SBS 2011 Essentials losing connection to clients. Need to re-install SBS 2011 Essentials without losing setup of clients
Friday, December 28, 2012 6:47 PM
I have a system of 10 clients on a HP server running SBS 2011 Essentials but have had lots of problems with clients dropping their connection to the server and no matter what I try (setting client to workgroup, uninstalling Connect software & trying to re-connect) I cannot get the clients to re-connect. I now only have half the clients connected.
I have identified the server software as the problem but my customer is reticent to let me re-install the SBS 2011 Essentials in case it loses connection to the remaining clients.
1) What is the best way to proceed so that I can retain the desktops & setups of the clients?
2) Should I upgrade to Server 2012 Essentials whilst I am repairing SBS 2011 Essentials or stick with existing server?
Friday, December 28, 2012 10:15 PM
It seems like there would almost have to be a way to repair the existing installation. Can you more fully describe what you mean by "dropping their connection?" If you reboot the server, and then the client PC, does it connect? When you uninstall the Connector, does it reinstall as expected, and if not, what's the exact error when it fails?
How did you determine that the server software is the problem?
I've had a couple of issues where server updates that also require Connector updates will behave weirdly - for example, the client PC would show as Offline. This is usually fixed by one or two client reboots (during which the Connector gets updated - sometimes it seems like the required update fails to prompt the user to reboot).
Have you run the Best Practices Analyzer on the server? That might call out the problem and solution to whatever it is you're running into. http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=15556
Dave Nickason - SBS MVP
Saturday, December 29, 2012 4:27 PM
Dave, Thanks for response. I cannot get at the system at the moment but will try to recall as much as I can.
Rebooting Server and/or client does not work.
If I change client to be part of a Workgroup after uninstalling Connector software and then use http://<servername>/connect the wizard fails with the message The specified domain either does not exist or could not be contacted (I think)
I determined the problem is with the server (I will call it Main) by doing a clean install of Windows 7 on the client and then doing a fresh install of SBS2011E on a secondary server (an exact copy in terms of hardware). I attempted to install the client on the Main server but with the same result and error as above. I then uninstalled Connector and changed the client to a workgroup before running the Connect Wizard again using the Secondary Server and this installed perfectly.
The unconnected clients are able to connect to their main documents drive on the server but are not recognised by the Main server in Dashboard. I have removed the clients account and recreated it using the same details and also different names. All have the same result.
I did run run the Best Practices Analyzer on the server some time ago but can't recall the outcome but it was nothing of significance. I will try again when I get access.
For most of the clients I just need to keep their desktop and Outlook files (their documents are all stored on the server and backed up) Confirmation as to what you would do would be appreciated as I have been going round in circles and don't know if I am thinking straight. All clients are using Windows 7 Pro.
Many thanks for your time over this period. I should get access on Monday to the Main server.
Saturday, December 29, 2012 4:51 PM
Dave, Would you install Windows 2012 Essentials instead of SBS 2011 Essentials - seeing as I have to re-install the server anyway.
Saturday, December 29, 2012 9:03 PM
As a general rule, I believe that if you are going to go through the work of a full server install and configuration, it's worth using the currently shipping software. So personally, I would move to 2012. There are a couple of good reasons including the possibility of going beyond 25 users, which is much easier with 2012.
But also as a general rule, I like to troubleshoot problems rather than just reinstall. If nothing else, in the absence of a diagnosis, there's nothing to keep the same thing from happening again.
How about event logs on the server and the new client PC that won't connect. Any help there? Also, check out connector log on the server. On the client, check for a folder C:\Windows Server. Check out this blog for more info on both http://titlerequired.com/2012/01/23/quick-fix-installation-cancelled-installing-sbs-2011-essentials-connector/
I'd run the BPA again, run Microsoft Update to make sure everything is current including the most recent Update Rollup, and I'd probably run Process Monitor on the client PC to see if that provides any insight. You can use Task Manager to see the name of the process that runs when you go to install the connector, then filter Process Monitor to only show results from that process. http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896645
Dave Nickason - SBS MVP