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[Win7/Win2000] Workstations loosing connectivity to the FileServer

Posted on 2016-11-05
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Last Modified: 2016-11-07
I have a small peer-to-peer network, consisting of four computers:
(1) PC1: Win7 Ultimate (SVP1) --- this is the file server
(2) PC2:  Win7 Professional (SVP1)         ... Herein called PC2A    
     PC2:   VMBox/XP (vs2002, SVP3)    ... Herein called PC2B
(3) PC3:  Win2000 Professional (SVP4)
(4) PC4:  Win2000 Professional (SVP4)  

There are three network switches:
PC1 and PC2 connect to Switch1 (SW1), which connects to a router, which in turn connects to a cable modem, which connects to the ISP.
PC3 connects to SW2.
PC4 connects to SW3.
SW2 and SW3 connect to SW1.

Occassionally (perhaps once a week) one or some of the workstations loose connectivity to PC1 (file server).

There are several scenarios. Here is a common one:

PC2B tries to connect to PC1.
I get a message that "the drive or network connection that the shortcut  XXXX.lnk refers is not available".

In this scenario the following behavior has been observed….
PC2B, goto "View Workgroup Connections".....    All the computers are listed.
                    Can connect to all of them, except PC1 ("Network path not found").
PC1, goto "Network".....    Only PC1 and PC2A are listed.
                    Can connect to all those that are listed.
PC2A, goto "Network".....    All the computers are listed.
                    Can connect to all of them.
PC3, goto "Computers Near Me".....  All the computers are listed, including PC2B.
                    Can connect to all of them, except PC1 ("Network path not found").
PC4, goto "Computers Near Me".....  All the computers are listed, including PC2B.
                    Can connect to all of them, except PC1 ("Network path not found").
All computers can connect to the Internet.

If I restart all the switches and router, the problem still remains.
I find that the only solution is -- to reboot PC1.

QUESTIONS:
(1) Why does this happen?
(2) When it does happen, is there a way to restore connectivity without having to reboot PC1?

 
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Gary
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Question by:CE101
  • 4
6 Comments
 
LVL 7

Accepted Solution

by:
Gauthier earned 500 total points
ID: 41875815
PC1 and PC2A being Windows 7 have IPV6 configured, possibly your router has it too.
Hence, when ipv4 fail on PC1 (DHCP renewal failure/firewall or AV issue), you may still connect PC1 to PC2, the other however can't reach PC1. Thus IP v4 failure on PC1 explain all connectivity behavior.
The cause of course can be many thing, it is however unlikely to be hardware.
Regarding, "Network/Computer Near Me/Workgroup Connection" it all relies on the antiquated  Windows for Workgroup 3.1 Master Browser, it is slow to sync (up to 30 minutes), unreliable, prone to partitions. You can't depend on it to diagnose anything.
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LVL 7

Assisted Solution

by:Gauthier
Gauthier earned 500 total points
ID: 41875820
compare the response of "ipconfig /all" on PC1 when all is fine and it fails to see if DHCP is to blame.
Also when it fails, use the command "ping -4 router-ip" on PC1 and "ping pc1" on PC2.
Check that pc1 ip as known by PC2 match the current PC1 ip.
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LVL 7

Assisted Solution

by:Gauthier
Gauthier earned 500 total points
ID: 41876067
The only "Hardware" Change you may try which could be responsible for those results are:
1 Update the Network Interface Controller (NIC) driver on PC1
2 Disable all TCP offload options in the PC1 NIC driver.
Right click on the network adapter, button properties, button configure, tab advanced, there are a bunch of properties the list depends on the adapter driver:
look for:
- (TCP/UDP) Checksum Offload
- Large Send Offload
- ARP Offload

The most likely culprit is however the antivirus / firewall.
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LVL 7

Assisted Solution

by:Gauthier
Gauthier earned 500 total points
ID: 41876084
To restore connectivity without rebooting, you may try to disable and enable back the PC1 NIC
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LVL 20

Expert Comment

by:masnrock
ID: 41877402
Are any of the NICs set to be powered off automatically?
0
 

Author Closing Comment

by:CE101
ID: 41877446
Hi Gauthier:

Thank you for all the ideas.
Although its premature to say the problem is resolved, you have given me some things to try next time the problem occurs. So I will close the case and award the points for your help.
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