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Problem with two different Workstations disconnecting from 2003 server volumes

Posted on 2011-04-27
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I had a Win7 and a WinXP workstations lose connection to our server volumes and they could not reconnect until I had rebooted the 2003 server. Is there something to be done without rebooting the server? My researcg until this point says that this is a common problem with most Windows Server OS's.
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Question by:twallin
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by:Justin Owens
ID: 35484285
Servers should not randomly disconnect from the network.  If this is happening, you have a problem somewhere.  Unfortunately, there is really not enough info here to tell you where to start.  May I suggest you go through the event logs on your server to see if any errors exist?  Also, what roles, other than file server, is this particular server hosting (DC, DNS, Exchange, SQL, IIS, etc)?  Is it always just those two machine which disconnect, and when they do, do others stay connected?  Is it just that server which your two computers lose, or is it all of them?

DrUltima
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by:twallin
ID: 35484944
I did look at the event logs and nothing that I could see. The server is just a file server, DC and DNS. This was a random event. It has happened before. And yes it was only the two workstations with all other workstations staying connected. But my resolution was to get everybody off and reboot the server. I am mainly looking for a way to fix such an event by way of something besides rebooting the server.
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Justin Owens earned 2000 total points
ID: 35485890
Because it is a DC and DNS server, there are lots and lots of active connections to the server.  The server prioritizes connectivity, and AD and DNS receive a higher priority than file share.  If the max connections (3976 threads by default, at ports 1024-5000, which is NOT the same as 3976 people or computers connecting to it) is reached, it will drop active connections prematurely in order to service the DNS and AD replication.  This is one of the main reasons that a DC should not be used as a file server.  There are a couple of registry "tweaks" you can make to 1) increase the max connections by increasing the allowable thread ports and 2) shorten the TCP keep alive value to close threads faster.

Server 2008 eliminates the concurrent connection cap that Windows Server 2003 comes with, but if you need to increase this in the short term, by adjusting your MaxUserPort setting:

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters\MaxUserPort

registry key.  Here is the supporting information for that.

Another registry tweak you can utilize on Server 2003 is the TcpTimedWaitDelay setting:

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters

Its default is 2 minutes.  You can shorten this safely to 30 seconds.  This will force the server to let go of TCP session sooner.  Here is the supporting information for that.

If it is ALWAYS those exact two computers, though, and not random clients (even if it is always 2), then it is less likely a server issue and more likely an issue with those two workstations.

DrUltima
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