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I have set up a Microsoft Windows SBS 2008 server for a small company (8-10 users). They use it as file server, print server, mail server etc. - basically everything small companies need except a public web server.

Browsing the network shares, printing etc. is usually fast and problem-free, but sometimes, certain actions take an extremely long time. For instance, I recently tried to open a Word document on a network share and waited over a minute for it to appear. Meanwhile, while Word was appearing to hang, I had no trouble browsing the network share from Windows Explorer. After the document initially loaded, I could close Word, re-open the very same file, and it appeared immediately. Similar things happen on all network share actions as well as printing on the SBS printer (takes time to open the print properties dialog).

Copying files over the network is fast, around 10 MB/sec (using 100mbit switches) - I doubt the physical network/link layer is responsible.

This is happening on several client computers (if not all), both Windows XP as well as Windows 7 clients. The computers are all members of the domain.

Any ideas why this is happening? All help and suggestions are very welcome - I have been tearing my hair out over this... Thanks!

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Have you tried running dcdiag and netdiag to see if there are any problems with DNS resolution and/or AD? –  pauska Oct 24 '10 at 22:42
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2 Answers

Could be an SMB2 issue - you can turn SMB2 off via a registry entry:

Computer\Hkey_Local_Machine\CurrentControlSet\System\LanmanServer\Parameters\SMB2

Set it to 0, create the key if it's not there. Worth a try, you can always turn it back on. Needs a server reboot.

Make sure MS Office is service-packed up.

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Alan, thank you for your response. Just to confirm, you are talking about changing a registry setting on the server, correct? –  Nils Sep 14 '10 at 10:46
    
Assumption is fun, so I went ahead and did the modification on the server (the actual path was HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Parameters). I have not noticed any changes yet, but I am looking forward to testing with the real users tomorrow. –  Nils Sep 14 '10 at 19:23
    
Yes, the server. Although you can also do it on a per-client basis. –  Alan B Sep 15 '10 at 6:55
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This sounds as if the SBS Server is paging excessively to me. Under some steady state conditions there is enough RAM for active services to operate from memory but some less critical stuff gets de-prioritized. When a client triggers an action (printing perhaps, editing an Office document) the pages associated with that process have to be reloaded from disk and that can take time, especially if the SBS server has already driving the disk subsystem heavily.

Opening a Word document involves more resources than simply browsing and reading a folder - Word creates a temporary stub file for auto-saving changes and does a number of other things which could trigger the paging issue.

Copying files over the network generally doesn't cause the same issue as the relevant services are amongst the last things that the server will allow to be dumped from RAM. File copies are also typically buffered completely in RAM on the receiving side which also avoids the paging issue unless things get very tight from a memory perspective.

What is the configuration of the SBS Server - CPU's, how much RAM in total, and how many disks have you got, what RAID config and how are they partitioned? For an SBS 2008 server aimed at around 10 users a good sizing would be around 6GB RAM preferably 8GB, mirrored 10K or 15k disks and at least a dual core processor with 5Ghz or more of aggregate CPU.

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Helvick, thanks for your response. These are the specs for the server: 4 GB RAM Core2Duo, 2.8 GHz 2x 1TB HD (RAID1), one big partition –  Nils Sep 14 '10 at 19:11
    
That said, it doesn't seem like a downright performance issue. As you suggest, file copying might be a bad example, but while the Word document is hanging, other users can use the very same server without problems. Something hanging the communication between the client/server seems more likely. I have started the "System Performance" data collector set though, so let's take a look tomorrow. –  Nils Sep 14 '10 at 19:21
    
I'd prefer to see a bit more RAM and faster disks but other than that it should be OK unless something is really pushing some service very hard. You can find some good pointers on figuring out if it is a paging\performance root cause in Evan's answer on this question - serverfault.com/questions/36639/… –  Helvick Sep 14 '10 at 19:36
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