driver Version - 6.46.2.32

Again, this just seemed to have happened for no reason - we haven't changed anything in 6 months...
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LVL 13

Accepted Solution

by:
IT-Monkey-Dave earned 1000 total points
ID: 33476518
I should add that I updated everything I could on the server: BIOS, drivers, service packs, etc. and the problem still occurred until I spaced out the backup tasks to prevent overlapping.  I suspect this Delayed Write issue is not necessarily a Windows problem but rather a combination of things with drivers and hardware.  Other servers can obviously handle this kind of heavy load just fine or else we'd have servers crashing left and write.  This one particular server though just has this problem and I've been able to work around it.
Good luck.  It'll be interesting to see if anyone comes up with a specific solution that helps you.
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:IT-Monkey-Dave
ID: 33476553
(also just for the record, it's a no-name box with an Intel motherboard; not a Dell)
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 33476613
This is just my two cents ... I would make sure you drive firmware is up to date, and I would still test the hard drives to be on the safe side, as not all drive defects will kick off the Pred Fail flag and could be causing delays in writing to the disks, but as was mentioned, it could also be a host of other things only manifesting itself in Windows as a Delayed Write.  Computers don't always require a "change" to cause a problem ... if something is failing, it would have started out of the blue.
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:Cluskitt
ID: 33476657
One of the common causes for this is the performance policies on hard drives. Go to device manager, properties of the hard drive, then policies.
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Author Comment

by:scott801
ID: 33476693
What the best way to test the drives, besides the Dell OpenManager 'Failure Predicted"?
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 33476697
Chances are, with them connected to the PERC, he will be unable to change the policy, as it is set by the PERC ... just a hunch.
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Author Comment

by:scott801
ID: 33476715
It is - the policy setting are 'grey-out'. Plus, whatever the "Policies" are, they worked fine for 3+ years...
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:Cluskitt
ID: 33476739
You may not change anything, but maybe some windows patch changed some obscure setting or something and that is enough for something to stop working, even when there are no changes introduced by yourself. Anyway, as I said before, there are hundreds of different causes and solutions. I really do wish you good luck with it, preferably better than mine.
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LVL 33

Assisted Solution

by:PowerEdgeTech
PowerEdgeTech earned 1000 total points
ID: 33476758
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Author Comment

by:scott801
ID: 33476991
I'm going to try and run those know and get back to you - thank you for the links.
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Author Closing Comment

by:scott801
ID: 33823783
I've updated and tested just about everything I could for the hardware and it hasn't happened in about a week. If it starts happening again I'll have to look into some software issues.
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