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not able to connect to server

By Sue T ·
We are running server NT4 sp6 and we have a program that runs from the server. The problem is that at different times/days/weeks some of the workstations cannot connect to the server for this program. If you do a find for the server it does not find it but you can ping it from the command prompt and get a response. This does not always affect all users and does not seem to follow any pattern as far as time. If we reboot the server the problem usually goes away and everyone can connect again until the next time it happens. If the computer is already connected and has the program open they are able to stay connected but the computers around them can not connect during this time if they are not already connected to the program. The workstations can still access other servers, printers and internet. The workstations are running Windows XP and Windows 98se. This is happening on two different servers in different buildings. We have 6 servers running this program and only 2 of the servers have this problem. I can not find anything different between the servers or program. All of The servers are even identical down to the hardware. The program is installed independently on all servers so they do not connect to each other to run this program. I ran netstat and everything looks ok and I don't see anything in the event logs. Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated before I go totally gray over this.

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by Toivo Talikka In reply to not able to connect to se ...

Is this an off-the-shelf package or a program developed inhouse?

Does this program have any licensing restrictions, depending on the number of connections?

Does the program use any sort of database locking? Have you checked its memory usage and CPU usage? Are other applications affected when the problem occurs?

Is the program dependent on any services running on the server or other servers?

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by Sue T In reply to

Poster rated this answer. Please see my comment. It isn't eating up memory or CPU. The computers that were connected when the problem happens are still able to use the application but they can no longer access any other shares on the server and the affected PCs can not access any share on the server. Thank you for responding.

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by Sue T In reply to not able to connect to se ...

The software is Follett which runs Faircom Server. It is Library software. It has been running on 6 servers for over 5 years without a problem. Also, when this problem happens the workstations can not connect to any shares on the server not just the program and 4 of the servers do not have the problem so I have pretty much ruled out the software.

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by Toivo Talikka In reply to not able to connect to se ...

The problem may be triggered by some network anomaly like occasional transmission errors caused by electrical interference from inhouse power cabling, e.g. caused by faulty airconditioners.

Does Faircom server have a maintenance tool available on Windows NT you could use to check which users are connected to Faircom, rather than just using the NT Server Manager to check which users have files open in the Follett or Faircom data directories?

Looking at a software release document from http://www.faircom.com/support/ctreeDocs/pdf/prevdoc/UPD611w.pdf, Faircom seems to have had a problem in the past with dropped connections - see "2.4 Faircom Server Detects Dropped Clients".

Are you using the latest version of the Faircom server for NT? The provider of your Library application may have some knowledge of possible problems encountered by their other clients in the Windows NT environment.

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by Sue T In reply to

Poster rated this answer. We don't have a problem with dropped clinets, once they are connected they stay connected. When we have this problem if the client closes the program on the workstation they can not reconnect and there is no way to tell when it might happen as it has gone as long as 3 weeks without happening and then other times it may happen several times a day. Also, during this time the workstations can not connect to the server for anything not just the program. Since they can still connect to other servers on the network and to the internet during this time. My belief is that if it was the program they would still be able to connect to shared folders that have nothing to do with the program but they can't. The workstations and the server can ping each other and get a response but if you do a search for the server it can not be found. If you are connected to the program when this happens you will stay connected and be able to use it but you will not be able to access anything that you are not already connected to.

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by Mehul Bhai In reply to not able to connect to se ...

Hi
Please give error details in the Event Viewer in the concerned servers when the problem occurs. Then only the problem can be diagnozed.
I think the problem is the incompatibility of Windows NT 4 Server with Windows 2000/XP Profesional Clients in one network after Microsoft stopped giving patches for Windows NT.
See the following URLs for more info:
http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-11189-0.html?forumID=3&threadID=169229&start=0
http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-11186-0.html?forumID=34&threadID=169273&start=0
I Think you should upgrade your server to Windows 2000/2003
Thanks

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by Sue T In reply to

Poster rated this answer.

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by Mehul Bhai In reply to not able to connect to se ...

Hi
Please give error details in the Event Viewer in the concerned servers when the problem occurs. Then only the problem can be diagnozed.
I think the problem is the incompatibility of Windows NT 4 Server with Windows 2000/XP Profesional Clients in one network after Microsoft stopped giving patches for Windows NT.
See the following URLs for more info:
http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-11189-0.html?forumID=3&threadID=169229&start=0
http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-11186-0.html?forumID=34&threadID=169273&start=0
I Think you should upgrade your server to Windows 2000/2003
Thanks

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by Sue T In reply to

Poster rated this answer. The workstations for one of the servers having this problem are running Windows 98se and have been for several years without any problems. There are no errors in the event viewer on either of the servers.

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to not able to connect to se ...

It sounds as if you are suffering a memory leakage from the affected servers. If these are constantly running they a set shuts down and reboot would be a good idea as now MS is no longer supplying any patches for NT you have no need to regularly shut them down and reboot so any memory leakage will be exacerbated.
If you use the system tools you can schedule a shutdown & reboot while no one is in the office and hopefully this will cure your problem.

From your description it appears as if some units are unable to connect to the affected servers at all when this happens is this right?

NT will work quite happily with both Y2k and XP although both have to be running in Mixed Mode and not native Mode and if the application hasn't been rewritten for newer versions of Windows you'll be like me stuck with NT for a very long time to come so you'll need to have a regular shutdown & reboot sequence running to prevent the problems that come with NT if it is left constantly running.

If the application has been rewritten for the newer versions of Windows it about time you start thinking about Budgeting for an upgrade of both Hardware & Software in the near future but then again that also all depends on your current tax cycle and where you are in it.

I have a specialised application that only runs on NT4 and nothing newer and because it is a small client base world wide it isn't going to be rewritten for newer versions of Windows so currently the companies why use it are stuck with NT but I've found porting it to Linux works better and doesn't come with the NT problems. It might be worthwhile as a project to test a Linux installation along side the NT installations and see which works better for your needs.

Col

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