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I was called in to look at a school server that the user had powered on after what I assume was a power drop. It's a 2012 R2 Standard Server which is now partially working but it has several problems which I'm not sure if I can resolve. It's just a simple, single image standalone server with approx 50 clients. File and Print Services, DHCP, DNS and AD appear to be working ok in that users can log on and off, print etc.

However; when I log on as Administrator, Control Panel hangs and has to be closed with task manager, the Symantec End point Manager won't connect, when I start IE it never resolves to a web page, Remote Desktop has stopped working and the Server Manager has a red error message for manageability saying online connection failed.

After a couple of suggestions from the Spiceworks forums I checked that I could ping it ok, all Symantec services were stopped anyway, SFC /SCANNOW appears to start but doesn't run. It won't shut down cleanly - hangs trying to close group policy client. This is really weird in that it's functioning ok as a server but nothing locally on it works.. I tried to check the disk through the GUI and it just hangs too..

I've looked through event viewer and the logs but nothing stands out as a particular cause. I suspect that some files may have been corrupted when it dropped power and am now wondering if Image Restore might be the quickest option.

  • It might be hard to get to the bottom of all this in this kind of forum. On a domain controller, I would want to make sure domain services are working. Check the IP config and make sure it looks to itself only for DNS. Check DNS and make sure that looks right. Check Sites and Services and make sure the Sites make sense. Check Domains and Trusts and Users and Computers to make sure the DCs in AD match the DCs that actually exist. After all that if there are still probably then I would look for malware on the server. Or attempt to get new hardware and replace the server. – Todd Wilcox Jul 1 '15 at 13:05
  • You could build a 2012 server on a high-end desktop box, install Hyper-V, build a replacement VM and move all the services to it, then rebuild the Server hardware with Hyper-V and migrate the VM to the server hardware, if it comes to that. – Todd Wilcox Jul 1 '15 at 13:06
  • Never hurts to fire up SysInternals Process Monitor and see what's causing things to hang – dsolimano Jul 1 '15 at 13:30
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After further unsuccessful attempts to try and run anything locally on the machine that might help fix things, I restored it from a full image taken a couple of months ago with Macrium Reflect (a great tool in my opinion) and the server is back up and running. The downside is I had about 50 workstations needing the trust relationship re-established. In the past I've had to remove the machine from the domain, delete the computer account and redefine it, then rejoin the machine to the domain. This time, from the run command I typed sysdm.cpl and then used the network id wizard, restarted the machine when prompted and it was back on the domain..

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Depends on if you want lots of billable hours. :) You can spend days trying to understand what is wrong with the server and if it is infected with something. You could further do a forensic analysis of what is different from a standard install. Lots of time but should help you find root cause. To save time I would build a new server image and bring all of the current resources to the new box. AD objects, DNS, etc. I would do this for stability of the server, because you don't have a good idea of what all the issues are with this old box. So, I would treat this as a migration.

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