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Network Share Issues

Posted on 2010-11-22
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Here is my physical/logical layout:

At central office:
Windows 2000 Server
Several ordinary Windows XP Workstations

At each of 5 satellite site:
Windows Small Business Server
Several ordinary Windows XP Workstations

VPN configured to allow two way traffic between central office and each site, no communications allowed between the sites (only back to office).

I have having major difficulty maintaining access to shared drives, if it allows me to share the mapped drives at all.

I prefer to do everything from command line, considering I have written VBScripts to manage the data transfers necessary for our business operations.  Each week we much transfer one file from one shared folder on one computer from each of the 5 sites back to a workstation at the central office.  Very very rarely am I allowed access to all 5 sites at the same time.

Network connectivity remains viable as indicated by my ability to ping each workstation at each site.  However, the "net view" will return an error of "System Error 53 has occurred.  The network path cannot be found."  I have verified that the folder is shared, and is fully accessible from within that particular domain from any computer inside that domain.

When attempting a "net use" for the shared folder I get the exact same error.

If I attempt to map the drive through Windows XP Explorer it returns the error "The network path \\192.168.4.3\ccs could not be found."  I have instructed it to map this drive with the proper credentials for that workstation.

Often, the error returned mentions something to the effect of "There are Currently No Logon Servers Available...".

The specific problems I'm requesting assistance on are these:

I cannot understand why I have full access and connectivity to 3 of the shared folders, but not the other two.
I cannot understand why on a weekly basis the two for which I have no connectivity changes.  Sometimes its sites 3 and 4, sometimes its sites 4 and 6, etc.
I have researched quite a bit about No Logon Servers and it all seems to boil down to WINS issues, the best I can tell.  What need I do to configure WINS to allow these connections?

If anyone has had this issue, please offer whatever insight you have to help me resolve this.

Thanks,

JEPowell
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Question by:BMIT
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by:ormerodrutter
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In your question you mention you need to just transfer ONE file from each office why not just use email? If it is too large you can use FTP, or use something like Sharefile(www.sharefile.com)?
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by:wlramsey
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You mention that you get an error stating that there are no logon servers available.  This would mean to me that somewhere along the way, you are having communication problems with a domain controller.  Is your domain controller at the central site only?  Do you have one at each satellite site?  Would your firewall be blocking traffic to DC's?  You might check the error log to see what details you can find in there as well.  Probably both System and Application.
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by:BMIT
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Email is way to cumbersome, considering this is a weekly process.  I'm considered establishing an FTP server on the central office, but would prefer to have access to the networked drives for other operations that I have in mind for the future.

Each of the 6 locations is a separate domain, on a separate subnet.  The office uses Windows Server 2000, the 5 sites use Windows Small Business Server.

I'm not sure how the domains themselves are affecting this issue.  There are no errors logged on the remote computer, the computer on which I'm attempting to copy the files and/or map the drives, or the Windows Server 2000 log.  There are no restrictions on the VPN to VPN traffic on the SonicWall router.  Nothing is being blocked on transmissions within the VPN.

Shouldn't this work essentially like a workgroup, disregarding the domain aspects?  I'm simply trying to tell the OS to copy \\192.168.3.3\ccs\file.name to \\192.168.25.3\folder\.  I'm not using any workstation names to resolve.

Not sure why WINS or any other domain restrictions should occur (but I'm not hardly an expert, so your assistance is invaluable and appreciated).

JEPowell
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by:wlramsey
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You are correct that there would be no use for WINS or DNS.  However, it would look to the domain controller for authentication.  Since they are on separate domains, do you have trusts setup between the domains?

What kind of share permission (as well as file permission) do you have setup on your "file server"?

*Thinking out loud*

If it is not coming back and asking you for another username and password, it is most likely not authentication problem.

You say that you are able to ping the machine you are attempting to connect to.

Can you open a UNC path to the root of the machine \\192.168.4.3\?  If yes, does your folder appear?  If no, is it the same error message?

Are you able to get to the UNC Path from another machine at the same site as your server?

In case it is some sort of authentication/trust issue, you might check the logs on the DC of the central site.

You indicate that:
I have having major difficulty maintaining access to shared drives, if it allows me to share the mapped drives at all.

Does this mean the problem is intermittent? (Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't).  Or does it work from certain locations but not from others?
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by:BMIT
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Your last statement is correct:  it is intermittent, and happens on different machines at different times.  It will remain an issue with the same two systems for a few weeks, then switch to others.

The best I can tell, Small Business Server does not allow me to set up trusts between domains.  I was forced to used Small Business Server due to requirements of the point of sale software that is running on that system.

And, no... I cannot access the root of the machine, or any other shared resource on that machine.

