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Win 7 SP1 unable to access Servers intermitently

Posted on 2011-05-13
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I am having an issue that has been intermittent for weeks now.  It is baffling me and I am out of ideas to try.

Issue:  Unable to access Windows Server 2003 box from Windows 7 SP1 computers.  I am unable to browse to the shares or ping by either IP or computer name.  This is only effecting Win7 computers, all XP computers function properly.  Seems to be happening after installation of SP1 but could be a coincidence.

This has been happening very randomly every 1-2 weeks.  The odd thing is that is happens when trying to access different servers.  First it was the SBS 2003 box (might not be related for sure), then it was my Storage Server 2003 box (last week) and now my Server 2003 Standard box.  Same behavior and symptoms and will just go away after a day or so.

The biggest downside to this is the business owners and GM are the ones on Windows 7 so that is a huge issue for them.

I have gone through IP setting and reviewed both static and dynamic options with same results.  Checked out DNS to make sure there was nothing going on there.  Verified there is no firewall or security software interfearing (disabled/uninstalled as needed).

I am unable to find any errors in either the servers or workstations event viewer or anything else to help me find the problem.

Any suggestions or ideas to try are greatly appreciated!!
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Question by:teamtorque
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:Elwin3
ID: 35754318
SP1 for Windows 7 is a bit of a nightmare. I would recommend uninstalling from one of the PCs and then testing. If ok then remove fro mthe other PCs. Rule out SP1 first.
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by:ded9
ID: 35754335
Can you boot the computer in safe mode with networking and then check...

If no issues in safe mode with networking then do clean boot

Clean boot process

Start-type - msconfig- click on startup tab- click disable all...then click services tab- put a check on hide all microsoft services ...and then click disable all....click ok and then restart the computer in normal mode.

If everything works fine in clean boot then enable five startup items and services at a time to find the faulty software.


Ded9
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Author Comment

by:teamtorque
ID: 35754721
Elwin3: I have removed SP1 from one system and after multiple reboots still no change.

Ded9: I booted into safe mode w/networking after removing SP1 and still unable to ping my one server, but am able to ping the rest.

Additional Items:  All windows 7 systems are 64 bit.  When this issue is happening the server is unable to ping the workstation as well.

Any other suggestions or ideas?
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:Elwin3
ID: 35754769
Uninstall any AV or firewall software.
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Author Comment

by:teamtorque
ID: 35754784
I have already removed the antivirus software from the clients and disabled on the server.  All firewalls have been disabled as well.
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Expert Comment

by:Elwin3
ID: 35754809
ok - plug a cross over cable directly into one of the windows 7 pc and then into another one. Can you ping between the 2 machines? - you will have to give static IP addresses to both PCs.
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Author Comment

by:teamtorque
ID: 35754831
I can try that tomororw when I have not users around.  Most of my users use XP so they are not effected by this issue.

The odd thing is it has been happening to differenet servers at different times and then while troubleshooting it the issue seems to go away before I can find a definate solution to it.
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Expert Comment

by:ded9
ID: 35755639
i one server that you were unable to ping might be the problem...and if everything works fine in safe mode with networking then its some software at startup...did u try clean boot.


Ded9
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Author Comment

by:teamtorque
ID: 35755718
Where I am beeting my head against the wall is it happens to all Win 7 computers at the exact same time.  Plus I still had the same issues when I was in Safe Mode as well.

The thing is that the issue seems to go from one sever to the next.  This makes me think it is a network or server thing but no clue where to look or what woule even cause it.
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by:ded9
ID: 35755733
If the issue is moving from one server to the next then might be something to do with the router or switch...check that.



Ded9
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by:RootsMan
ID: 35759673
Have you tried disabling power saving on the NICs in the Windows 7 PCs?
Have you tried disabling IPv6 on each of the affected systems?

When the Windows 7 PCs loose network connectivity, do they still have the correct IP address for your network?

When the issue occurs, does the Windows 7 Network and Sharing Center still show that you have network and/or internet connectivity?

You may want to do a clean installation of Windows 7, excluding SP1, on one PC and see if that PC is affected by the loss of network connectivity.
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Author Comment

by:teamtorque
ID: 35760106
Ded9:  Everything seems good with my routers and switches.  Swapped some out and moved some around to just make sure.

RootsMan: I disabled the power saving on the NIC, I will see if that helps.  IPv6 has been disabled.
When they loose connectivity all IP address information is still there, they can access other servers, network resources, and internet.

