Grey logon screen when logging into Server 2003, no prompt

We've got a Windows 2003 Server that won't get to the "Logon" screen when either rdp-ing or at the console.

We can remotely manage the server, and it IS up and seems to be running properly (it's a SQL Server), however we can do no maintenance on it.

Having checked the EventViewer, the App events are approx 4Mb, but all other events are 64k, and haven't been updated since june when the server was last rebooted. When first rebooted in june we could get into the server.

Is there any service that could be stop/started to regain login (ie a logon service?)

Any advice please?
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Jeremy BromleyIT ConsultantAsked:
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ShannonCallahanCommented:
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Zaheer IqbalTechnical Assurance & ImplementationCommented:
Can the server be restarted at all ?
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Jeremy BromleyIT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
@Shannon - Not certain this relates to the issue, as we can connect to drives etc.

@1stITMAN - yes it can, although this is not a solution to the problem as it was rebooted in June, and worked okay for a few days, then problem reoccurred.
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Zaheer IqbalTechnical Assurance & ImplementationCommented:
Have all the possible windows updates been installed.

Latest server firmware.

What spec is the server ?
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Jeremy BromleyIT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
All windows updates were installed in beginning of june, latest server firmware is installed.

Specwise I can't really tell as I can't get into it.
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Zaheer IqbalTechnical Assurance & ImplementationCommented:
Are you able to login at the server with mouse and keyboard.
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KwoofCommented:
Have to tried a remote shutdown or restart from another computer?  At a cmd prompt type "shutdown -i" and it will bring up the remote shutdown window.

or, at a cmd prompt:

shutdown /[r|s] /m \\ComputerName and then press ENTER.

r is for restart, s is for shutdown

(make sure your account has rights on that remote computer)
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Jeremy BromleyIT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
@1stITMAN - If we try local login (ie at the console) it sits on the same grey screen, although apparently after about 1 1/2 hours it does login

@kwoof - we don't want to shutdown the server if we can help it, as I say all the SQL functions appear to be working normally, and the server drives etc. are accessible, just the logon screen takes ages to come up (if at all). We do plan to reboot the server tonight, but were trying to find a permanent fix, rather then a temporary solution.
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KwoofCommented:
when you do get logged in...check your resource usage...a really slow system response might mean there is little memory left for the OS, or there may be disk issues (read/write retries can sometimes appear to freeze a system leaving little trace to show that they were consuming the computer)..Do a SMART check on your drives just in case...also if the indexing service is running, that can also impact performance and can be turned off if not important.  I have had a system using a backup system that seemed to tie up the OS interface (but not the virtuals) after it had run.  After restarting the service, the OS began to respond normally...you might check any services that are consuming too many resources...or use too many over time if the system is response after a reboot.  if so, then a weekly/monthly restart may be in order
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Jeremy BromleyIT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Thanks, I'll give that a try. I think we're going to do a reset over the weekend, as the server has been sat at the grey screen now, ever since I logged the above (which is about 3 hours now), no progress.

We might check them then. It sounds like a rogue app to me.
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Jeremy BromleyIT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Okay, a 1 hour 56 minutes reboot managed it, BUT this was only achieved by using the SHUTDOWN line command.

It came back to the Login screen on Sunday afternoon within 12 seconds, this morning it now takes 1 min 30 seconds.

I now have a bit more spec on the machine, Xeon X5550, with 32GB ram, it's currently using 30.9GB of pagefile.
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Zaheer IqbalTechnical Assurance & ImplementationCommented:
Can you login now without issues ??
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Jeremy BromleyIT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
As described above, it started out at 12 seconds, at 9:00am it was up to 1.5 mins, just checking again now (14:30) and it took 2.5 mins. We can't afford to do a daily reboot on the machine as it runs our core SQL database, off of which a lot of the company's websites rely.
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KwoofCommented:
What else is running on the machine?  Is it s DC?  Is it running Exchange.  Usually I have only seen this kind of delay on a DC with Exchange.  Are there other anti-virus or indexers, or other programs installed?  How large are the databases on your SQL server?

Maybe just a weekly reboot will keep the login time reasonable (and predictable)?
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Jeremy BromleyIT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
No, it's a just a SQL server, all other functions are run off other servers.

It does have Sophos AV on the server, all the servers have this, with the same client.

I'm just testing it now, and it took 5 mins to get to logon screen this time, that's only 2 days after a reboot.

The problem with weekly reboot is, as I said it takes about 2 hours+ to manually shut down SQL, close databases etc. etc. and get it back up again, all of which has to be done out of hours, not ideal for cost wise.
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Zaheer IqbalTechnical Assurance & ImplementationCommented:
OK it is possible that the server is getting over utilized..

 Can we get performance monitoring logged.

Do you still get the issue when the server is low utilisation after hours.

Can we stop AV Services and see if it helps.
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KwoofCommented:
I've heard of some issues between Sophos and SQL in the past, but I don't remember the versions.  Disable and see if that helps the response?  Is the SQL database on the system drive?  Is Sophos management on this server or another?
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Jeremy BromleyIT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Managed to turn off Sophos last night, but this did not seem to help.

Currently sitting at around 6 minutes to get login screen. We've managed to get a DR machine, so we are going to restore onto this, and use this as a test bed.
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Jeremy BromleyIT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Anybody able to assist with this one? It's driving me nuts. We've only been rebooted for a week, and it already takes 12 minutes to get to login screen this morning.
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Zaheer IqbalTechnical Assurance & ImplementationCommented:
Does it take the same amount of time to login at the server. Is it possible to do a disk check?? Also test the RAM.

I would try to hold of an identical server this could be raid card related.

Also what make is the server ?
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Zaheer IqbalTechnical Assurance & ImplementationCommented:
Check IP settings has there been any change in DNS ??

How are your disks setup for SQL Server
Do you have eg. c: -seperate physical drive.
D: databases F: logs what's the setup.

Can you run resource monitor ??
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Jeremy BromleyIT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
We think we have sorted out the problem now - it looks as though one of the event log files was growing and growing and growing over time, and stopping the service that created these logs reduced the time down to normal (ie a few seconds) timings.
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Jeremy BromleyIT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Stopping service
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