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SBS 2003 Explorer takes a long time to open

Posted on 2011-03-25
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
Over the past few months, our SBS has started to experience some slowness issues within Explorer.

I tried opening explorer today and it took about 2 minutes before I could see the drives.
If you access files from a workstation or another server, you can navigate through the folders/files very fast.

I've looked through a lot of threads and tried different techniques but it has become apparent I need to open my own thread.

Additional Info that may help

SBS 2003, 4GB RAM, RAID5
(all drives reporting in good shape)
MozyPro is installed - which is definitely suspect (but even when I kill the process, explorer is still slow.
TrendMicro WorryFree 6.3
Exchange is NOT being used although still running
Compared to a lot of my clients - this server is not doing much more than handling a lot of files so I'm not sure why we are having so many problems.
USB Backup drive attached (just recently removed and replaced this to make sure it wasn't causing an issue)
Full backups seem to take a loooong time. Its backing up 230GB and typically errors out by the end. It was 17 hours in today and said it had 8 hours left.

I'm not an expert in ProcessExplorer but have "checked it out" so if you want to see some reports from that, please let me know.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

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Question by:rheide
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35 Comments
 
LVL 56

Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 35219669
Between the slow explorer performance and the slow backups, I suspect you are having RAID issues.

Are these server class drives or SATA? Does the RAID controller have on-board memory caching? Is its firmware up-to-date and the latest OS drivers installed?

Even if the disks are reporting all-good, the raid controller itself must be in good health and not fixing parity errors regularly in order to get consistent performance. GOOD RAID controllers report very detailed statuses, not just health but number of corrections, speeds, etc.

I'd do some disk monitoring and performance testing.

As an aside, very low free disk space can cause similar performance issues, but usually are coupled with other issues as well....but still worth mentioning.

-Cliff
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Author Comment

by:rheide
ID: 35219719
Cliff,
We have 400GB free so we can eliminate that.

I wrote my original post wrong, we are actually running RAID 0 with 4 drives.
It is a Dell Perc5/i.
I'm using Dell's Open Server Adminstrator Tool to tell you that the drives are fine :-)
If there is a better reporting tool I can use, please let me know.
There doesn't seem to be any detailed reporting like you mentioned.

I'm checking on firmware updates now.
Thanks
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LVL 56

Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 35219787
I'd start use something like passmark to verify you are seeing reads and writes at the levels you'd expect. no use digging too deeply into something if it isn't the issue.

-Cliff
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:Netflo
ID: 35219921
Please disconnect any mapped drives or remove any printers that are no longer connected to the network.

This may help, as your machine is trying to query this before showing you explorer.
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Author Comment

by:rheide
ID: 35221949
Quick update:
There are no mapped drives.
2 printers that are down for maintenance have been set to Offline.

Just updated the drivers now - will have to do firmware later as I'm not on site.

I can run Passmark but is there a report to provide you guys as I'm not sure what is acceptable vs. not acceptable.

Thanks All.
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Expert Comment

by:Netflo
ID: 35222085
Rheide,

Following on from Cliffs suggestion, I don't think you have performance issues with the drives itself, I think you need to look at your PERC RAID card and possibly firmware for the drives itself.

1. Are you running the latest version of Dell Open Manage 6.5? You'd be surprised what further updates it points out.

2. I would download the latest firmware for your HDDs, whether it be SAS or SATA.

If the server is not up to date in terms of Dell hardware it would be difficult to pinpoint the issue at hand, as your hardware may not be running at an optimal level.

NOTE. Just to finally point out BEFORE updating any hardware on your server, make sure you have a full backup of your server and data.

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Author Comment

by:rheide
ID: 35222154
Update: Downloading 6.5 now (of course its 3GB so will be awhile). Also, running a full backup - hopefully it completes with no errors - should be done in 24 hours ;-)
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Expert Comment

by:Netflo
ID: 35222182
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Author Comment

by:rheide
ID: 35222219
Thanks. I tried finding that but had no luck. The 3GB one has all the parts that I don't need.
Anyway, downloading now.
Stay tuned and thanks!
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Author Comment

by:rheide
ID: 35222461
6.5 is amazing compared to what I was running.
Installing driver now (it didn't ever update last time) - and rebooting.

Is their a way to update the PERC 5/i firmware without being on-site? If not, what is the best way you suggest that we do the firmware update? (anytime we are messing with RAID drivers/etc. I get a bit nervous - had a real bad experience 5 yrs ago) :-)
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Author Comment

by:rheide
ID: 35222581
Update:
Controller Information PERC 5/i Integrated is now showing as degraded.
Could it just be that the firmware needs to be updated?
see attachment

All drives show no errors. (ie. Ready)
screenshot.jpg
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Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 35228527
Not likely. Degraded usually means a disk-level error has been detected and would *definitely* explain your I/O issues. OpenManage should give you an interface to drill down and give you detaisl on why the array is degraded. And while you *should* update the firmware, I've never seen old firmware (alone) to cause a degraded virtual disk.

