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Windows 2003 SBS Server crashed

Posted on 2011-02-18
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Our organization has 2 HP servers.  We have a 2003 SBS which serves as Domain controller, Exchange Server and file server.  It has a built in RAID5 with about 96Gb storage, a built in Gb NIC plus a NIC for the HP iLO services.  A few months ago we added a third Gb NIC to the machine and use it for a iSCSI drive with 4TB.  Our second server is a 2003 used for Terminal Services and all employees use it to connect and work.  We have had occasional troubles and usually rebooting fixes everything.  This morning we noticed that processing was very slow and we started having connection issues with the Exchange Server.  I rebooted the server, but after it came up nobody was able to connect.  When people tried to connect via the Terminal Server they received a message that the Domain was not available.  I spent all day today trying to get things to work but was unsuccessful.  I called our local Tech Support company but nobody was available to visit.  They suggested I login to their support site so they could see what was happening.  I could not connect.  When I ping various sites, including google.com and yahoo.com from the server I get a response.  But when I browse I get a "Page cannot be displayed" message.  This happens even when I browse to the local network to look at the router or switches or printer.  The web site cannot be displayed.  I can go to a workstation and browse to the iLO setting, but I do not have the full iLO console software.  I ordered it this afternoon only to be told that it may take up to 24 hours for the order to be processed so I can get a key.

Other facts to consider.  I have not been able to see the iSCSI attached to the third NIC.  When I was getting ready to type that sentence I decided to go to the server and disable that NIC.  After disabling the NIC I powered the server off and removed the NIC.  Then I rebooted the server.  It is getting stuck somplace in the boot sequence and now will not even come up.  It goes through a few pages of initiation and then goes to a grey screen and stops.  I have rebooted it several times.  I reinstalled the NIC.  I still have no boot.  So there is now a new problem to get the server through the booting sequence.  I took a few photos of the screen if that would be helpful.  It is not like safe mode on the workstation so I have no idea how to bring the server back up.  Until this is back up my domain is down as is my entire email system.

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Question by:RHWeston
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by:aleghart
ID: 34931877
Long boot times may indicate loss of network.  When you disabled the iSCSI NIC, the system probably thinks there is no active NIC available.  The iLO doesn't count, as it's connected to a different part of the motherboard that doesn't interact with the operating system.

Sounds like your first NIC is dead/dying or has problems with configuration or drivers.

At this point, I'd try installing a known-working NIC (of any speed) to get the server to boot.  Do you have another DHCP server running on the network?  If not, it may still take a while to boot, and you'll have to configure a manual IP address.

If you can get it "running", at least enough to browse internet, then you're one step ahead of where you were before.  You'll have to re-run wizards, especially the CEICW to get network to work again.  If you have your network, DNS, DHCP, etc. configurations documented it will help.

I lost a 10/100 on-board NIC in an old SBS2003 server.  Ended up putting a desktop 10/100 3Com card that I knew was working.  Got it working enough again until I could get a new Gigabit NIC, and a scheduled window of downtime to swap it out.
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by:RHWeston
ID: 34947655
I had a network engineer out today.  The trouble with the booting is that when I pulled the extra NIC out I accidentally disconnected the cable to the hard drives.  The problem with connectivity between servers and out to the internet was caused by our Anti-Virus software.  We use Panda and it does not update everything properly the way it is supposed to and it had a setting to the effect that if the protection is not current block any communication with other sites.  We modified settings for Panda and got communication restored and it is now working.  I will be replacing Panda Security soon
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aleghart earned 500 total points
ID: 34947691
>it had a setting to the effect that if the protection is not current block any communication with other sites.

We had a terrible time with Norton and SBS2003 (and XP clients).  After several months fighting the recurring problem, we ditched them for another solution.  We found Kaspersky to be less iron-fisted about updates (nagging reminders are fine with me), and far less CPU-intensive.
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by:RHWeston
ID: 34957970
The engineer who worked with me recommended Kaspersky or Sophos so I will soon be looking at one of them.  Part of the problem with Panda is that it was stating that protection was out of date because Panda does not perform an automatic update even though it is set for automatic.  It has been a very frustrating situation.
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