Windows 7 File Sharing Windows XP Issues

Hi everybody,

At wits end on this issue.

Customer has a small network of 6 computers. 2x windows 7, 4x windows XP, 1x virtualized Windows NT4.0 Server.

One of the windows 7 machines is configured to act as a file server for the rest of the network,

It has 4 different shares containing around 2.5TB of files. It also has VMware workstation installed and hosts a virtual server running legacy application on Windows Server NT 4.0. There is no domain however, all computers in a workgroup and access the legacy application hosted on the NT server virtual.

All shares are mapped as network drives on the other computers.

Consistently having issues making the windows XP machines stay connected to the Windows 7 file server with their mapped drives. Its making me batty.

First, it was something which was happening over night only, works all day, but left over night and in the morning all the windows XP machines would report "Local device name already in use" error message. Meanwhile, the Windows 7 machines still access the shares no problem.

Restarting the XP machines wouldnt fix the issue either. They would still report local device name already in use after a restart. Only rebooting the Windows 7 machine hosting the shares would resolve the issue, and that meant that the VM would have to get shut on and off all the time which we don't like at all, the application database it hosts is old and seems fragile.

My first step was to look at how the sharing had been implemented. I turned off password protected sharing when first setup, so all computers were just connecting to the shares without a username and password. I though this might be a problem so I enabled password protected sharing and created an unique login account for each network device on the server.

So each windows XP machine now maps the network drives with its own unique username and password such as "desktop1" "desktop2" ETC. This seemed to calm things down, the XP machines stayed connected for around 2 or 3 weeks without dropping off until all of a sudden it started happening a lot, not just during the night, but throughout the day. One of the XP machines reported a unique error that the others had not. It was saying the cause of the issue was resource shortage, rather then the name in use error the others had. I discovered some log entries in the event log on the Windows 7 host regarding IRP Stack size. We use Acronis True Image, and I have stumbled accross issues in the past were this applications presence has messed with the IRPStack and caused these sort of problems.

Eureka, I figured that possible the issue was allways regarding the IRP stack, and that even the windows XP machines reporting device name in use were doing so as a result of this IRP stack size issue on server side, because device name in use is normally resolved by restarting the XP machine in my experience, though in this situation only restarting the server resolves it.

I increased the IRP stack to 25 on the Windows 7 host machine rebooted and the resource error was gone and this calmed down again for a few days until now, when the overnight drop outs started up again. Driving me nuts, before we implemented the Windows 7 machine to host all the shares we had a kick about cheap Thecus NAS that was slow as buggery but it worked fine, all these windows XP machines had no issues with mapping drives on the Thecus nas. I suggested we chuck it all on Windows 7 Computer as it was gigabit and would perform alot faster, they said great and now we have these annoying problems.

Any help in the right direction? Further increasing IRP stack size?? Event logs are clean for the IRP issue now mind you. There is however, a continuous error in the log every few seconds in relation to the lanmanserver. Only seems to have surfaced since increasing the IRPStackSize

Event ID:      2017
Task Category: None
Level:         Error

The server was unable to allocate from the system nonpaged pool because the server reached the configured limit for nonpaged pool allocations.

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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Make sure that your folder mappings are either (a) not persistent or (b) you delete the mappings at XP log off to make sure it uses the same drive / letter at next log on.

I always use password protected sharing so I leave that on.

Look through my article on Folder Sharing and work through the various pieces of it. XP is dead so I did not refer to it. Make sure XP Simple File sharing is turned off.
PaulAuthor Commented:
Hi John

Thanks for your post. Just to confirm, all the machines are configured to use the same drive letters as each other for the respective shares

So that

"Artwork" is always X:
"Backup" is always B:


They are also all programmed to map with their specific credentials on the remote machine (I.E. remote-machine-name\remote-username)

The drives are set to remap on reboot each time, but these machines are not being turned off. They are on all the time. Working fine all day, left on all night, then in the AM no dice!
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Still check Persistence, because a loss of drive map and remap can cause additional drive maps in the drive cache (Set to "reconnect" in Map Network Drive).

