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SBS 2008 Problems

Posted on 2011-09-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
We recently acquired a client whose server was heavily distressed.  It is a physical server running Windows SBS 2008.  It has been badly neglected and poorly handled and we need to right the ship.  Before I go much further I'd like to avoid any responses that include "what was changed recently" or "rebuild the server from scratch".  I can't say what was changed recently because until a few days ago we had no control over this box and the rebuild isn't an option I'm willing to accept.  There is a lot of data, Active directory, and a live Exchange server in place.  Too many moving parts to consider a rebuild from scratch.  The critical problems at this point are:

1

The server will only boot into Windows using the "disable drivers to be digitally signed" under advanced boot options.  This wasn't the first problem we ran into but it did cause them to be down for the majority of a day.  I'm guessing the previous company knew this little tidbit and was babying the server along for quite some time.  We've removed a suspicious LogMeIn mirror driver and plan to get SP2 and all other updates in place immediately.  Aside from that, any other suggestions?

2

The control panel won't open.  I've tried changing from Start Menu to Classic Start menu, no success.  Also many of the ".cpl" links don't work from a command prompt/run line.  A few other similar type of items won't open.  If I right click on my computer and do a properties I get nothing and the Network and sharing center doesn't open.  Control panel does briefly flash when I attempt to open but never opens to a usable state.  I'm all ears I have no rabbit's to pull out of the hat at this point.

3

The SBS Console won't launch.  This is kind of important since a lot of tasks have to be performed from the SBS console.  Plan on doing a repair outlined here http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd430086(WS.10).aspx  If that doesn't work I'd love to have a suggestion on what to pursue after that.

SBS isn't a product I have a ton of experience with, more versed in Server Standard / Enterprise.  Any and all help is appreciated.  Thanks!
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Question by:sqlBarth
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by:setasoujiro
ID: 36552028
All of these things lead me to beliece you have a malwareinfection or rootkit.
Especially the driver part. Can you try and run malarebytes on itand see what happens?
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by:sqlBarth
ID: 36552116
We will run a malware scan at some point over the weekend.  This server is going to get a whole lot of attention over the weekend.  Thanks for the input.
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by:setasoujiro
ID: 36552136
No prob. Also check out and post the event logs (if any)
Thanks
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by:sqlBarth
ID: 36552151
Be prepared, those event logs are dirty as all get out.  Our hopes is that just getting the basics in place, like current windows updates and service packs for Windows and Exchange will clear a lot these problems out.
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by:setasoujiro
ID: 36552178
Im interested in errors regarding : memoryleaks/violations/mmc
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by:SuperTaco
ID: 36552263
Another thing you might want to check is to see if IPv6 is improperly disabled.  if it's just disabled on the NIC and not in the registry or if there are still IPv6 settings in hostfile.  

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929852

This will affect eh SBS console believe it or not.  The SBS won't be able to find itself.  If you're not using IP v6 anywhere on the network, it should really be disabled on all 2008 servers.
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Cliff Galiher earned 250 total points
ID: 36553317
Do not disable IPv6. Vista/2008/R2/Win7 support a dual stack network and therefore it is not necessary, or ever beneficial, to enable IPv6. Claims that it I proves performance or was causing issues have, when legitimately Investigated, eventually proven to be caused by other network issues unrelated to IPv6. I have NEVER seen a substantiated case where this is not true.

But back to the topic at hand. You have serious corruption. Even if it is malware related, this is a domain controller, so hoping a remover can clean it AND keep your server running is an incredible risk. Your server runs. Exchange works. This means AD and Exchange are intact. In my mind, the choice then becomes clear.

Rebuild (but not from scratch.) Perform a 2008 to 2008 migration. You will be preserving the necessary business's continuity data such as AD and exchange, but get the benefit of a new system Install/OS install, and most importantly, can be done with minimal to no service interruption on the client.

-Cliff
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by:SuperTaco
SuperTaco earned 250 total points
ID: 36554112
@cqaliher:  I have seen plenty of issues caused by IPv6 being enabled on a network, mainly with DNS.  If IPv6 is not used on the network, it must be disabled.  I've seen plenty of cases where the SBS cannot find itself, and therefore causing issues with Exchange and AD.  As soon as IPv6 is gone,the issue goes away.  this has even been the case on calls I have placed to M$.  

I do agree with you that the nest best step is to completely redo the migration.  
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Author Comment

by:sqlBarth
ID: 36926887
We have abandoned the notion of "fixing" the server and are making plans of moving them into new hardware.  At that time we will be migrating them away from the SBS server and into a hyper-v server with three or four guest servers depending on needs.  We are uncovering more problems everyday and a fresh rebuild from top to bottom is in order.

Thanks for everybody's input.
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