-Cliff
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Author Comment

by:rheide
ID: 35228596
I found some information that mentioned if your firmware was not upto date, that OM would say its degraded. I just installed the lastest OM on a T310 and it did the exact same thing (said degraded because the firmware was not up to date).
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by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 35228602
Hrm. Haven't seen that myself. But, won't (usually) hurt to update it and see. With a backup.
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Author Comment

by:rheide
ID: 35228635
FYI - this is the info I was referring to and the link:
"The controller state requires that both the Controller Firmware and the kernel module (driver) be up to date. Once I updated both of those the controller state changed to "Ready."

http://serverfault.com/questions/141879/finding-out-why-dell-controler-is-degraded
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Expert Comment

by:Netflo
ID: 35228704
Glad to hear the Dell OM is installed and reporting correctly. Next would be to have a full backup then to update your RAID FW. I would strongly recommend updating all other components too, such as BIOS, etc.

In reply to your question, you can apply the firmware remotely and reboot. Let us know how you get on.
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Author Comment

by:rheide
ID: 35229014
Just trying to keep you all updated.

Firmware has been updated. OM reports no errors.
Stay tuned as I see how things go over the next day or so.

Thanks in advance to all.
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Author Comment

by:rheide
ID: 35367224
In a follow-up to my last message, things don’t seem to be getting much better. I’m not sure what tests, etc. to do next.

Opening “my computer” contains 5 objects and the average open time varies between 20 seconds and 2 minutes. I can open it up 10 times in a row and the times will be completely different. (ie. 20 second, 2 minutes, 44 seconds, etc.)
The objects shown are:
A: Floppy
C: Local disk
D: cd drive
E: Backup usb drive (recently replaced to eliminate as the problem)
MozyPro Online Backup folder
(no network drives)

Opening another folder that is shared over the network and contains 16 objects (8 folders and 8 files in the root) takes anywhere from 0 seconds to about 3 minutes. Opening the same folder (from another computer takes milliseconds)

Looking at the root of the C drive just took a little over a minute.

During these “long waits” explorer will jump to 25% CPU usage and Mem Usage keeps going up and up (stopped at 453MB). Processor drops back to 0 after the screen refreshes and Mem Usage goes back down to around 362MB.

Using command line, I can list the directories in no time - so everything seems to point to explorer.

Any suggestions?
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Expert Comment

by:Netflo
ID: 35370013
Can you please try the following and report back:

1. Can you please run a full antivirus scan on your server

2. Can you please run a full MalwareBytes scan on your server, its free and yes its safe to run. http://www.malwarebytes.org/

3. Perform a CHKDSK in read only mode. Start -> Run -> CHKDSK
This will run a check disk in read only mode, it should take about 10 minutes to complete and is safe to run during the day, it will provide a summary report, whether errors were found or not.

4. Is your network card firmware and driver up to date?

Please reply to each question thanks.
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Author Comment

by:rheide
ID: 35370173
Thanks Netflo - I'm doing this now.

1. Will run after chkdsk
2. Will run after antivirus scan
3. running chkdsk now
4. Drivers are definitely outdated - will try to update tonight.

I will respond back after I have collected any/all the info.

Thanks!!
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Expert Comment

by:Netflo
ID: 35370217
Heads up I've seen Dell servers lose network connectivity if your drivers and firmware are too out of date. Update the firmware first then driver, when the server reboots and takes a long time till you can login, chances are your NICs will show as 'unable to start', just right click on the NICs and choose uninstall. Reboot and you should be okay.

Key point not to panic and dont attempt to reboot during the prolonged logon screen, its happened previously and can be resolved.
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Author Comment

by:rheide
ID: 35370562
great info. thanks a bunch!!
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Author Comment

by:rheide
ID: 35371280
Here is the report from the chksk

chkdsk-screenshot.jpg
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:Netflo
ID: 35372616
Okay as I suspected, you need to issue the same command but with the slash F, e.g. CHKDSK /F
This process will attempt to fix those errors and it may take 1-2 hours, during which your server will be offline, so late evening or night may be ideal.

Check disk may need to be run a few times depending on your server, and in relation to the problem at hand, this can be a cause for that delay your experiencing too.

I would recommend fixing your disk integrity first via check disk, test if it worked. If not proceed with my list of outstanding.

