Slow/Choppy Network File Access on SBS 2008 Network

Posted on 2013-01-11
Last Modified: 2016-11-23
Please help me restore my sanity!

Major issue:  Accessing files on the server can vary from normal to painfully slow (3-4 minutes to open a 500KB Word File).  While editing a Word file that was opened from the server, the program will stutter and stall frequently.  This will happen if the keyboard/mouse input is idle for 10 or more seconds.  Example - Type a few lines...stop to think...type again or even press page-down, system pauses for 3-5 seconds, then starts responding.  This is the symptom on Windows 7.  On XP, a "Not responding" message appears too frequently when attempting to open a file from a network share.

Configuration is a SBS 2008 server with 5 total workstations.  Office 2003 on all stations.  Clean install of SBS 2008 (let the Wizards do the walkin') in April 2012.  Workstations are 3 Windows 7 Pro and 2 XP Pro.  Un-managed Cisco GB switch.  AT&T DSL through a Netopia Modem.  DHCP on server.  User folders are not redirected to the server.

Things I've tried/reviewed/examined:
-Turned off all Antivirus - no change.
-Moved a small set of files off server and onto a workstation share - no change.
-Changed from a Netgear GB switch to a Cisco GB Switch  - no Change.
-Changed from a GB switch down to a 100MB switch - Problem much less frequent, but overall speed obviously reduced.
-Ethernet wiring all tested and confirmed good.
-Current drivers on all NICS (server and workstations).
-Set up a constantly running ping from server to workstation on a 5 second interval (based on symptom of the "stalls" only appearing when a user pause of 10+ seconds occurred - no appreciable change.
-Found several documents on slow Server 2008 File Access here noting changes to several NIC settings on server and workstations (see italicized below).  Did that - No change:
This sounds like a network issue:

On one of the slow machines and the server please run the following commands (Elevated command)
netsh int ip set global taskoffload=disabled
netsh int tcp set global congestion=none
netsh int tcp set global autotuning=disabled
netsh int tcp set global rss=disabled

I did NOT make an additional suggested change to the SMB signing settings on the server (turning them off).

It *seems* that when I keep a steady flow of data (e.g. Pandora) moving to workstation, file access is more consistent (better).

Owner does his work by typing documents from templates in Word 2003 (originally created in Word 2000 or prior).  I tried opening one of the .doc templates used for most of his work and then saving it as an .rtf and the stalling/hanging/slow opening all disappeared.  Reopened the original .doc and the issue resurfaced.  Went back to the .rtf and all was well.  Assumed I had it licked as a format issue in the template (.rtf's don't preserve more than basic formatting) as I could make the problem happen and not happen at will based on the type of file being used (.doc vs .rtf).

Owner now reporting that the .rtf files are behaving with the stalls/pauses/slow opens and I have not yet confirmed that.

If files are residing on the C: drive of owner's system, absolutely no issues present.

NIC on Owner system (Dell Optiplex)?  System just coming up to 1 year old, but haven't tried swapping it out.

Office 2003 not playing well with Windows 7/Server 2008?

This one is driving me (and my client) nuts.  Looking for things to look at, test, change, etc. that will make this headache go away.

Question by:AriesUpNorth
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Accepted Solution

rharland2009 earned 500 total points
ID: 38768622
Here are a couple of things to try.

1. Remove all other workstations from the switch except for your user and the server. Do the problems continue?
2. Leave all workstations plugged in, but disconnect the Internet feed from the switch. Do the problems continue?

Author Comment

ID: 38768985

Thanks.  Will try them both.  Haven't tried either.  Isolation is always helpful.

I am also going to try working with these files on 1)  same system, different login and 2) different system, same login (owner).

May be a day or two (with the weekend now here) before there are results.  Though it may be easier to kill other connections out of normal work hours. ;)

Author Closing Comment

ID: 38830605
finally able to try the tests rharland2009 suggested.  As I was setting up the tests, I also had one more look at the NIC on the computer.  On a chance, I disabled FLOW CONTROL and INTERRUPT MODERATION and the problem disappeared.  Having been fooled by seemingly positive results before regarding this problem, I let it stand for at least one week before reporting back here.  We are now past one week and the user reports no issues with Word documents stalling/hesitating and overall improved performance on this system in the network.  The points are was your suggested isolation test that led me to the final solution.  


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