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Unexplained Server Crashes

By Themole01 ·
We are currently having a problem with our "PDC / file / print server".
It has crashed on three separate occasions.
The first two happened late at night while the backup was running. (Thought we had it narrowed down to ArcServe.)

Then it happened at 6:30 p.m. while a few accounting people were using Excel and trying to print. (Nothing else was running.)

Notes:
1. (Disk space: - C 348 MB \ 4.11 GB - Free Space)
2. When it crashes, the system is at the log in screen" (CTL-ALT-DEL) to log in" and the system just hangs, can't do anything, keyboard, mouse freeze. Must hit power button and reboot. Also freezes out anyone trying to access any files or print.
3. UPS logs show power to be fine at crash time.
4. A search of the event logs shows nothing abnormal or even a clue to the problem.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Unexplained Server Crashes

by McKayTech In reply to Unexplained Server Crashe ...

If the server is configured to write a dump of the memory at the time of the crash, you'll find a file about the same size as your RAM called [usually] memory.dmp or [sometimes] user.dmp. By default, I believe it goes in the c:\winnt directory.

Microsoft provides a tool in the NT Server Resouce Kit called dumpexam.exe that can be used to analyze this file. By looking at the addresses of the processes running at the time, you'll probably be able to infer which one is causing the crash.

Also, I assume that your server is set to automatically re-boot on crashes. Until you figure this out, you may want to change that so the BSOD hangs around long enough for you to see. You can then search against the MS Knowledge base using the errorinformation and see what you come up with.

Also, consider any recent changes to drivers or hardware to be prime suspects until proven otherwise.

Best wishes,

paul

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Unexplained Server Crashes

by Themole01 In reply to Unexplained Server Crashe ...
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Unexplained Server Crashes

by morgan_donohue In reply to Unexplained Server Crashe ...

I have had similar problems in the past, and the mention of Arcserve makes me suspicious. You didn't mention whether the system uses SCSI devices, which may give me a better idea. In my case the problem was that Arcserve was dropping the Tape library device, which in turn led to the system lockup. The fix was to remove and re-install Arcserve and apply all of the patches that were at the Cheyenne site. Also make sure that you create a seperate Arcserve service account and that it has the advanced user right of "act as part of the operating system".

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Unexplained Server Crashes

by Themole01 In reply to Unexplained Server Crashe ...
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Unexplained Server Crashes

by simon.wellborne In reply to Unexplained Server Crashe ...

From previous experience, I have found that if a server simply "locks up" on you, then chances are that it is a hardware issue.

Typically, NT will blue screen if something is wrong in terms of drivers/applications etc.

The key to locating the fault, might be in the way it locks up. If it has locked up twice in Arcserve, the issue could be with either the Tape drive or hard disk and/or the bus those devices are attached to (SCSI, IDE).

Because it has also hung whilst at the logon scrn,it may have been doing some disk activity when it locked up - hence pointing to disk - bus issues again.

Of course, it could be CPU or motherboard fault, overheating etc.

Incorrect drivers for low level devices such as SCSI "could" cause this lock up, but they would normally error by way of BSD.

I appreciate that this is not what you wanted to hear, but If it was me, I'd be looking to hardware.

Hope this helps.

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Unexplained Server Crashes

by Themole01 In reply to Unexplained Server Crashe ...
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Unexplained Server Crashes

by -Q-240248 In reply to Unexplained Server Crashe ...

Your C drive is awefully low and this may be a problem. Since you mentioned printing, I would guess that your PDC is also serving as a print server. Move the print server queues/services to the D drive by going into the "Printer" menu and file/properties...

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Unexplained Server Crashes

by Themole01 In reply to Unexplained Server Crashe ...
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