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Win 7 Programs "Not Responding" intermittently when accessing network files

    Question

  • Hi all,

    We have 4 machines running Win7 Ultimate 32 Bit networked together via ethernet cables and a VM Super(yeah, whatever...) Hub.  They are all running plenty of RAM and with enough storage to handle what we throw at them generally, but there is one recurring little problem.

    One machine acts as a fileserver, with no monitor, keyboard or mouse and stores all our files in one place (there are backups of course!).  The other 3 machines then access the files as required so there is no data duplication problems.

    This setup worked fine with XP Pro SP3 and the same machines, however with Win7 occasionally a program which is accessing a network file will hang on "not responding" for a minute or so, then eventually continue.

    It's getting really annoying and so I'm hoping some genius out there might be able to put their finger on the problem!  I am unable to reliably reproduce the problem, it just occurs after a few minutes of using a program, for example, a database is stored on the fileserver.  MS Access running on the 'local' machine accessing the 'remote' database will occasionally display "not responding" for anywhere upto 15 seconds before freeing and continuing.

    I have experienced this on 2 out of the 3 'local' machines which obviously suggests that the root is common in these machines (which are somewhat different in hardware makeup).  Also common to these machines is some of  Adobe CS3 (PS, DW) which also experiences the problems if remote files are accessed.

    Here is what I've noticed/tried:

    • The machines were originally part of a homegroup with IPv6 active, but under some advice I read elsewhere I have disabled IPv6 and removed the homegroup so the machines are just on standard filesharing (it didn't fix the problem but I have left it this way). 
    • All machines are visible and pingable on the network from any other machine on the network and there are no issues with internet connectivity. 
    • All machines have in-built WLAN devices, all of which have been disabled. 
    • There is a wireless printer in the mix, but currently only installed on one of these machines (which is experiencing this problem).
    • I've tried running resource monitor at the same time as replicating the problem, and there appears to be no correlation to anything happening in resource monitor - there's still plenty of ram and cpu available.
    • There are a couple of processes popping in and out of existence on the Network page of the resource monitor when trying to replicate the problem but they don't appear to be the cause.  These are svchost.exe(noimpersonation), svchost.exe(localservice) and HPNetworkCommunicator - to do with the printer.

    Sorry for the long post, but I like to give as much info as I can think of if I'm to expect any help!  Thanks in advance and please ask anything you need to know if you think it will help.

    Monday, August 06, 2012 2:24 PM

All replies

  • 1. In Office there is temporary file created. This may make problem.

    2. Have you set persistent mapping?

    3. Thre has been problem in some active network devices that stemmed from not setting reliable connection (Auto -> Auto)

    4. Is there any trace in Event logs?

    5. Have you tried network monitor to pinpoint the cause?

    Rghds

    Milos

    Monday, August 06, 2012 4:36 PM
  • Couple of things you could try:

    1. Turn off remote differential compression - Control Panel>>Programs>>Turn Windows Features on or off>>uncheck Remote Differential Compression.  RDC is known for slowing down network file/data transfers.

    2. Temporarily turn off the firewall on the machines - does this make any difference?

    Monday, August 06, 2012 8:32 PM
  • Thanks for your reply.

    1.  This could be the cause, though it happens in programs other than Office, such as Photoshop etc. If they also produce temporary files then could this still be the cause?  The issue never appeared with XP Pro SP3 and I would expect Read/Write to a temporary file to work just as well as anything else really but will bear this one in mind.

    2. Might have to help me there (or I'll Google =])  I've not heard of or seen references to persistent mapping so we can assume it is going to be on some sort of default setting, I'll look into it, thanks!

    3.  The only network devices are the 4 machines, the superhub and a wireless printer.  Everything is as it was in XP, but I can assume everything would be set to auto... I'll check this out too

    4.  Will need to check.

    5.  About the only thing I have done!  As I mentioned in my post, I checked the resource monitor whilst working to see what changed when the problem occurred and nothing seemed to correlate - it would sometimes happen when there were no changes and sometimes when services started or stopped (not necessarily the same ones)

    Thanks for your pointers, because the problem just happens when it feels like, I'll have to spend some time testing each one out before I can be conclusive as to whether it was the cause but I'll be back to post my findings!

     

    Wednesday, August 08, 2012 8:29 AM
  • Hi and thanks for your tips,

    I've not tried either of these yet but the first sounds promising!  When you say 'slows down network/file transfers' do you mean as in eats bandwidth or kills the connection temporarily every so often?

    I feels as though someone is unplugging the LAN cable then plugging it back in after a few seconds - at least the symptoms would be the same...

    I'll first try turning off the firewall as to be honest, being behind the router's firewall should be enough and thinking about it, when the machines were running XP the firewalls were always off...

    I'll let you know what I've tried and if the problem rears its head again!

    Many thanks

    Wednesday, August 08, 2012 8:32 AM
  • Hi and thanks for your tips,

    I've not tried either of these yet but the first sounds promising!  When you say 'slows down network/file transfers' do you mean as in eats bandwidth or kills the connection temporarily every so often?

    I feels as though someone is unplugging the LAN cable then plugging it back in after a few seconds - at least the symptoms would be the same...

    I'll first try turning off the firewall as to be honest, being behind the router's firewall should be enough and thinking about it, when the machines were running XP the firewalls were always off...

    I'll let you know what I've tried and if the problem rears its head again!

    Many thanks

    With RDC turned on (the default) you will find that even copying say a 10MB file over the network can take a long time. Larger files even longer.  If you're accessing a network resource via a program then this can result in the "not responding" dialogue box appearing.  When we first discovered the option and turned it off we noticed a massive difference in network network program and file access from our Windows 7 machines.

    I would deffinitely go with the Firewall first - do one thing at a time and eliminate them from the process.  If you find it's ok with the firewall off then personally I would look to find what part (or port/program) of the firewall that's causing it.  Best in my opinion to have the firewalls on your workstations on but configured to allow the necessary traffic (and not cause any problems).

    Keep us updated!

    I turned this off on every new machine I set up now.

    Wednesday, August 08, 2012 12:33 PM
  • Well, I've tried everything I knew how to do from the above suggestions and have monitored things over the past few days to see if there has been an improvement and unfortunately nothing so far has fixed the problem.

    I have applied the changes one by one as a process of elimination and the last thing I tried was the RDC which looked promising but unfortunately didn't fix the problem.  The only thing I haven't fiddled with is 'persistent mapping' so I'll try that next.

    I also spotted that network access in general is also affected, for example opining a shortcut to network shared folders on from the desktop will occasionally suffer the same problem, however this manifests itself in a window telling me that the connection is trying to be established.

    I don't know if this turns on a light for someone but thanks for your help so far!

    Monday, August 13, 2012 8:22 AM