BTW:  I mean to say "map the shared drives" instead of "share the mapped drives".

JEPowell
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by:wlramsey
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If it is intermittent, that tends to lead me to believe it is some sort of a connection problem whether WAN or VPN.  I am not familiar with Sonicwall's site-to-site VPN.  We use their client and firewall, but only have one site.

Another alternative depending on the size of the files would be to use some sort of a synchronization service such as dropbox (www.dropbox.com).  This way it is almost immediately synchonozed and is done over the WAN.

I know this does not "fix" the problem, but could be something that you could get by with until you fixed the bigger problem.

Another thought that just popped in.  Just to test and get answers.  Logmein has a product called Hamachi.  It is more or less a Virtual VPN.  You could try it and see if your problems go away.  If they do, then you know the problem lies in your VPN somewhere.  https://secure.logmein.com/US/products/hamachi2/

Just trying to narrow down the possible culprits one at a time.
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by:BMIT
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I appreciate the suggestions, however the data has to come over the VPN, considering the nature of the information in the file.

Also, I've already tried the Hamachi product to no avail.

Its starting to seem my only recourse is to establish an FTP server here at the office.  I will be upgrading the Server 2000 computer to a new Server 2008 machine in the next month or so and hopefully the FTP services in 2008 are sufficient for my needs.

The discourse about the logon servers and the fact that its intermittent and strikes different shares at different times leads me to believe the issue lies in the domain trusts.  Some research I've done indicates that there are limited connections allowed by Small Business Server, but I can't verify this.  I've been battling this issue for over a year, so I've done a tremendous amount of research into it... Expert Exchange has helped me in the past, so I re-upped my subscription to see if anyone has a clue about this odd issue.

Have you any experience with establishing links between SBS domains?
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by:wlramsey
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I am sorry, I do not have much experience with SBS.  Something keeps nagging at me about it being intermittent.  If it were a trust issue, one would think it would either work or not.  But again, I am not sure.

The only other thing I can come up with, would be if you are reaching the max connections on the server.  This would bring light to the intermittent issue.
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by:BMIT
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I'm not familiar with max connections on the server.  Is this a product of the version of server OS I'm using?

Where do I go to check what the max connections on a server are?
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by:wlramsey
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The Max connections I am speaking of refers to the Max Connections to the share.  I am not sure on Server 2000, but on 2003, it is on the Sharing properties page.

One of the servers that I setup had the default set to a limit of 5.  Changing it to Max Allowed solved my problem after that.  See my screenshot. My guess is that you have already checked this though.

share properties
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by:BMIT
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Yes.  I think that is set by default.  I will continue to investigate the best I can.

Perhaps after removing this ancient Server 2000, the Server 2008 will work better with the SBS domains.

Thanks for your insight and I will update when I have a solution.
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by:YarnoSG
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check this registry setting - if you are using the IP address instead of the NAME of the server, some servers will refuse the connection unless this setting is set:

also... some other things to check listed here:

http://datacomguy.blogspot.com/2009/10/disable-strict-name-checking.html
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by:BMIT
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Wow... that was a lot to check out.

I instituted the recommended fixes to the registry on two sites and there was no change in behavior.

I'm really hoping changing out from Server 2000 to 2008 will help with this issue.

Unless someone here has had experience with this being resolved by upgrading the corporate office server, then I'm going to let the thread die until I get my new server installed.

Thanks for the advice.
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by:BMIT
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I have since upgraded to Server 2008 here at my corporate office.  I still cannot get connections to the workstations located on other subnets through my VPN.

NET VIEW says "Access Denied" and NET USE says "No Logon Servers Available".

On two of the five workstations I can do a search through Windows Explorer for that specific IP, find the computer, and enter credentials to allow access to the shares.  On the other 3 I can find the drives, but "Access Denied" is all I get.

In all five remote locations I have perfectly working links to the Server's shared directories and files.

Anyone have any other ideas?

Thanks,
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BMIT earned 0 total points
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I began thinking this issue had less to do with domain and NTFS permissions and more with protocols.  So, I researched a bit about how Windows handles the traffic between subnets outside of a workgroup/domain setting.

I'm not sure if WINS or NetBIOS or one of those protocols was necessary to carry my traffic since I was using IP addressing only, but I took a chance and installed on the remote machine's network adapter the protocol named "NWLink IPX/SPX/NetBIOS Compatible Transport Protocol", which appears to be a multi-purpose legacy protocol.

All my issues cleared up.

Just thought I should post this in case someone had some detailed information on why this cleared it up, and to close the ticket to further investigation.

Thanks everyone for your help.
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Author Closing Comment

by:BMIT
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Further research lead me to experiment a bit.
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