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XP SP3 Randomly Freezes When Accessing Network Shares or Outlook

Posted on 2014-03-17
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I have a peculiar issue. I work for a governmental agency that is still using XP. An end user contacted me about system hangs. After running diagnostics on the system (Dell) there appeared to be a problem with the hard drive. So, instead of replacing just the drive, I found a newer system and re-imaged it. I stress tested it with Heavy Load and it passed with flying colors.

I then brought it back out to the floor and reconnected all cabling and placed it on the network. I had the user login and all was fine until afternoon. The new machine started hanging! I then observed what the end-user was doing and found that the problem was somewhat intermittent but fairly predictable. Whenever she opens up a mapped drive and accesses certain folders and files, the system hangs. It completely locks up with absolutely no activity whatsoever.

The odds of it being the system are slim, so I concentrated on her roaming profile. I renamed the one on the system to .old and configured the registry to clean up roaming profiles after log off. She pulled down her roaming profile but this did not work either.

She can logon to any other machine and apparently work fine with no issue. I am beginning to think it maybe the port her system is patched to. I also noticed a startup script that was failing on DNS issues. I can't remember exactly what it said, but it pertained to port 53. I blew that off because she can still access the shares and the Internet. But I can't say that I have ever examined the script or what its purpose is.  

Any Suggestions are appreciated.
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Question by:vincon
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by:Scott Thompson
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Was she having this issues before the hard drive failed?  When you said you re-imaged it, did you transfer any data from the failing hard drive?

What is the model of the computer?  It may be an issue with the network drivers.  A BIOS update or different network driver may solve the issue.
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by:vincon
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Yes. This is the second system that this problem is occuring on.
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by:Techmanbrad
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Does the system hang when a specific folder or file is opened on the mapped drive?  Or does this occur with all mapped folders and files?

If this problem only occurs with a specific folder or file then I would focus on that shared folder or file as the source of the problem.  For example, I've seen Excel documents behave this way before when being opened from mapped folders, especially if some of the data points to other mapped folders or network resources.
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by:vincon
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There is a certain file that will cause the system to hang about 60% of the time and it is an Excel file. But it will also occasionally hang when opening up outlook.
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by:Techmanbrad
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Does Outlook connect to any .PST files stored on this mapped drive?  

If the hanging problem is only occurring with Microsoft Office applications then something else you may want to attempt is a "repair install" of Microsoft Office or an uninstall and reinstall of Microsoft Office.
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by:web_tracker
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what happens when someone else accesses the file on the network drive. We have to think outside the box on this one...
If someone else is having problems when they access this network drive or the file on this network drive it could be the network drive or the file itself.

How about moving the file to another network drive, can the user access the file from this new location?
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by:vincon
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Apparently no one else has this issue. When she uses another system, there doesn't seem to be any problems. That's why I was leaning toward some type of port/switch issue. Another option I have is to upgrade her from Office 03 to 07.

I replaced her original system due to this issue. I doubt its two systems in a row. I do think its the share, file, or port at this point.
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Scott Thomson earned 100 total points
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1. Try moving these files to see if its a particular issue with the file
2. blow the users profile away on another machine and have her get a fresh copy on that machine. Does the issue then occure? if so it may be the network copy of her roaming profile. Windows XP tends to cache the profile and therefore if there is an error with the network profile you only find it when its a new machine/ the old profile is blown away
3.Delete the network copy of her profile and redownload it.
4. Does the issue occur if you log onto the same machine and look at these shares.?
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by:Scott Thomson
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Hi Vincom and thanks for accepting my solution.
Were you able to find out the root cause of this issue? I would love to know the final solution :)

Thanks
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by:web_tracker
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Although I appreciate you awarding me points, but I have to agree with Scott I would love to know what actually solved the issue.  Feedback would be appreciated.
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