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Win7 Reports it cannot connect to server - but does

Posted on 2011-03-04
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Server: WS2008-R1 32-bit.  PC's: Win7-64.  Network 1G - 2 Switch Hop.  
Description: When new win7 pc's boot up they complain that they could not connect to the mapped network drives and the drive icons in My Computer show a big red X.  Clicking on any of them and the share comes up immediately.  Log files show the PC is not finding a DC to service it.  This includes not setting the time, not processing group policy settings, etc.  However, it does connect and it does eventually do all these things.  About a minute and a half from boot before all the errors in the log file having to do with letting the pc attach to the domain are resolved.  

My thinking is that the new win7 boxes, with SSD drives, I7 processors, etc are just so fast that they request various things from the server and because of a slight lag they error and complain.  Make any sense?  If so, would there be a way to retard there over-reaction to the delayed response from the server?  Or is this a network connectivity problem?  Replacing older PC using same cabling to the net results in these erorrs whereas the older, slower boxes never complained.

Again, you can access any of the mapped drives instantly, after the system complains they cannot be connected and replaces the drive icons with red x's.  
Thank You.

 


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Question by:Rickhdee
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by:mfulksCBT
ID: 35039512
Look at  the "Slow Links and Remote Access Issues" heading.
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc758898%28WS.10%29.aspx
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Author Comment

by:Rickhdee
ID: 35039755
mfulksCBT,
Interesting reading and a lot to absorb.  I will examine all group policy settings to see if there is anything that can be removed and to get a better feel for what is going on.  This will probably take some time to digest.
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Expert Comment

by:DIIRE
ID: 35044943
This usually happens when Fast Logon Optimistion is enabled - which is it by default.

The instructions to disable are in the link that mfulksCBT gave you.

Enable - Always wait for the network at computer startup and logon in GP.
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Accepted Solution

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BitsBytesandMore earned 250 total points
ID: 35055670
Hello Rickhdee,

I few couple of months ago, I started having exactly the same issues... verbatim... both with XP and Windows 7 clients.

I run a very tight ship, but this one in particular, slipped right by me. It started after one of the Windows updates came in... I had said to myself: " ... I'll check it tomorrow...". Turns out the matter is more complicated than I expected.

Officially, Microsoft admits this was a bug in XP and created a hotfix. Next it happened in Vista and again, a hotfix was released (both hotfixes worked for some and failed for others).

Trying to summarize all the known possible causes and in hopes that addressing one of these will help you, take a look at them and test which one you may find useful:

1. Power management: it could be a power saving option applied to the NIC. From the device manager, click on the NIC (or NIC's) and from the power management tab uncheck the box for "Allow your computer to turn off this device to save power". This explains why sometimes we see users complaining that the error appears sporadically with no apparent pattern. Some devices take longer than others to wake up from sleep, hibernation or even restarting. These is very common also for people who have external Hard Drives that take very long to wake up.

2. Firewall: many firewall software included in antivirus suites such as Norton or F-Secure, block any network activity until the firewall is fully functional (towards the end of the computers' boot). This would explain why you get the popup (or red X) warning you about "...Could not reconnect all network drives but nevertheless when you click on the drives they are there and working). Turn of the Windows Firewall (you don't need it on if you are using Norton Internet Security). Test. Turn off temporarily the Norton firewall (or any other firewall you are using). Test again. If you find this to be the source of the problem, uninstall the current antivirus/firewall suite and re-install it. This has solved the problem for many, especially for those who have experienced the problem after installing other applications that startup before the antivirus/firewall software has had a chance to allow access. Never use your computer without some kind of firewall. Keep in mind that microsoft uses it's SMB protocol for the mapping and connection of remote drives. Hence when a Windows PC connects to a networked drive it passes the username and password as plain text accross the network. Hence it is easily read and a significant security risk to use your windows PC username and password as the login for remote drives. If any device on your network gets compromised the hacker will quickly have your login username and password for your Windows PC and then be able to take full control of it.


3. Wireless NIC's: this is not your case, but, for the record, it takes a bit to connect to a wireless connection.

4. SSL (Secure Socket Layer): this is worth looking into.  Have a look at this article and see if this fix applies to you. If the "Reconnect at logon" option is selected, a network drive that is mapped to a Web share is displayed as a red X after you restart a computer that is running Windows Vista, 7 or Windows Server 2008 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/960646

5. Mapped External or NAS drives: again, this may not apply to you. Some external drives spin down (especially WD drives) to save power and thus delay the mapping of themselves as well as all the other mapped drives. All Western Digital Hard Drives do this (not sure if their NAS devices do). Use Google and search for a program called "My Drive is Spinning".  This program will keep the Disk Spinning and may help to prevent the error you are getting. If the HD is spinning down, Windows may not be able to connect to it right away because its waiting for the drive to spin up. Keep in mind that using Third Party Software, including hardware drivers can cause serious problems that may prevent your computer from booting properly.

6. TPM Credential Manager: some HP users have complained of this issue when they enable the TPM.

7. DHCP Handshake: sometimes, the DHCP handshake between the machine and the router has not completed when Windows  is trying to connect to your drive thus giving you the warning message. The solution: use static IP addresses (I know... on some networks this is a pain).

8. Netlogon Service: make sure that the netlogon service is set to automatic.

9. Computer Policy: you can try if configuring the "always wait for the network at computer startup and logon" policy in Computer Config\Administrative Templates\System\Logon affects the problem.

