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We have a database called Universe that runs on a Windows 2003 server. Most of the day everything runs fine and we have no problems. Actually most of the time period it works fine. We have seen some issues in the past where the server became unresponsive so we installed an application called Process Lasso to help manage the cpu and keep things running.

This software has helped us a lot, however, the last couple of weeks we have been having issues again. We use telnet to connect to our database and for a period of about 5 minutes it will become unresponsive. We can remote to the server but by the time we get on the server, whatever the problem was no longer exists and everything is back to normal.

One other interesting note. I was remoted into the server yesterday morning. I opened windows explorer and copied and renamed a fairly large directory. When I did this the system became unresponsive and I could not access it from telnet. Is this normal? It even happens on our test machine as I was able to reproduce the problem there. This makes me wonder what could be going on in the background causing this issue.

How would you attach this to determine what is going on? Keep in mind I'm just a programmer but kind of stuck figuring this thing out.

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Get the sysinternals suite from microsoft's site (free). It has tools that can monitor file access, registry access, and process activity, and those might give some clues as to what is going on.

I've seen cases on servers where Explorer will "lock up" on certain disk activity. I don't know if it's a problem with Explorer or if it's a problem with the filesystem or disk subsystem, but I've seen it happen. On a server after the first 20 seconds, especially if you're remoted in, it gets quite scary to think that you're about to get the "Server out" calls...

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I would start with the event logs.

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Check the event logs as suggested by Nunya. Beyond that is going to be a lot of hardening of the system, looking at the system and turning off services that don't need to be running.

For example, years ago, we had a customer who had inexplicable periodic slow-downs that we eventually traced to their IT having configured the server to function as a backup DNS server. Whenever the server would synchronize its DNS data it would slow to a crawl.

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i've searched through the logs but nothing is jumping out. we do have other applications running on that machine so we may need to start offloading some of them – user15321 Dec 23 '09 at 14:29

Really great answers above! Another thing to look for is sms or anything like that pushing things over to the box and if so what resources are being hogged.

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