I get a call about Exchange having issues. A co-worker who is really good with Office applications was out the day before and could not find the answer. I wonder in and start noodling around. The workstations have XP Home except one that has Pro. There is a domain controller running Exchange. There is another “server” running XP Pro. I look at hard drive space and the whole 70 gigs is a C partition. I like to chop my servers up to at least a C: and D:. C for the operating system and applications. D: for data and things that consume hard drive space. My thought is that if somehow the D: partiton get filled up at least the OS will keep running. Well there is plenty of space. I make some dns adjustments. I want the server and workstations to look to the dns server on my domain controller, not some isp. I add the wins service. I set sender filter and ad user filter. I delete some postmaster messages from the queue.
I go to the newest workstation. I set its dns to look at the domain controller. It appears to work ok with Exchange. Each workstation is also popping their email account at the isp. A thing I do not do generally. Especially when they have a CBeyond account which comes with static ips and a pretty robust internet connection. The owner calls me up and I report Outlook appears to be working ok. I click around and things open up quickly in Outlook. Then it starts to act up.
I go to another workstation and it is worse. It could be the 1.6Mghz processor but not really. I change that workstation to use the domain controller for dns. Ipconfig/flush dns. I ping the domain controller aka mailserver. It resolves the name but I get some stutters with timeouts. I do a ping -t mailserver and I see lots of drops. I go back to the server and ping from the server to a workstation with lots of drops. I ping from another workstation with lots of drops. I do not see any spazy lights on the network switch. That ends the troubleshooting for the day. I plan to return in the morning with a good Intel nic and a HP Procurve switch. The HP Procurve stuff has never let me down. I did ask if there was anything new in the office. Second question is if there are any Xray machines around. Xray machines can really screw up your network. Crummy cabling that runs parallel to electic lines or around motors and ductwork can also cause problems.
I start the day with a warning I am disconnecting everyone. I install the Procurve and ping away. An occasional stutter but no drops. Miliseconds are all good so it could be the refresh rate of my eyes is the same as the refresh rate of the pings so I miss a few scrolling up. Outlook works fine.
Things left to do. Get a real AV solution. They are using freeware av that is licensed for home use only. The Exchange server has no Exchange av. Just an expired Norton Corporate. I doubt that XP Pro will happen or SBS. Well if I push the no signs of licenses and no holographed cds for the server and no Exchange cds I might get somewhere.