I have a windows 2003 domain in mixed mode alongside a win2k server as secondary. My users will be browsing the files on the data share when suddenly, windows returns the following error:

\\servername\share is not accessible. You might not have permission to use this network resource. Contact the administrator of this server to find out if you have access permissions. Access is denied.

This issue only appears on the one server. This occurs to both admins & normal users. I thought maybe it could be too few CAL's however, we have 4x the amount needed since our company has shrunk within the last 2 years. When the error happens, the user can reboot & all is well for anywhere from 4 hours to 4 weeks. You can also sometimes choose "disconnect mapped network drive", choose the server & disconnect. You can then use unc path to reconnect & be prompted for Ad credentials. Using the same username will not work but another username will be fine until it happens again. I have noticed that when the problem is more prevelent (it seems to do this in waves), if you connect to your unc share, do your thing briefly & then close the window that the problem will not show up as often. Also, This only happens to people using XP. The following OS's do not disconnect, Win7, Vista, Win2k, OS/2, Win98, RHEL5, DOS.

This is driving me nuts ! Anyone have an idea what could be causing it ?

some afterthoughts:

this happens to individual users one at a time not en masse.

event logs show nothing. There are no entries for improper authentication/denial.

This happens at varying times day or night.

Server load is not a factor

network card is not flaking out (I don't think). I've implemented a constant ping to both nic's for days at a time & neither has been interupted, ever.

Some more afterthoughts: The issue appears on all windows xp machines. This will happen eventually (but intermittantly) on machines using Pre-SP1,SP2 or SP3 with a base install.

The issue does not follow a specific user. A user can use a win2k machine & all is good.

The problem can appear to machines joined to a domain or in workgroup mode.

The issue happens when connecting to shares either through unc, mapped (either in explorer or net use cmd) or browsing network neighborhood.

I have not had the problem reported to me under vista or win7 but since we only have 2 vista machines & 1 win7 (my hack box) then the problem may just be going unnoticed.

Another example of one of the complaints is that a person can no longer print. I go to their desk & am able to verify that it is the same issue of being kicked off & not seeing shares. reboot & all is well (or disconnect share/server,repair,etc...).

  • Are there other patterns? Does it happen to all users at once, or will one user get disconnected while another stays connected? Does it happen to all users or only some users? How about machines .. all machines or ony some machines?
    – tomjedrz
    May 29 '09 at 15:42
  • it appears to be all xp machines regardless of the user
    – Pete
    Jun 2 '09 at 17:18

I've had problems like that, usually caused by skewed clocks. Check the time on ALL your servers / clients and make sure they're no more then 5 minutes out of sync. Kerberos tickets expire quick.

  • I have NTP configured on the dhcp server in addition to the windows time. All clients appear to have the correct time when it happens.
    – Pete
    Jun 2 '09 at 17:09
  • It's really the DC that counts, but if it's getting the time from the DHCP it should be good. You may want to read KB816042 to make sure it's authoritative. And maybe check XP firewall allows UDP 123 to sync with? Jun 3 '09 at 20:40

No answer per se, but please check the Server Event Logs for any errors when this happens and I bet you could get a good idea. Or post the errors and someone here will know.


Had a similar problem with a remote site once that turned out to be a wiring/switching/networking issue. Turned out someone had been doing some "creative redundant wiring" (they figured the more cables you run between switches, the more bandwidth between them!) resulting in data black holes.

  • With good switches and correction configuration then multiple links does give you more bandwidth.
    – Zoredache
    May 30 '09 at 8:13
  • Definitely. Our problem at the time was people randomly adding cable to old switches. ;) May 30 '09 at 16:19

The first thing to determine is if the problem is with the user or the machine.

If you move a user to a machine that hasn't had the problem before, and the problem follows them, then it is a user based issue.

On the other hand if it only happens to specific machines no matter which user is logged in, then it is machine or network connection related.

If I had to guess it is networking related. A quick test would be to take a machine that has never had the issue and hook it up to the same connection as a machine that has had the issues and see if you get duplicates.

First steps in trying to diagnose a problem quickly is trying to duplicate it on demand.

  • I've had the other DC on the same port without the disconnects. I've also tried the server on other ports & the problem remains.
    – Pete
    Jun 2 '09 at 17:11
  • Sounds like a network card issue. Especially if it is say a dual nic card in a bonded configuration.
    – Codejnki
    Jun 2 '09 at 19:53

You mention that it only happens for Windows XP and no other operating system. That is pretty odd. I think I would want to see if you can replicate the problem on a completely clean install of windows.

Since it is linked just to XP, I would be tempted to do a clean install with original media (avoid slipstreamed, or vlite media). Apply all the patches, do not install any software.

  • I've had it occur on a system within 15 min (1 time) of an install with only OS & drivers. Meanwhile, I've had my win2k 500 mhz PIII Dell latitude connected for 3 months without a reboot. I'm actually using it to FTP a 3GB file right now. I would never be able to complete it using XP.
    – Pete
    Jun 2 '09 at 17:14

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