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All of a sudden on our network, none of the client machines can see any of the network shares or shared printers at all (XP clients, SBS2003 server), and cannot browse the domain via "My Network Places." I've looked through the event logs, but don't see anything out of the ordinary. We've rebooted the server a couple of times with no change.

I feel like it's either a Computer Browser service problem or that it's somehow DNS-related, but I'm kinda baffled...

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can you ping anything inside the network? could this be a firewall issue? –  cop1152 Sep 4 '09 at 18:28
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6 Answers 6

up vote 6 down vote accepted
  1. Check the event logs! I cannot stress enough how much this can help in troubleshooting just about any problem in Windows, and is often the last place that people look. If this doesn't already point you in the right direction, then read on...

  2. Using the logs from the client, try to establish a timeframe of when the underlying problem first surfaced.

  3. Using the timeframe established above, establish what occurred on the domain controllers around that time.

  4. Make sure that the Computer Browser, DNS Client and Workstation services are running on the client (also check DHCP if you are using DHCP in your office).

  5. Make sure that the Computer Browser, DNS Server, Network Logon, Server, and Workstation services are running on the domain controllers (also check DHCP if you are using DHCP in your office).

  6. If the Server service is not running on one of your domain controllers, and it refuses to start, it's time for a reboot of that domain controller (a known problem with 2003 servers when they experience a low-memory condition that had me scratching my head for hours earlier just this week when all of a sudden none of the domain members could access the group policies).

  7. Take a closer look at the event logs! If you don't understand an error, search for the error with your favorite search engine. This almost goes without saying, but I'm amazed how many times I've been able to quickly find a solution to some of the most bizarre issues (or at least point me in the right direction) simply by cutting and pasting an error message.

If you're still stuck, then please update your question with some more detail to help us help you more.

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And check the time on the server. Clock skew can cause a lot of headaches. –  charlesbridge Sep 4 '09 at 18:58
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Upvote, nice one mate, good list to start troubleshooting with.. –  Greg Meehan Sep 4 '09 at 19:44
    
On each reboot, I keep seeing one error right when the server comes back up relating to the DHCP Server service, which to my knowledge should NOT be running, since our SonicWALL serves as DHCP server. I don't know why this service would suddenly be running. The error that shows in the server's log is ID 1041: "The DHCP service is not servicing any clients because none of the active network interfaces have statically configured IP addresses, or there are no active interfaces." Could this have something to do with it? –  colemanm Sep 5 '09 at 0:34
    
The only thing recently installed on the server (a couple weeks ago) was the newest Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager v11, and I uninstalled the old Corporate v9 "System Center" that was installed. But both of those went off without a hitch, as far as I could tell. Not sure if maybe the uninstall didn't properly remove something, or the new install screwed something up... –  colemanm Sep 5 '09 at 0:36
    
I got it. The culprit was some component in the custom Symantec client I generated with v11 and had installed on the server a few days ago. I guess after that reboot something took hold and was hosing something up. Either the Antispam, Antivirus, or Network Protection service must've hampered some other service... This Symantec thread is what made me suspicious: symantec.com/connect/forums/network-path-cant-be-found. Weird, because at another office I've done the exact same thing on a PDC with no problems. Thanks for your help! Definitely got me digging deeper. :) –  colemanm Sep 5 '09 at 0:57
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What is your domain architecture? If I can guess from you comment, You have one and only one domain controller which is inaccessible, and another server and few xp client that all work fine.

The browsing is not the issue. The sharing is. The master browser is probably the domain controller, and since its not accessible the browsing doesn't work. But the sharing is much more important than the browsing, so ignore it for now.

How is the domain controller accessible? can you ping it? can you RDP to it? Can he see shares on the other server? can he see shares on the xp clients?

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We have a single DC, the other server is just for file shares, basically. From the clients, the DC is pingable with either its NetBIOS name or its IP. I can also RDP into it from any machine. And from the server himself, I can see shares on the other (working) server and each of the clients just fine. The only thing not working is ANYTHING browsing network shares, specifically, on the DC. –  colemanm Sep 4 '09 at 18:49
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Some suggestions: Make sure the DNS service is running. Make sure the client computers have their DNS set to the servers ip address. You can setup DNS on both servers for redundancy in case the DNS service or one server stops working.

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Upvote, brother.. I'm with you on this.. DNS = common problems with RPC, resolving, etc. in AD. –  Greg Meehan Sep 4 '09 at 18:34
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I do not know how old is this question . It is all about theSymantec antivirus ..

just disable the network treath protection in the anti virus and enable it again. that should taking care of the problem .

had the same issue and I solved by doing that

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I think you're on the right path thinking DNS and Igal's asking some good questions. Check the local hosts logs for RPC errors, if you suspect NetBIOS, try at command prompt:

nbtstat -R

and/or

nbtstat -RR

Prior to forcing master browser, (I'm not 100% behind the idea that's the problem, but you know your network best) check it first with the support tools "browstat"

browstat status

and you can force an election by restarting the browser service, or using that same tool above:

browstat elect \device\netbt_ieepro1 (your domain name here)

Reading your comment you say that your clients can't see the domain controller, that's a HUGE problem there. They need to be able to see it. Check your SRV records in DNS, and/or on the local node check what the machine/logon sees as the DC. (You can do that by opening a command prompt, typing "set" and dumping the env variables and looking for something that looks like this:

LOGONSERVER=\(your domain controller here)

Try restarting the netlogon service on your DC? (Or probably in your case, just giving it a good reboot wouldn't hurt)

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Hope this will help!

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/318030

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I'm pretty sure my problem is deeper than that... We've got two Server 2003 servers, and only one of them is inaccessible via file sharing (browsing to \\machinename), the clients can all see the other server as well as each other. They CANNOT see the domain controller server, and therefore cannot browse the domain in Windows Explorer. Seems like a master browser problem, but I'm not exactly sure how to reinstate/refresh the computer browser list, or determine which machine is currently the master browser... –  colemanm Sep 4 '09 at 17:40
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