I need to look around to see why mappings should go away over night. I leave my Windows 7 machine on 24x7 and whenever I wish to map a drive, I can. Any time. But I do not leave my laptop on overnight.

Is your switch set to disconnect connections overnight?  I don't think I have seen that but you might check.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
The drives are set to remap on reboot each time,

Are these machines rebooting nightly?

Map drives with a script:

NET USE Z: \\server\share   at log on.

NET USE Z: /Delete at every log off, reboot.
Natty GregIn Theory (IT)Commented:
try reinstalling the driver on the Ethernet card, sometimes that solves problems
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
Don't forget the 20 connection limit.. with 6 computers and multiple shares you are going to have problems.. simple solution buy a cheap NAS or make one using freeNAS
PaulAuthor Commented:
David very good point.

I would have thought that each computer comprised a single connection, not one connection per network share. Does each network drive constitute a seperate connection?

Also with that 20 connection limit in mind it does seem strange for it to be an after hours type of issue when nobody is using it. Just had another dropout now.

I'm currently removing AV, increasing IRP stack size again, and trying a second NIC to see if that helps
PaulAuthor Commented:
Also, seems this error message in the event log for lanmanserver service is related..

Event ID:      2017
Task Category: None
Level:         Error

The server was unable to allocate from the system nonpaged pool because the server reached the configured limit for nonpaged pool allocations.

PaulAuthor Commented:
Ok gents,

Computers are always on, as detailed in OP, so its not a case of unmap remap issues.

Reduced share numbers to 1, so only 1 map per machine to account, but problem persisted.

Seems I MAY have found a resolution. Lets wait and see what happens.

To summarise what was tried in order:

1) Increase IRP stack size

2) Reduced number of shares to accomodate for 20 connection limit, just a single share now but problem persisted.

3) Seems to me that the fact it magoritively occurs over night point to the possibility that its related to inactivity. Network cards entering powersave, windows timing out network connection ETC. Adjusted time out for dropping idle connections on client side with no luck (see here)

4) Seems the answer was actually related to the allocation of memory resources to the lanman server as per the event log error above see here

Ill let you know how we go in a few days

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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
4) Seems the answer was actually related to the allocation of memory resources to the Lanman server

Could be. I looked at the article and I do not recall seeing this in my experience.
PaulAuthor Commented:
Hi John,

I did read through your article on sharing settings and the evolution of shared between windows XP to Vista/7/8/10, however I think because the examples in your articles make reference to smaller environments, where less resources are required by the computer hosting the share, that there is not enough demand on your host computer to create the issue we are experiencing. Seems that its the 3 or more client side machine threshold where this resource issue becomes a problem.

Seems odd that you can come from a windows xp machine with 1GB ram hosting the same amount of files and not having these resource issues. Or a tiny little nas with a 300mhz processor and 512mb ram. To a brand new windows 7 64 bit machine with 8GB of ram and large paging files and have resource issues. I think its perhaps loosely related to the additional framework surrounding the higher levels of encryption windows homegroup gadgetry that creates the issue.

The lanmanserver seems to have its own limits on how much nonpaged memory its entitled to consume, which explains how there can be a resource shortage at the network share level whilst there is so much memory available to the operating system left unused.

Time will tell on this fix. To be honest, I have made so many registry changes to no effect that its going to be very hard to know whether it was all of them required, or only the 1. I am tempted to fresh format and start again from the top down, but I suspect the client isn't in the mood for any guinea pig style arrangements given the persistent inconvenience posed by this issue.

Thanks for your input. Sincerely, Paul
PaulAuthor Commented:
Thanks for every bodies input. Unfortunately none of the answers provided dealt with the problem at hand. Independent research led to the solution I found and subsequently shared
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