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I keeping getting the error message from above on multiple computers that I administer. I wasn't sure if I should be posting this on SuperUser or ServerFault so my apologizes if it should go there...

Basically, I have at least 5 computers of varying ages (some fresh out of the box!) throwing the above error. X:\ is one of our network drives that is mapped for users. Most of the time if you shut down the biggest application it will fix the problem, but it's becoming an increasing issue, and I can't keep running around fixing it manually.

I have tried to do some research, but most of it just states the obvious without supplying a permanent fix.

The machines are all running Win XP SP3, with at least 2gb of ram.

Sorry for the delay in getting back to people... a lot of good questions.

To respond back to people...

  1. It is a windows 2003 server that houses the file share.
  2. We have about 175 users, however i cannot state how many are actually accessing the information at a single moment. Considering that this is our largest file share, I would say that probably at least 100+.
  3. The files we work with are large, but not that big considering that we do a lot of graphical and video work. ~50mb. That being said, this is error occurs simply when trying to gain access to the server itself, not actual files.
  4. When I say close a program, I mean that it can be any program. It doesn't matter which program. It varies from machine to machine, and from day to day. Some days it is Firefox, some days it is Outlook, some days it is Excel. There doesn't seem to be a common bond behind which application could be causing the problem.

Thank you for the articles, and the recommendation on paging files. I will have to look into that. None of our computers are set to hibernate, so I am going to rule that out.

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migrated from superuser.com Feb 10 '10 at 18:43

This question came from our site for computer enthusiasts and power users.

    
Well from the Server Fault FAQ - serverfault.com/faq - "Server Fault is for system administrators ... If you are in charge of ... many desktop PCs (other than your own)" so it could go there. However, I'd leave it here for now and if enough people agree it will get migrated automatically. Just create a Server Fault account and associate with this one to keep ownership of the question. –  ChrisF Feb 4 '10 at 21:09
    
How many network drives do you have mapped? –  ChrisF Feb 4 '10 at 21:10
    
Our users get 3 mapped automatically upon login. (And, yes I am in charge of many users other than myself.) –  Katherine Feb 4 '10 at 21:21
1  
What's common between the computers that are throwing the error and different about the one's that aren't? –  ChrisF Feb 4 '10 at 21:31

4 Answers 4

Here's a little tip for the first time poster: More detail is good. It makes it easier for us to respond to your specific question. What is going on largely depends on what software you are running. I did some digging and the error you are getting is normally an issue that is related to very large (multi-GB) files around. If that's what you are doing, then you might need to look at non-microsoft NAS solutions for data storage. Everything I have read states that this is a known issue without an easy workaround.

Before you go running out to get a bunch of expensive hardware, you should first answer a few questions:

  1. What is hosting the network drive? If it's a Windows XP home or Pro machine, then you'll need to move the share to a Windows server installation.

  2. How many computers can you connect before this issue happens? Is it a consistent number? If the number changes, then it could be a software/hardware issue. If it is the same every time, then there is a configuration limit somewhere. You might have to rethink your storage setup.

  3. You mention that if you close a program, then the system works. What program are you closing and on what machine? that app may not be optimized to work over a network connection and will require that you do local caching of files.

If you can update your question with more detains, we might be able to come up with a solution.

[EDIT]

http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/whssoftware/thread/f69097e4-0784-444f-9676-95f0e19ac03a/

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/304101

http://www.howtofixcomputers.com/forums/windows-xp/insufficient-system-resources-exist-complete-requested-serv-254559.html

[EDIT]

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1  
you're suggesting the error is caused by large files on the network share? so, it's not really a problem on the client, it's a problem on the server? (then why is the error showing up on the client? i know, i know, MS error messages aren't the most helpful. still, there's a reason.) can you provide links to this "everything you have read"? –  quack quixote Feb 5 '10 at 3:41
    
I added some links to what I have been seeing. In all instances, they were working with large files. I'm saying that you have the same problem, but that Microsoft is known to have trouble handling really large files. If you are working with large files when you get this error, then you might be having the same problems. If you can give us some more detail about what your systems are doing, we might be able to narrow this down. –  Doltknuckle Feb 5 '10 at 18:18
    
I should point out that windows always sends the error to the user who initiates the action. In the case of a server/client situation the error message is always sent to the client, and sometime sent to the event log of the server. Servers generally don't have users logged in, so sending error messages to the server instead of the client is useless. Take your example, if the client didn't report the error, how would you know that it happened? Do you have people using the "server" as their work terminal? –  Doltknuckle Feb 5 '10 at 18:22
    
ok, thanks for the links. the last one is a completely separate issue (hibernation) so it's not very useful, but that page does link to some similar discussions on the same forum. –  quack quixote Feb 6 '10 at 6:38
    
