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Windows Server 2003 NAS Hanging

Posted on 2013-10-24
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
Hi everyone

One of my clients as an odd issue that is causing company wide issues. They have a Windows Server 2003 running as a NAS server. It ha been running fine until about two weeks ago when the server started to hang. These haopen, mostly iovernight but it has occurred once during the day.

The only way to get the server up is to manually power off &back on again.

When the server hangs no users can log into their computers or even to the clients Citrix XenApp farm.

All network drives are on the server as well as users Profiles (hence the log on issue).

There is nothing in any of the logs. As the server has hung nothing is written to the logs. The server doesn't blue screen just hangs. When it happens and we try to log in, we get the grey 2003 server background and nothing else. We are able to move the cursor around but nothing else.

I have tried the following:
Disabled Backup system (using Jungle Disk)
Run full AV Scan and no infections
Disabled AV (using Kaspersky)
Run Windows Update - all up to date

Dell Server Administrator (its a Dell PE2950 running as a Power Vault 500) reports no hardware issue or firmware upgrades needed. Power has full redundancy (second PSU is on a UPS).

Server is on SP2

Today I'm going to run spybot on there but given that there are 3 TB's of disks on there its going to take a while!!

Any other suggestions?

Thanks
Mark
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Question by:Mark Galvin
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Author Comment

by:Mark Galvin
ID: 39596547
Spybot run complete and it located two tracking Cookies under the Domain Admin account. Removed those but its unlikely they have been causing the hang.

thanks
Mark
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Expert Comment

by:Davis McCarn
ID: 39598874
If it is not a RAID array, get the trial version of HDTune Pro ( http://www.hdtune.com ) and check the health tab to see if there are drive issues.  Anything but zero on the Reallocated Sector Count or Pending (same) are indicative of a failing drive.
If it reports clean, try RogueKiller and/or Hitman Pro  (Spybot doesn't cut it, anymore)
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Author Comment

by:Mark Galvin
ID: 39599826
Hi  DavisMcCarn

The server is set up as follows:
Physical Disks
6 X 1TB 15KRPM
Virtual Disk 1 - SYSTEM DRIVE
1 X 1TB - RAID 0
Virtual Disk 2 - STORAGE
3 X 1TB RAID 5
Virtual Disk 2 - STORAGE
2 X 1TB RAID1

Will the tools you have mentioned work with this config?

Thanks
Mark
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Author Comment

by:Mark Galvin
ID: 39599973
Hi again

Ran both tools and they found a few cookies and some dead reg entry's but nothing else.
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Expert Comment

by:Steve
ID: 39600096
They have a Windows Server 2003 running as a NAS server
could you please clarify the server's role(s), as details later in your question suggest the server may not just be a NAS.

There is nothing in any of the logs. As the server has hung nothing is written to the logs.
When it happens and we try to log in, we get the grey 2003 server background and nothing else.
Very useful info. mouse movement suggests CPU & mobo are still working.
complete lack of events suggests disk activity was NIL.

I'd lean towards storage at the moment. don't rule out other issues, but disks/controller are probably your starting point.

get good backups of this thing ASAP, and get plans in place for a replacement server so you have an option ready if this server dies.

check events prior to the hang to look for clues. things rarely go this bad without some kind or warning...
look for a pattern in the time/frequency of the hangs.

Is it under warranty? can you contact the manufacturer for diagnostic tools etc?
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Author Comment

by:Mark Galvin
ID: 39600225
Hi

Its running Windows Storage Server 2003 and they use it as a NAS. They use DFS and publish all the shares via AD.

Server went out of warranty 6 months ago and client didn't bother to renew.

I'm working on getting the server backed up this weekend to an external 4TB drive using Robocopy so that files & security are intact.

I defragged the system drive over night last night. That went fine (it was in a mess before hand). The plan is to turn on AV on Monday. Then jungle disk on Friday and see if either of them cause this hang.

I think next step will be, backup to external again, wipe all disks, make sure all PERC firmware is up to date, BIOS updated then reinstall Server 2008 and create a new Virtual disk that will contain 5 of the 6 1TB drives, in a RAID5 and move all the files back over from the external.
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Expert Comment

by:Steve
ID: 39608468
I'm working on getting the server backed up this weekend to an external 4TB drive using Robocopy so that files & security are intact.

Take care as that isn't a proper backup and wouldn't take a copy of any configuration or settings for the rest of the server roles.
Although you haven't listed any more critical roles in your reply, the line below makes me think your server may also be a DC/DNS server, which wont be backed up by using robocopy.
When the server hangs no users can log into their computers or even to the clients Citrix XenApp farm.

If you feel a wipe is the way you want to go please ensure you have a proper backup of your system before taking any action.

FYI, never defrag a system when you have concerns about the disks integrity unless you have no choice.
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Author Comment

by:Mark Galvin
ID: 39608918
The server in question is running as storage and nothing else. No DC roles or DNS. Using Robocopy to copy the files and permissions which is all we need.

Will bare all suggestions in mind.

We have a feeling that the AV scans were causing this. We have stopped them run for a few days and no crash. We will start the scans again on Thursday and see if crash occurs on Friday to confirm.

Thanks
Mark
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Expert Comment

by:Steve
ID: 39613742
Okey dokey. If its just flat files you can robocopy the files and you'll be OK.

With regard to the AV scans, it may be worth checking the exclusions, as servers can go mental when AV tries to scan some system files.
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Mark Galvin earned 0 total points
ID: 39651774
No answer the the system has locked me out of asking more questions so requesting this is closed.

Thanks
Mark
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Author Closing Comment

by:Mark Galvin
ID: 39662041
No answer the the system has locked me out of asking more questions so requesting this is closed.

Thanks
Mark
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