10. GPO's in your environment: in XP, setting the "Always wait for the network at computer startup and logon" and "Turn off all balloon notifications" GPO settings to 'Enabled' sometimes works. Windows 7 behaves differently.  If you follow the same steps in Windows 7, Explorer will NOT re-connect the network drives; It doesn't automatically re-establish a connection to the network like Windows XP. UNC paths (\\server\share\file) work fine (be it a shortcut or Start-Run), while anything that references a drive letter (F:\file, G:\Folder) tends to fail.

11. Open a Support Ticket with Microsoft: I have opened a support ticket with Microsoft and I am not getting any clear answer. They continue to treat this as a "bug".

12. Persistent Connections: In Windows XP, if a user has a persistent network connection (a remembered network drive), when they logon, it immediately reconnects the drive.  If the same user logs into the same Windows XP machine while offline (disconnected from the network) the drives don't reconnect. The interesting part...again...Windows 7 behaves differently.  If you follow the same steps in Windows 7, Explorer will NOT re-connect the network drives; It doesn't automatically re-establish a connection to the network like Windows XP. The solution: right-click disconnect and net use Drive: /delete /y. Make a logon script for the mappings. If Active Directory is mapping the user drive automatically at login, but the drive is being being mapped in the login script as well, this will cause the popup warning. If removed from the login script and either left on the Active Directory or mapped on the client... the problem disappears.


13. Delete Network Drives from the registry: Go to Start-Run and type Regedit. Now go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Curre ntVersion\Explorer\MountPoints2 and find your Network Drive From its Name and Address, delete the key. Re-map the drive/drives.


14. Another registry fix I found: Go to Start-Run and type

Regedit  

Go to
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\NetworkProvider\
Set or create a DWORD
RestoreConnection = 0

Restart. The problem should now be solved. The mapped drives will not connect untill you access them for the first time.


15. Use 3rd party software: I found this info on some web site a few weeks ago (maybe more): http://zornsoftware.talsit.info/blog/windows-7-disconnected-network-drives.html
He wrote a small executable called MapDrive.exe to ‘work around’ this problem.

Hope some of this helps you narrow down the problem.
Keep us posted.

Bits ...
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Author Comment

by:Rickhdee
ID: 35056245
Bitsbytesandmore,
You have certainly done your research.  I will start with DIIRE's fast login op. and go from their. Much to try.
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Author Comment

by:Rickhdee
ID: 35189040
Trying to determine if it is actually a wiring problem I placed a switch with just a 2 ft cable next to two boxes reporting the error.  This eliminates the error "can't connect all network drives" at boot time.  Very strange.  If the connection from the point of the new switch to the next switch down the line was bad, you would think you would still get the error.  But perhaps the switch acts to boost power on the connection?  Am continuing to test.
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Assisted Solution

by:BitsBytesandMore
BitsBytesandMore earned 250 total points
ID: 35189547
I agree with you regarding the boosting and more efficient use of the bandwidth using the switch, this certainly would account for the disappearing of the problem as a result of the delay time being reduced.

As per Wikipedia:
"...An Ethernet switch operates at the data link layer of the OSI model to create a separate collision domain for each switch port. With 4 computers (e.g., A, B, C, and D) on 4 switch ports, A and B can transfer data back and forth, while C and D also do so simultaneously, and the two conversations will not interfere with one another. In the case of a hub, they would all share the bandwidth and run in half duplex, resulting in collisions, which would then necessitate retransmissions. Using a switch is called microsegmentation. This allows computers to have dedicated bandwidth on a point-to-point connections to the network and to therefore run in Full duplex without collisions..." in other words: less collisions mean less retransmissions with an end result of a faster connection.

Bits ...
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Author Comment

by:Rickhdee
ID: 35332708
BitsBytesandMore, you have done a great job detailing all the things to try, I just haven't had the time yet as these machines are also in use everyday.  I make changes and ask the users to report on their boot time experience.  I have a new win7 box on the bench though so will be reviewing and trying all the options this week and should have a resolution using one of the methods listed or will just have to indicate no solution yet.  
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Expert Comment

by:BitsBytesandMore
ID: 35333149
No problem. I'm not going anywhere...Lol. I will keep monitoring this thread for your results.

Bits ...
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Assisted Solution

by:Rickhdee
Rickhdee earned 0 total points
ID: 35492369
This problem remains intermittent and is unfortunately on the back burner since the user can resolve any issues by clicking on the network drives whenever they get the error at boot time.  I would like to try all the suggestions as time permits, however I cannot say at this time whether any of them will work.  I will do my best to resolve the issue by Tuesday, May 3, 2011.  If, at that time I have no resolution I will close the question.  
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by:BitsBytesandMore
ID: 35712425
I believe (just in my humble opinion) that post ID: 35055670 and post ID: 35189547 together with the OP's own analysis "...are just so fast that they request various things from the server and because of a slight lag they error and complain..." and his own testing in ID: 35189040, cover most of the known causes of the error: "...could not connect to the mapped network drives...". It would be a pity to delete this question and not allow it to remain and be available for future reference.

I understand that because this is not a crippling error, because it is intermittent and because of other daily pressing demands on other issues in an IT department, this problem gets relegated to the back-burner, nevertheless, it can be very annoying and unsettling and gives the network user the feeling of an unstable environment (even if in reality it is not).

Bits ...
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by:BitsBytesandMore
ID: 35712430
Please review ID: 35712425. Thanks.

Bits ...
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by:BitsBytesandMore
ID: 35713275
A much to valuable question, with so much time invested to allow it to die. The mapping issue which has created so many threads in so many forums is very common and annoying . My recommendations are as previously stated above.

Bits ...
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