Workstation having trouble pinging certain devices by name

Posted on 2014-08-06
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2014-08-07
I have one user's workstation that from time to time has trouble connecting via Remote Desktop to some (not all) of our Windows Server by name.  I tested connectivity using ping.  From his workstation, I could ping these servers by IP address.  I could not ping the servers by their DNS server name.  Out of the 5 servers I tested, the workstation only had trouble pinging 2 of them by name, so it is not like DNS was completely dysfunctional.  He is pointing to our Active Directory Domain Controller as his primary DNS and then has a secondary DNS to our Internet providers DNS server in case our DC ever goes down.  This same config is in place on all of our workstations as far as I know.  Both times that this has happened (several weeks apart), I can run an ipconfig /flushdns and everything is back to normal.  The workstation is Windows 7 Pro 64-bit.  Any ideas?
Question by:sswlewnix
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Assisted Solution

n2fc earned 400 total points
ID: 40244958
Probably a latency issue... DC is not responding fast enough & the name is not resolving at the ISP.

I would try troubleshooting the slow response from  the DC (bad cable, or switch port) as the probable culprit!
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 40244975
>>"has a secondary DNS to our Internet providers DNS server in case our DC ever goes down"
Most common error in configuring DNS.
ONLY point to your internal DNS server/s.  Yes when they are not available internet access fails.
Having the ISP, or a router, as the alternate results in slow logons and failed name resolution issues.

Author Comment

ID: 40246261
Both of these are helpful.  I do have some additional information that your responses reminded me of -

1 - The only workstation that I know of that this is happening on is behind a local 4 port mini-switch/hub in the users office that is also providing network access for a printer and a Verizon Wireless Network Extender.  So, this could create the latency issue described by n2fc.  Long term I am going to look into getting extra cat 5 pulls to this office to eliminate the mini-switch.

2 - We have the ISP DNS as secondary on most (if not all of our workstations), and we don't seem to be having issues except on this one.  I see the point that we need to move away from this, so we will also work toward that.

As a short term fix, I while searching on Google, I saw some references to disabling negative DNS caching on the workstation.  Have you all had any experience with that and would you recommend it as a band aid until the cabling is done?

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Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 40246322
Regarding the secondary DNS, try removing the secondary then run  ipconfig /flushdns   see if there is an improvement.
There are literally thousands of questions on Experts exchange where slow logons and failed internal DNS requests were resolved by doing so.
The problem is often the secondary is contacted rather than the primary, despite what should happen.  When this happens of course your ISP cannot resolve the name of the PC or server and you get a failure or delay until the primary is tried.

As mentioned #1 DNS mistake:
"10 DNS errors that will kill your network"
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 40246347
Sorry I missed the other parts of the problem.

Disabling negative DNS  addresses the symptoms not the problem.  Why are the DNS requests failing.

Latency issues:  Easy enough to try another switch, but I spent 4 years as a network infrastructure troubleshooter and cabling is the number one cause.  Unlike a phone connection that works or doesn't, a working network connection that was poorly terminated, or a cable that was stretched, kinked, or in close proximity to EMI can reduce performance by 90%.  Do you only have DNS issues or is network performance poor in general?

Again the secondary DNS is not a suggestion but factually a wrong configuration in a domain environment.

Author Comment

ID: 40246380
We have no noticeable problems with network performance.  The only thing I have noticed is this one workstation's inability to connect by name to a couple of our terminal servers and only a couple of times in the past 3 months.  Most of our users connect to these same terminal servers daily and never report issues to us.  The DC does not have any references to external ISP DNS servers (I am using root hints for Internet DNS resolution).   On the workstation that has the issue,  an ipconfig /flushdns resolves the problem immediately every time.  I agree that disabling negative DNS caching doesn't fix the problem.  So, I am not going to do that yet.  I am mainly looking for ideas of problems that would just involve a single PC having issues rather than an overall network issue.  Although they may end up being one and the same.
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Accepted Solution

Rob Williams earned 1600 total points
ID: 40246438
Why a single PC I have no idea but if ipconfig /flushdns  solves the problem it is definitely due to failed DNS.

Why are you not willing to try removing secondary for a while?

>>"The DC does not have any references to external ISP DNS servers (I am using root hints for Internet DNS resolution)"
That is fine.  Some people like forwarders, some root hints, I personally believe both work well.

Author Comment

ID: 40246448
I will remove the secondary DNS on this one PC and see what happens.  Since it is kind of intermittent, it might take a while to see if it makes a difference.  

Thanks for the help!
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 40246525
It would be interesting to see if you find an improvement.
Thanks sswlewnix.

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