I just installed a new version of Win 7 on a freshly formatted computer and it is having the exact same issues the other Win 7 systems are having.

One thing that is weird that I just noticed is when doing a ping test if there has been no activity to the server in  a while the first ping will go through and then they start failing.  Almost seems like something is flagging it as a security concern and blocking it for X amount of time.  I cannot for the life of me figure out what that could be though with everything disabled and uninstalled.
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by:ded9
ID: 35760109
I think pathping will give u more info on where exactly its failing.


Ded9
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by:ded9
ID: 35760159
Changes are it could be problem from hardware firewall or router firewall.

Not sure whether u can try this but check

win2003 box--> new router--->client windows 7


no hardware firewall  in between.


Ded9
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by:ChiefIT
ID: 35766866
Check your PDCe event logs, (System Events), for errors in the 8000's that elude to a browser conflict. An Win7 machine may be competing with the domain master browser for the browser election.
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by:ChiefIT
ID: 35766873
Also, when this happens, go to the server command prompt and type:
Browstat /status

Browstat is a part of the admin pack tools. If you have DCdiag on the server, browstat also exists.
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by:ChiefIT
ID: 35933020
LEE:

The automatic method to elect a domain master browser will pick a domain computer using Win7 (especially a patched Win7) or even Vista, over the domain master browser (which is suppose to be the PDCe).

-The author is pointing to symptoms of a WIN7 computer competing with the domain master for authoritative role of the domain master browser service. When this happens, the PDCe can give a "shut down" notification to the WIN 7 for the browser service applet, or it may shut down itself.
-Firewall can work for up to fifteen minutes after boot up, therefore appearing like an intermittent problem. You see, a computer can get Netbios Name resolution, through broadcasts saved before the firewall service applet starts.
-File and print sharing can be intermittent if you have a node on the network competing with the PDCe for holding this domain master browser role.
-In addition, IPv6 can cause intermittent communications. The hold down timers of Spanning tree on an access port can cause intermittent communications with the nic to switch.  

**There is no real wrong answer above, we have to find the combination to the safe, but the author needs to respond.
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 36012651
I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
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Author Comment

by:teamtorque
ID: 36010821
First off I appologize for the lack of replies and follow up regarding this.  We have had some flooding in our area and it has taken me away from work a lot along with the preparations we have needed to make at out facility to prepare for high water.

To catch up a little everything has been working good.  I have had the issue once or twice but it has resovled itself before I have been able to troubleshoot it much, the issue is currently happening again so I am trying to dig into it.

I have reviewed the event logs and there are no errors on either the workstation (Win 7) or any of the servers.  When the issue has appeared it has been specific to trying to access my Windows Server 2003 box.  I have also verified that it is not listed when doing a browstat, everything is looking good there.

The things that are still sticking out to me as odd are the fact it is effecting all of my Win 7 machines at the same time, without trying to access for a time if I ping the first ping will go through and the rest will fail (time delay maybe 5 minutes), and there are no events or errors generated.  I am just unable to access via IP or name.

I do have a small internal website running on this server that I am not even able to get to when I try (one of the indications the problem is present).
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by:ChiefIT
ID: 36012652
Objection because author returned to posting:

OK, your problem is as expected!

What happens is the browser service uses netbios broadcasts to choose a domain master browser. These broadcasts hold certain information like lates operating system and if it is a domain server with FSMO roles. Using this information, computers will ELECT a domain master browser. If there are two computers competing for the domain master browser service, then one will be forced to shut down the browser service and the other will win the election process. Since you are seeing a shut down browser service AND and access denied to restart the browser service, it sounds like your Domain PDCe shut this computer down and told it you are not the domain master... To resolve this issue, requires a reg edit... So, if this is the case, let me know if you find these errors.

2000 server, 2000, NT, 95, 98  (Legacy machines)
2003 server, XP, Win200  (The latest Legacy machines)
2008 server, (Vista, Win7)  (Will win the Domain master election because of the newer operating system.)

Please read this article on Browser elections: Yes, it has not changed much since Windows NT)

http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windowsnt/4/server/reskit/en-us/net/chptr3.mspx?mfr=true
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Author Comment

by:teamtorque
ID: 36049380
I have continue to test the maste browse status and it is always showing my domain controller.  

I have continue to work on this and have found something else interesting though.  It appears the issue is with the ARP Cache nad it is starting to effect other computers, not just Windows 7 systems.

