SBS 2003 - Hangs on restart applying computer settings

I'm having some issues with a SBS 2003 we have recently taken over support for.

Last Sunday at 00:08 it appears that the server just froze, on arrival at site at 10:30 a.m. the normal desktop screen with the server time showing 00:08 - the mouse is unresponsive and ctrl-alt-del etc does not provide any response etc.

The only way to get this back is to power it down. On power up then it is not possible to login as the server hangs on applying computer settings, left it for over an hour and no change.
In the end started in safe mode and disabled all 3rd party services, except for Blackberry express and it started as normal. Did quite a few restarts after that and it restarted each time o.k.

The plan was to go back in this weekend, and restart each 3rd party service in turn until the culprit was found.

However, this morning again at 00:33 right in the middle of the scheduled backup exactly the same behaviour - screen shows as if the backup was running, can't move mouse and totally unresponsive. Again hard reboot and then hangs applying computer settings, this time had to set all exchange services to manual and reboot in order to be able to logon. After normal restart was able to start the exchange services o.k.

It's almost as if the server just stops at that moment in time. Examing the logs etc - seem to show normal running and then all of the logs, administrative and system etc. - simply stop at that moment in time.

As an aside it looks as though once the server has been logged in to locally the session never actually closes - not sure if this would cause an issue or not.
Not come across this before so am not sure where to start to troubleshoot, especially as the logs appear to provide no information of anything untoward.
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foxpc123Asked:
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Manpreet SIngh KhatraConnect With a Mentor Solutions Architect, Project LeadCommented:
If its IS ... try to put Do not mount at startup if all is well seems the DB's or one of the DB is corrputed

- Rancy
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TunerMLSystems EngineerCommented:
Was the first hang at 00:08 also during a backup?
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arrorynCommented:
What AV have you got on the server, and does it have correct exceptions set for the programs on there?

I've seen AV solutions (specifically Sophos in the past) cause this kind of issue. It might be worth disabling the AV for the reboot process alone to see if this goes smoothly.
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foxpc123Author Commented:
The first hang was not during a backup as it doesn't run on a Sat night.

That Saturday had installed Sophos PureMessage - which on the Sunday following the first lock-up was completely removed. There is ESET on this server as well however this is disabled after the first lock-up as well.

The only non-MS service running is BES Express and Teamviewer - everything else is disabled.

The server had ran good backups on Mon night through till last night.
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pgm554Commented:
You know after a server crash,it might be a good idea to run a chkdsk because there can be a lot of garbage on the disk that needs to be cleaned up.

Also,have you looked at your error log?
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foxpc123Author Commented:
When you say error log - are we talking about event logs?

The event logs literally stop at the point of failure - before that just hours of 'normal' logs.
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pgm554Commented:
Couple of things come to mind,hardware failure (bad memory) or memory leak.

If ,after installing the AV,your lockups began,I would look at the AV not being completely uninstalled.

Symantec has done this many times by requiring a separate tool,so Sophos and  ESET  may require the same.

http://www.sophos.com/en-us/support/knowledgebase/11019.aspx

http://kb.eset.com/esetkb/index?page=content&id=soln2289
I would also run a registry cleaner.

http://pcsupport.about.com/od/registry-cleaner/fr/ccleaner.htm
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foxpc123Author Commented:
This happened again last night.

A bit more information now which may help.

On restart of the machine it hangs again on 'applying computer settings' - looking at the last couple of event logs of each occurrence - can see the following log entry each time -

Source: ESE

Information Store First Storage Group: Online defragmentation is resuming its pass on database E:\Exchange\priv1.edb

It would appear that this never actually completes.

Have disabled all of the exchange services and the machine boots up each time without hanging.

Am just trying to see which Echange service it is but suspect now this will be the Information Store Service
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Manpreet SIngh KhatraSolutions Architect, Project LeadCommented:
Is there any 9157 events as well ?

- Rancy
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foxpc123Author Commented:
Seems lke going round in circles with this one - after stopping all of the Exchange services and then enabling each one in turn after a reboot - leaving the Information Store till last - that it started to behave itself and is now restarting normally.

Still think that when the online defrag occurs tonight that it will hang again.

The plan is to move this server to a SBS 2011 (as there are other issues wth this machine in any case) - however that won't take place till next week - I'm wondering if stopping the onine defrag for a week will allow it to keep on going until I can get the replacement server in place.
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foxpc123Author Commented:
Strangely enough that was one of the issues after we took over this client - the Ex BPA stated not to mount the database on startup was set - so corrected this - am begining to think this is a long standing issue which has been 'managed' and unfortunately we've landed it!

I've stopped the online defrag for now as well. I've also set it not to mount the database on restart - will monitor this again this evening.
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Manpreet SIngh KhatraSolutions Architect, Project LeadCommented:
Cool ideally Online Maintenance should only start at 1-4 what is the schedule set ??

- Rancy
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foxpc123Author Commented:
it was set from midnight till 5 a.m.
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foxpc123Author Commented:
hopefully tonight it will stay up o.k.
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pgm554Commented:
Sounds like you have corruption in the Ex db,also what is the size of that db?

Look at this and maybe try running the esutil diag.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa996436%28v=exchg.65%29.aspx
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foxpc123Author Commented:
The server did stay up last night and so hopefully turning off the online defrag will keep the server up for now.

The server is due to be migrated to SBS 2011 which was a planned step before these issues occurred - as there are some hardware issues with this server in any case - before the lock-ups started to occur.

I'm not sure whether this will be in a fit state to support a migration or not at this stage, but I'm reluctant to perform any further maintenance actions now which may jeopardise that migration.
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Manpreet SIngh KhatraSolutions Architect, Project LeadCommented:
How many users do you have ?
For Exchange you can do a PST Export\Import

- Rancy
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foxpc123Author Commented:
Stopping MS IS and also do not mount has resolved this issue o.k.
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