Please let me know how you get on.
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Author Comment

by:rheide
ID: 35412029
completed chkdsk /f yesterday and noticed no change
network drivers have been updated as well.
Spyware and Virus scan are complete

Opening Explorer on the server takes forever
Browsing the same files from a different computer/server are instant.

Any other suggestions?
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Expert Comment

by:Netflo
ID: 35412736
Run Ccleaner to clear out your system, it can also do registry, but I would advise a full backup before proceeding.
http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/features
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Author Comment

by:rheide
ID: 35427810
Netflo -
per my chkdsk scan - what errors were you seeing in the image I posted?
I ran the regular chkdsk again and it looks like the one I posted earlier so I wasn't sure where the errors were at.

I also ran ccleaner and have rebooted.

I also update the BIOS and video drivers as well.

No change :-(
chkdsk2.jpg
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Expert Comment

by:Netflo
ID: 35427879
Just before the disk summary and before the USN journal verification, you will see that Windows complained about the file system. You can see the few extra lines.
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Author Comment

by:rheide
ID: 35427934
gotcha - I see it now. Took me 3 times to compare the files :-)
Based on my last chkdsk does everything look ok in terms of that?
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Expert Comment

by:Netflo
ID: 35428485
Yes it looks okay. On the Ccleaner scan, did you clean out the registry too, for any stale entries?
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Author Comment

by:rheide
ID: 35428739
on ccleaner, I did the registry and did the regular cleaner (minus the log files). I wasn't sure if I should be deleting those or not.

Should I delete the log files?
Should I check mark any of the advanced options in ccleaner?

Should I run a defrag? That is one thing I haven't run yet.


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Expert Comment

by:Netflo
ID: 35428770
I wouldn't advise clearing the log files or advanced options yet.

I would suggest a full system defrag may be one of the few options we have left at our disposal.

Please give this a go.
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Accepted Solution

by:
AdamJur earned 500 total points
ID: 35459916
I recently had multiple issues with MozyPro one of which was consuming massive amounts of RAM [1.7GB] but masked as Explorer.exe. Browsing the server remotely via UNC was fine and when I stopped Mozyprobackup.exe and set the service to manual, killed and restarted explorer.exe my system when logged into the console was fine - mozy was the culprit. After entering a support ticket with them they weren't much help, told me to re download the manifest, view logs etc...told me to upgrade which didn't help [w/ no uninstall]. From my communication with them they explained some things of after i had questions about how the product integrated with the OS.

Mozyproshell.dll integrates directly with Explorer.exe and when directories are browsed via explorer Mozy is querying every file/folder within the viewed directory so it can update the mozy icon of the data it grabs. If you have 700,000 files like I do it takes awhile [15-20  minutes before the view is generated] In addition to Explorer always displaying "Not Responding". Even after unregistering the mozyproshell.dll it continued. Only when I stopped the service did i see improvements and RAM fell to normal.

I backed up the registry, copied the Mozy folder to a different name and uninstall the product. I ensured there was nothing in the registry after a reboot and the contents of c:\pr*\mozy were gone.

In all, a clean install fixed it and explorer is running happy and RAM is fine. I did have some lag time setting up the backup sets again but after each backup set creation, i performed  a backup of that set and moved onto the next backup set. This also created a new manifest that was updated to the server. Over the course of 3 days I got my 6 backup sets, 84GB and 705,000 files backed up and i can sleep again.

Some things I figured out -
[VSS] Shadow copy must be enabled if you grab locked files [this setting is also in Mozy GUI].
Dont set the app to auto-upgrade.
To view more verbose logs create a new String Value titled "log.debugmask" with the value of:  .*   in the Options subkey of HKLM\Software\MozyPro\Options

I went through all the steps you have - assuming my disks were dying, bad sectors, malware etc.
Hopefully this can help you out.
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Author Comment

by:rheide
ID: 35459997
AdamJur,
Its funny you post this as I had just finished doing this on Friday.

I was having issues backing up Mozy which I was attributing to the server problems but in fact Mozy was causing all the problems.

I did a complete uninstall and checked and everything was working great. Reinstalled Mozy (experienced same thing as you) and after a day or so, it was all backed up and everything was running great.

I'm still holding my breath for a few days to see what happens but for once my confidence is high!!

The other benefit I got from all of this is at least I know that all my drivers, bios, etc. are all up to date. :-)

Thanks all!
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Expert Comment

by:AdamJur
ID: 35460217
cool man - i  don't wish the headache of this on anyone. I went 21 days without a backup and they weren't much help. I had to debug their processes and learn the product more than an admin should have to. Hope it fairs well for you in a few days.
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