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Vincent Moore
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Windows Networking Gurus? Help!!

Okay, I'm trying something different here! I've been doing computer networking for many years now, using network operating systems including SCO Xenix, Novell Unixware, Novell Netware 3.11/3.12/4.01, Redhat Linux, Windows NT 3.51/4.0, Windows 2000/2003/2008 Server, Windows 95/98/XP/Vista/Win7 not to mention my early days of plain old MS-DOS 3.11 and OS/2. I've been playing with computers since about 1985 and working with computers and networks since 1990. (yeah, I'm getting old!)

I stated all of the above to establish that I'm no novice to computers and networks but I've got a situation that has me stumped and I'm hoping that there are some "gurus" out here that might be able to offer suggestions since I'm banging my head against the wall telling myself that there must be some obvious issue causing this issue but I can't put a finger on it.

I need help! My logic has led me to a dead end!! LOL

At my place of business, I have a particular workstation that is acting strange on the network. The workstation is plain old Windows XP with Service Pack 3 and all patches / security updates applied. McAfee 8.7, Patch 2 (corporate edition) is installed as the anti-virus software and is up to date.

The problem occurs when trying to use a shortcut that points to a shared file on either a Windows 2003 OR a Windows 2008 Server.

There is a MS Access database on the 2003 server but access is NOT the issue since the same behavior occurs when trying to do this with a .PDF file. It happens on either server - 2003 or 2008.

I first noticed when I created a desktop shortcut to the Access database using standard a standard UNC path (\\servername\pathname\filename\).

I also tried mapping a drive letter to that path and had the same result doing that.

What happens is this. If you click on the shortcut to access the database (or a .PDF file that I tested with) it takes 40 - 50 seconds to get a response. It's as if Explorer.exe is hung up as the desktop becomes unresponsive during this time period. However, taskmanager shows nothing unusual going on, with the System Idle Process staying at 99% and nothing using abnormal amounts of RAM.

Strangely, even right-clicking on the shortcut, to view the properties, does the same thing. 40 - 50 seconds before the dialog box opens to view the properties.

At first, I thought it was something specific to the database shortcut so deleted it and recreated it. Same result.

Then, I tried mapping a drive letter to the location and pointing the shortcut to it that way. No difference.

Next I created a shortcut to a .PDF file using both the UNC AND the mapped drive but had the same result.

Thinking that maybe it was something specific to that particular server, I moved the .PDF and the database to another server so I had a different server and different Windows Server version represented. In all cases, the result was the same and the 40-50 second delay still persisted.

Ironically, we have an OLD accounting application that runs in a DOS window and it is on one of those same servers. When I try to right-click on THAT shortcut it's immediate as it should be. Same thing if I double-click to open the application. It works exactly as I would expect it to.

Back to the non-working situation. I even tried to build the shortcut to a .TXT file that was a total of 1KB in size. Same thing! Long delay to right-click OR double-click. Even so, as I said, the old DOS app runs fine.

Thinking maybe it was some strange problem with the onboard network adapter, I disabled it and replaced it with a 3Com 3C-905, PCI network adapter. I thought surely that would resolve the issue. No good! Same thing happens.

I tried replacing the patch cable from the PC to the wall. Didn't help.

I tried connecting that particular connection from the patch panel to a different port in the switch in the wiring closet. Didn't help.

Okay, maybe it's a cable problem between the wall jack and the patch panel? I took the workstation upstairs to my office and connected it there. This meant different wiring / patch panel / switch / everything. That didn't work either. I STILL get the delayed response.

As a kind of "last resort" I even changed out the power supply since I've seen them cause some strange behavior before. That didn't help either.

Granted, it COULD be something like RAM, Processor, Motherboard but, at this point, I think that's unlikely.

I ran CCleaner to clean up any crud on the system. McAfee can't find any problem. I ran AdAware and Malware Bytes and it's clean.

Every other machine in my network (all 100+ of them in that building) works fine - as expected.

Even logging into the domain as Administrator, instead of that particular user, it does the same thing. It's not a permissions issue on the files or anything like that.

Oh, and with that user, logged into another workstation, things work fine as they are supposed to.

By the way, in case I didn't mention, those same shortcuts, created on two different workstations, with the same configuration, work just perfectly no matter which user.

It really seems to be something specific with that machine BUT I can't see any indication of a problem with the machine. Everything else works as it's supposed to. In fact, we have some apps that are Windows application but that install a client program on the machine and that client app accesses those same servers and those applications appear to be working fine.

Networking configuration is consistent with that machine and others - same gateway and name server configuration as the other. A static IP is used on it and all other machines and there are no IP address conflicts.

Any ideas anyone? Any help, or ideas, would be greatly appreciated!!! It HAS to be something on that particular station but it's not related to that particular user. I was pulling my hair out today trying to put a finger on the cause and came up empty after about 3 hours of messing around with it.

I don't WANT to call Microsoft!! :-) Some helpful advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks y'all!

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