Like I said, the links may not directly be related to your problem, but they do point out a common problem that Microsoft products have when working with large things. It may be large files, or large memory pools, you get to a certain size and things start to have problems. That in itself is a side discussion that is irrelevant if you are not working with large files. –  Doltknuckle Feb 8 '10 at 16:51

Sounds like you have a problem with your memory pools (paged and non-paged). Since it's showing on multiple, different computers, then it's probably being caused by a common piece of software with a memory leak.

You can get the pool size numbers from Task Manager under the Performance tab, in the "Kernel Memory" box.

These should generally be under 100MB each, and anything over ~150MB start causing big-time problems (this is more so in the case of the Non-paged pool). Check them once when it reboots, record the numbers, then check the machine again when the problem has shown up and see if they've gotten way higher.

If so, you can use Poolmon from MS to monitor and diagnose those pools. By using the pool tagging system you can identify what's eating up your pools.

Often it's malfunctioning anti-virus, but could be just about anything. Luckily, since the computers are different, it's probably not a hardware driver issue.

HTH

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This has been reported as a bug in certain versions of AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) and might be caused by other programs. Try the fix at the very bottom of that thread, please.

One diagnostic you might try: boot in "Safe Mode with Networking" and see if you can map the drives.

Open the Services applet from the Control Panel and confirm that Network List Service is running. If not, start it. If it doesn't start, report that here.

I also see reports of this problem if one of/your only domain controller is out of resources. You might try rebooting that the next time you see this error.

Finally, I see a report of this being caused by the use of profiles. Do you use system-imposed profiles on your network?

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Does that fix apply to XP as well as Vista? Upon reboot, the issue is resolved so unfortunately, booting in safe mode doesn't work. If I could get my hands on a machine that this happens to for awhile I could try it, but I haven't been able to duplicate in the lab. We don't use system-imposed profiles. –  Katherine Feb 10 '10 at 16:15

[Posted while being migrated to Serverfault]

With the updated information the probable cause of the error is the server itself. It may just not have enough horsepower to handle that many requests. With all the different versions of Windows server 2003, you have a wide array of available hardware. The scalability of the product leads me to believe that it can handle what you want it to do, assuming you have the hardware to back it up.

Performance is a tricky beast to handle because the multitude of variables that affect it. Testing and monitoring is even harder since you have to dive through performance monitors and communication logs. Here are some things to consider:

  • Does the server do more then just provide this network drive?
  • What storage devices (drives/interface) does this share reside on?
  • What is the percentage use of the main hardware components: CPU, Memory, Hard Drive, Network?
  • Can you move services to another computer or setup a Distributed File System for the share?
  • Does everyone need to use the same share?
  • When you have problems, how many clients does the server have?

There are testing tools out there that can help guide you on the path of determining performance. The performance monitor provided with windows is useful for raw data, but can be difficult to translate to perceived performance. I was looking around the internet and found this gem:

http://blogs.technet.com/winserverperformance/archive/2009/11/13/file-server-capacity-tool-fsct-1-0.aspx

It's not only a post about a Microsoft performance tool for file servers, but the post was on a blog that is all about Windows server performance. As I dived into this, it got really complicated rather quickly. I have not tried the tool myself, but it does promise to give you a rather detailed analysis of what is going on. I would check it out.

As for more simple recommendations, ones that don't require looking at complex statistics, this is what I would do:

  1. Offload services so your file server only serves files. If you use the computer for other things like domain services or a webpage hosting, move those things to other machines.
  2. Check the network map to make sure that traffic does not flow through the server. Use switches and dedicated security hardware to handle internet bound traffic. Here's an example map.
  3. Setup a second file server and have some of your users use that server instead. Try to separate the clients by department or by project to make it easier for the end users.
  4. Try to implement a "file checkout" system where users copy the file down to their local machine while they work on it, and then copy it back up to the file server when they are done. This reduces the consistent network load throughout the day, but adds complexity and not all users can handle this type of system.

I know that the recommendations and suggestions above may not be possible to even attempt, but it could point you in the right direction. We can only do so much here without a comprehensive explanation of your environment (down to the hardware models and revisions used). In this case, more information on server hardware and network setup would help if you are able to talk about it.

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