Looking at the ARP cache it is assigning the imporper MAC address to this server.  Here is the log for the Network Monitor regarding it:

11      11:49:27 AM 6/27/2011      1.8643882            S042        QC        ARP      ARP:Request, 192.168.1.242 asks for 192.168.1.5      
12      11:49:27 AM 6/27/2011      1.8644759            QC        S042        ARP      ARP:Response, 192.168.1.5 at 00-11-0A-E9-86-35      
16      11:49:28 AM 6/27/2011      1.9534394            QC        S042        ARP      ARP:Response, 192.168.1.5 at 3C-8B-FE-31-35-68      


It is sending two responses from the server.  The first MAC is correct, the second is wrong.  The computers are latching onto this MAC and it is causing the problem.  This also explains why the first ping will go through and the rest fail - first ping is using the right MAC band by the second it has grabbed the wrong one.

I just saw a different server be assigned this wrong MAC as well but that was only for a couple of seconds.

What would cause the wrong MAC to be assigned to a computer?  Is this something on the server or am I dealing with a bad switch?

Thanks!
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Accepted Solution

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ChiefIT earned 2000 total points
ID: 36049933
The only reasonable explaination is another computer with the same IP.

Try Ping -a 192.158.1.5 to see if you can find the other computer with the same IP address. OR maybe a switch with the IP of the server.. Nevertheless, something has the same IP as the server. looking within DNS should show you name resolution to that IP if it registers within DNS. If not, look at your switches for something that doesn't register within DNS.
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Author Comment

by:teamtorque
ID: 36050209
Not another computer but a tablet.  User has the same network scheme as here for some reason so he is connecting at home dynamically and it is assigning the same IP addresses as my server.  He comes to work and connects to the new network but his tablet is hanging onto the IP address from home and causing the conflict.

Working with him and on his tablet to figure out a solution to prevent these conflicts.  I know he is switching to a static IP when here but something either in the network or on his tablet must be holding onto that old IP address.

Thank you very much for your help and I am praying this issue is resolved!
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Expert Comment

by:ChiefIT
ID: 36055301
DHCP should resolve all conflicts. When a DHCP offer is provided by the server, the client will perform an ARP ping to see if the address is in use. The address from the server is only provided if it is NOT already a delegated lease to another machine. So, there is two means to check. Tablet PC's were starting to come out with scaled down versions of XP, and now Win7. So, they act exactly like a client PC, (same with blackberries and phones).

You can set this tablet to get a DHCP address and DNS address automatically. This will enable this client to access the network anywhere he/she goes. The unfortunate thing about a tablet is its """SNEAKERNET"""" capability. Like thumb drives, this person walks around from one network to another to connect into the internet. Now, if that tablet downloads bad info and then comes within your network, you are looking at nothing different than someone going from network to network computer with a portable thumb drive.

If this client tablet is already set for DHCP, then you need to tell DHCP, that the address pool does NOT include your server's fixed IP with a DHCP lease exclusion. Then, it should never happen again on your network.
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Author Comment

by:teamtorque
ID: 36055345
It is actually an Android tablet that is the problem.

What is happening with it is it is getting it's IP from home on DHCP and then when it is connecting to the wireless network here it is retatining that IP address.  It is messed up because the DHCP should refresh it and assign it to a new and open IP but the device is not looking for the new IP so it is coming back to the device.

I beleive part of this is due to the way the user has his home network and his tablet itself.  He is looking at a couple of different applications to automatically switch the IPs or refresh the DNS.  Either way it looks like the issue is solved, just monitoring it right now to make sure nothing comes back and pops back up.
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by:ChiefIT
ID: 36055458
Just thinking out loud::

192.168.1.x is the standard home based router configuration. .1 is the standard IP for the router and on a home-based system provides DHCP and DNS to its local home-based clients. Typically, a home-based router will assign .3 as the first IP dished out. So, I could see this dilema happening real easily. Two interfaces, One for home>>internet, the other a virtual VPN interface for Domain services. if both are on the same subnet, the client computer gets confused on how to route traffic.

you might post a question in the Networking zone to tell your tail on how to choose ONE DHCP (meaning the VPN DHCP, or your DHCP server), over the other when connected to the VPN connection.

i would imagine there is a means (within the VPN software), to pick up your IP settings when connected to the VPN connection and get your DHCP servers that pass down  your DNS servers.

This poses a puzzeling question....How do you set routing when both interfaces on the same subnet??
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