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Domain PCs denying logon  - Group policy error shown?

Posted on 2010-09-14
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Bit of a strange one that I cannot find any answers to on the net.
PCs that were working fine a few days ago have stopped users being able to log on, showing the error below:
"The Group Policy Client service failed the logon. Access is denied."

Adding the user to local admins allows logon as a short term fix but this is undone shortly afterwards. Checking the administrators group on the PC shows an unresolved SID. have removed this and added to local admins again but it appears to repeat itself again a day or so later.

Checking event logs shows the following:
"The winlogon notification subscriber <GPClient> was unavailable to handle a critical notification event."
"The winlogon notification subscriber <GPClient> failed a critical notification event."

I've checked GPOs applied and none of them are setting local admins, although even if it was it shouldnt leave an unresolved SID behind.
As a test, we removed the unresolved SID and didnt add the user back into local admins and the user was able to log in fine.

To confirm:
The users were local admins but are no longer listed.
An unresolved SID is listed, removing it lets the user log on.
There are GPclient errors in the event logs.

I've looked around the internet and found suggestions relating to removing and readding user profiles and even reinstalling windows.
This is affecting a large number of users so messing around on each PC isnt really an option.

Server:SBS 2008 SP2.
2003 domain functional level.
Single DC holding all FMSO roles.
Clients:Windows XP & Windows 7 machines are experiencing the issue. Not all machines are affected.
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Question by:Steve
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7 Comments
 
LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:psychogr
ID: 33670304
make sure your client pcs have your domain controller as the only dns server.
Try manualy updating Group policy on client machines (gpupdate /force)

if unresolved, try rejoining the client machines back to domain..
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LVL 27

Author Comment

by:Steve
ID: 33670379
The single DC is the only DNS entry.

Gpupdate /force doesnt resolve the issue.

We cannot rejoin such a large amount of PCs to the domain without knowing if this will fix it. Could you be more specific on how this may resolve the issue?
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:Blake_1
ID: 33671173
How about on the DC, what errors are displayed there in the System event log - any relating to Netlogon?
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LVL 27

Author Comment

by:Steve
ID: 33673781
Hi Blake_1,

There are no warnings or errors in the application or system event logs on the DC (other than unrelated ones about printers etc)
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Expert Comment

by:Blake_1
ID: 33677351
I would try re-adding a single machine to the domain to see if that resolves the issue.  It sounds as though a GPO may be corrupted or something along those lines.
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:psychogr
ID: 33698920
I had some issues with unresolvable sids and rejoining the client to the domain did the trick..
Very important: Before rejoining the machine to the domain you must make sure that no domain account are left on the local machine..
You can always check with one client pc and if it works you should do the same thing with every other problematic machines..

Also you must double check event logs specifically security logs for strange behavior..
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LVL 27

Accepted Solution

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Steve earned 0 total points
ID: 33732568
Thanks All.

I was unconvinced that rejoining so many of the PCs to the domain would be a very viable solution but tried an individual PC just in case. Didn't work....

As advised above, there were no events on the DC relating to this and the only evidence was on the PCs event logs.

In the end I ran a chkdsk on the servers drive and used esentutil to repair the active directory and it seems to have resolved it.

http://www.windowsnetworking.com/kbase/WindowsTips/Windows2000/AdminTips/ActiveDirectory/UseEsentutlwhenNtdsutiltoolfailstorepairtheActiveDirectorydatabase.html

Has been running for a few days with no problems at all.
Thanks for the suggestions guys!


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