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We are constantly seeing this error message on our Windows Server 2003:

cmd.exe - Application Error

The application failed to initialize properly (0xC0000142). Click on OK to terminate the application.

It appears when logged in as console. It appears every 5 minutes, and the error message sometimes stack up to 100 times. At the same time, we have experienced several commands which are failing to execute (they do nothing, they don't even start their logic, cmd.exe just fails immediately).

Also, in the process list of the server, cmd.exe is opened many hundred times.

What could be the cause of this error?

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And what if there is such application which does this on purpose? Why the server cannot handle it? Can I enlarge some value in registry for example to get rid of this error? (which is actually not stated as error in Windows logs) – user214201 Mar 27 '14 at 8:18
up vote 1 down vote accepted

You transcribed that error wrong-- I'll fix it for you (it's 0xC0000142, not 0x0000142). That's a STATUS_DLL_INIT_FAILED error. You've got something running on that box that's spawning too many processes. Look at your "Scheduled Tasks", programs running in the "Startup" program group, service programs, and programs running from the HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run and HKCU equivalent lists.

If you can get Process Explorer running on the box you can examine the process tree and see what the parent process of these CMD.EXE's is. (There are other methods to do that, but Process Explorer is very friendly and graphical, which it sounds like you might like.)

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