One of my customers has a Windows 2003 Small Business Server which at this point is basically the DC, DNS, Fileserver and Symantec Protection Manager.

I have disabled Exchange because I moved their mail to Google Apps.

The server is extremely sluggish when doing anything. It is most noticeable when a dialog box is open (say the System properties), and you try to change tabs. This is usually instant, but on this machine can take 3-5 seconds.

What additional services / packages can I uninstall from this machine knowing that it is only performing the above roles?

Will removing the "Small Business Server" package in Add / Remove Programs get rid of a few unnecessary things?

Any other thoughts?

P.S. I know Symantec Endpoint and the Protection Manager are hogs, but I have nothing to replace the solution with at the moment.

Thanks, Tom

UPDATE: I looked over the different performance metrics, but nothing stood out as a problem. One of my friends mentioned Symantec's log and temp files can get quite huge and slow things down, so I ran CCleaner on the machine and found close to 3 GB of Symantec "stuff."

Removed that and now the machine is MUCH better.

I am still unsure why the data just sitting there would cause such a slowdown. The drive is not even near full. The only thing I can imagine is that Symantec must have to run through this stuff now and then.

  • You shouldn't do anything until you've analyzed WHY the server is being sluggish. If you're not familiar enough with Windows performance analysis techniques to determine exactly what the server is doing you'd be better off (as would your Customer) getting somebody to help you pinpoint what's wrong versus blindly making changes. (I've seen at least one case where a failing RAID array was diagnosed as a server performance problem and the Customer nearly lost data because the "IT provider" was trying to sell them "upgrades" instead of fixing the dying RAID...) – Evan Anderson Jul 14 '10 at 21:41

Disc IO overload? Overloaded CPU? ;) Check performance counters.


It is a SBS server, it is designed to do all of the above. I have seen many servers where customers have skimped on the spec but they still run perfectly fine! If you are looking to remove and disable features you may aswell rip off the SBS os and install 2003/2008 Standard.

****Please note if the SBS server does not have all the FSMO roles it WILL shutdown frequently and be very unhelpfull!!*****

I would look at what is eating the CPU and RAM, it makes sense to check that first and go from there. It would also be worth while checking the C: drive to see how much space is remaining. You could always attempt on offline filesystem defrag


Use the sysinternals suite of tools to check CPU usage, memory, I/O...etc...

Chances are it's the Symantec suite, but that's my bet for initial diagnosis. Check out the load and see what's causing issues.

You might end up having to look for a replacement for that Symantec stuff. Saying you know they're hogs but have nothing to replace it is like towing a giant trailer with subcompact car...I know it's not supposed to, but I had nothing else to use!

The alternative is to upgrade the memory and CPU (could possibly be the drives too, but unless it's got a lot of I/O it's probably not the issue). What are the specs on the server? Number of users using the server simultaneously?

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