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Computers Slow after turning a server off.

Posted on 2010-11-24
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
We are doing a server migration and recently demoted a multipurpose domain controller and turned it off. The DC was also a file and print server. These are all separated roles in the new infrastructure on their own virtualized systems (VMWare). The problem is that since we did that we are having issues with slowness in certain applications on some computers. The problem applications are AutoDesk Products, Printing and Microsoft Picture and Fax Viewer from Office 2003 on Windows XP workstations. If we turn the server back on the problems go away.

The problems:
Autodesk is just slow to open and open documents. Not horrendously slow but slow enough to be annoying. AutoCAD LT and Designer as well as TrueView are all affected. They are all 2010 version.

Printing on a handful of computers has long pauses. It is in particular a problem on our Shipping computers running UPS Worldship and the FedEx shipping software. The applications run fine but as soon as you print the label everything freezes in the application for about 10-20 seconds, the label prints and everything unfreezes 5-10 seconds later. This is a big problem for them but there are others with this same printing issue out of any application. We did find if there was a link to a shared printer still mapped on the desktop to the old server that would cause this problem and by removing it, the issue was fixed. However some computers did not have any existing bad links to printers on the old server.

In Microsoft Picture and Fax viewer (and some other image programs) users are going to open an image and it takes 3-5 minutes where they had opened instantaneously (3-4 seconds). If you use the default Preview application there is no delay. Apparently from looking around if you have a "bad" link on your desktop to a non-present network resource this will cause the problem. However I have not found any bad links to fix the problem. All the users desktop links are updated or didn't require updating. I found some in "My Documents" directories but that didn't fix the issue.

If we turn the server we demoted on, all these problems go away.

We have checked Net Use, DNS, & WINS. We looked for bad shortcuts on the desktop and in my documents. We have looked for bad ODBC links. I have done regedits to remove references to the old server. We have even tried removing the Anti-virus. I am seeing nothing that fixes it on certain trouble computers. The computers are all up to date on patches for Office and Windows.

Any ideas?
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Question by:GalaxiePete
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by:Lee W, MVP
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Office documents have been known to have issues because they point to a server based template - when that server goes offline, it can take MINUTES to open a simple word document.  I would be looking at the apps themselves to see if they, by default, attempt to save to or use resources on the down server.
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by:GalaxiePete
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Thanks for the quick response. We are not having any issues with the office documents at all though. Just opening image files with Office related image viewers. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access - no issues. If there was a template issue we should have seen that a long time ago when we moved the files and templates.
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by:Qlemo
Qlemo earned 250 total points
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As Lee stated, the old server can be part of the reference information in documents. Often it is much simpler only the list of recently opened files, or default locations setup somewhere. A first scan of the local registry for the old servername will reveal if there are occurances of that latter case.
Doing a replace in the registry is one way to help, another is to create a fake HOST or DNS entry for the old server pointing to either localhost (127.0.0.1) or an existing server.
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by:IT-Monkey-Dave
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Do the workstations have any apps installed that integrate tightly with Windows Explorer?  Like if you right-click on a file or folder, are there options present that wouldn't be there in a default Windows setup.  Maybe one of those apps is forcing Explorer to look at old network paths that no longer exist.
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by:GalaxiePete
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I am going to give Qlemo's fake DNS Entry a shot. That is actually a great idea for a quick fix.

Dave, I checked a 3. One had 7zip integrated and the other 2 were clean.

I do want to point out that even after hitting the MRUs and cleaning up an old stray entry here and there I didn't see any difference. I am comparing the systems to two other systems that actually work when I hit the registry as well. All the systems have entries back to that server but only 1 in 4 is affected.
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GalaxiePete earned 0 total points
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Ok I have a final solution to some of the issues. It wasn't anything in the actual documents themselves in this case. I have been digging and messing around in individual programs. Netstat shows the connectivity attempts to the old server. If the server is up, no problem. It is apparently rejecting the connection, turn the server off and you are waiting for the time outs.

Digging into our shipping computers, I discovered that the UPS worldship default Invoice and Report printer was set to one of the old printers (via Worldship software settings). Even though I was using the default label printer to print a label and not a report or invoice - it was I can only assume waiting for a time out from the server for report/invoice printer. The FedEx computer was setup as a satellite for worldship as well; and even though the satellite install was "disabled" because it was out of date and not open as soon as I enabled it the problem went away.

The computers with the picture opening issue were MRU lists. I want to personally take a moment to thank the MS development team for stashing their MRU outside of the registry. The MRU list is stored in a file called OISCatalog.cag located in %userprofile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\OIS, a little Googling helped find it. It is just an xml text file. Opening it and removing links to the old server solved the issue. Here is a problem I have as well. I opened 30+ images trying to solve this and there are only about 10 MRU entries. I am sure hundreds have been opened in dozens of directories since the files were moved to the new server How were those old entries still even there if this is an MRU list?

I have not gone into the AutoDesk programs yet, but I am sure there will be something. Printer or MRU that will solve it.

I have to give Qlemo the credit for a quick get me by patch though. It did give me time to solve the issues with the server off and at the same time keeping people working efficiently.
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Author Closing Comment

by:GalaxiePete
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The hosts/dns entry option from Qlemo allowed me to fool the network computers into thinking they were making a connection. I solved the actual issues through the path I was already taking and Qlemo's thoughts.
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