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windows 2000 server goes into a coma

By mike ·
I have experienced many things in my IT experience but never anything like this. I have a client with a win2k server. It is a dell box sc600. It is a standard server - nothing out of the ordinary. The problem is like a temporary freeze. The sysem just hangs. It doesn't crash. It just stops - dead. 5 to 15 seconds later - it resumes. No logs. Nothing works when the systems goes into this coma type state. It is triggered by an event - any event - random. The same event does not always do it. I have run every diagnostic tool dell offers. I have searched every tech site imaginable for similar situation but nada. It just began a few months ago. Nothing new has been added except server2k patches and updates and norton corp AV updates. In addition to the wired network, I have a terminal server connection for 5 wireless tablets and I noticed it when the users began complaining about a lag - like resource overusage and you get a memory lag while the system catches up but it wound up being due to the server just freezing in its track. I have noticed the cpu utilization often max out 100% even for the slightest event including dragging a window and there is 2 gig of ram on this baby. Anything at this point helps

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by BFilmFan In reply to windows 2000 server goes ...

Okay, we have a server hitting 100% memory utilization and it locks up.

Is this server a domain controller?

If a domain controller, is it also a GC?

If a domain controller, is this server an operations master?

Is this server a file and print server?

Is Windows NT and/or Windows 98/95/Samba/Linux/Unix also making connections to this server?

Is this Windows 2000 Advanced, Standard or Small Business Server?

Any other applications running on this server?

Exactly what Service Pack is on the server?

What hotfixes (for other than security) have been applied?

How large is the swap file and what level of RAID is the hard disk array using?

Is the Norton's Anti-Virus excluding any files on the server from being scanned?

Generally, when a server peaks at 100% CPU utilization it is because something is consuming a large amount of memory resources, usually LSASS. And most servers these days are rolling out with 4 GIG plus, because of all the LSASS memory leaks, which have never been corrected since the Windows 3.51 days.

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by In reply to windows 2000 server goes ...


I have seen this exact behavior before, but this is still a guess. It could be CPU overheating. That's what it was in my case.

When the CPU runs at 100% it heats up. This is fine if there is a good cooling system. But, if the CPU temperature goes above "the limit", circuitry in the motherboard can temporarily stop the CPU until it cools down. When the temperature drops below the limit, the CPU resumes running. The objective of this is to avoid burning up the CPU. Many modern motherboards have this feature.

What to Do
1. To prove this is it: Open the chassis. Point a portable fan at the open chassis (not too close, avoid electro magnetic interference) and turn the fan to its fastest speed. This will ensure there are no pockets of hot air inside the chassis and will likely reduce the temperature of the CPU. Does the problem get better or go away? If so, this indicates that heat is the problem.

2. Check if Dell has a CPU temperature monitor application. Sometimes you can see the CPU temp from within Windows. Perhaps you can correlate the observed temp and the temporary freezes.

3. If possible, remove the heat sink, clean surfaces, apply new thermal paste, replace.

4. Enhance cooling: Replace the CPU fan. Replace chassis fan(s). Add chassis fan(s). Lower the ambient temperature in the room and/or near the server.

Let me know if this was it. Good luck!

-----Steve Jackson

Software Corporation (Softcorp)
Advanced pro bono tools and utilities free for personal use

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by jibbrown In reply to windows 2000 server goes ...

How many CPU's does the beast have?
If it has more than one try removing all but one of them to see if the problem goes away. Don't forget to swap the last one if problem persists. I had a HP server that was locking up on me and it turned out to be a bad CPU.

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by john.waugh In reply to windows 2000 server goes ...

first thing
press ctrl alt del go into task manager
and see what program is taking up the most cpu time
in my experience i have had this caused mainly by hanging Anti Virus programs.
Try stopping services and see if it it still occurs

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