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PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 1:57 pm 
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Will keep this short right now but try and update shortly. Been running WS2012E for I guess close to 6+ months now. Been a bit of a love/hate affair so thought I would periodically share my experiences (mostly troubleshooting). Hopefully just put another issue to rest this morning, so stay tuned :D

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:02 pm 
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So where to begin ... I finally decided to upgrade from my WHSv1 Server to WS2012E earlier this year, mainly due to limited storage expand ability. When it works, it works great, but I have run into quite a few issues along the way. I will go back over some earlier issues later on, but here is the current issue I just dealt with (or possibly still dealing with?)

A few weeks ago my server kept going offline. On my desktop PC I was trying to encode a few movies with handbrake that were stored on my server. The encoding would get halfway done and then I would get a message that the host file was no longer available. I kept trying and eventually the encodes got done (the reasons for the encode I was going on vacation and needed a mobile version, also part of the reason why I didn't really have time to investigate further). Left for vacation, my Mom watched over the house so I told her to watch any of the movies from my server. She got through part of a movie and then it froze, so scratch that idea. When I got home from vacation over the next week I tried watching several movies and same thing would happen, get about 20+ minutes into the movie and then it would freeze with the server locking up.

It appeared that this only really occurred when I was accessing files from the server for a prolonged period (i.e. I could keep the server on all day otherwise with no issue). Part of what made troubleshooting difficult, the monitor that my server is connected to is also connected to my desktop PC. For the input, if it doesn't detect a video signal it just moves on to the next input (i.e. there is no way to just lock it into an input). The monitor is typically on the input for my desktop PC, so when my server froze and I tried to switch the input to the server it would detect no signal and just move on (if there was an error message or BSOD I couldn't see it, all I would end up doing is just manually restarting the server by holding the power button down).

While watching a movie I could see it was starting to stutter, so I ran over to my computer, switched the monitor over to the server and sure enough a BSOD had appeared with an error code "NTFS_FILE_SYSTEM" and stated that basically my O/S hard drive was dead. Rebooted the server though and it started up without issue. Checked some of the SMART diagnostic info on the HDD and it passed with 100% health.

Decided to start up another movie, but this time leave my monitor in the server input (so I should be able to see any errors when they happen). About 15-20 minutes into the movie again as expected it froze. This time the BSOD had an error code "CACHE_MANAGER". After searching around it appeared that this error and the NTFS FILE SYSTEM error were related. The error was related to the file system's cache manager (NTFS). The most likely problem would be either a faulty/corrupt hard drive, faulty memory, or out of date / conflicting drivers. First thing I did was check all the drivers (I have a utility that does this). 5 drivers were considered old/outdated so I updated those. Next up I checked my RAM using the built in Memory Diagnostic and the RAM passed with flying colors. Last up was to check the hard drive using chkdsk. Don't know if any errors were found that were fixed (I wasn't in front of my server while this was running).

Not knowing whether any of this worked, I put on Despicable Me 2 for my kids and the movie played through in its entirety without a hitch. Later on last night I threw on another movie and not a hitch either. So it would appear that the problem is fixed (temporarily or permanent, I am not sure yet?). This is something I will need to monitor closely

For now I will consider this a small victory. I have some notes on other issues I have run in to along the way (whether hardware, software, or WS2012E related) that I will post about. For the most part I am happy with the move to WS2012E, but there have been a few too many bumps in the rode along the way (and I am sure in part b/c my free time is very limited these days any issue becomes magnified)

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:39 pm 
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How's everything going?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:51 pm 
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Do you have any of the dump files? There'll be DMP files in C:\Windows\Minidump and there may also be a memory.dmp file living in C:\Windows. I'd love to take a look at them through WinDbg. WinDbg usually does a pretty good job pointing to the guilty party. I can give you access to my FTP Server to upload them if you'd like.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:16 am 
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T-Bone wrote:
How's everything going?


msawyer91 wrote:
Do you have any of the dump files? There'll be DMP files in C:\Windows\Minidump and there may also be a memory.dmp file living in C:\Windows. I'd love to take a look at them through WinDbg. WinDbg usually does a pretty good job pointing to the guilty party. I can give you access to my FTP Server to upload them if you'd like.


Still running into issues here. Since I ran through the steps I posted above I haven't had the server freeze up during video playback (although I haven't watched much tv/movies of late so could just be coincidence). The issue I have is that my server unexpectedly restarts. I don't know if it is just restarting or if it is a BSOD b/c typically by the time I figure it out it has already gone past the BSOD screen (if there is one) so I can't see if there is an error code.

There were actually dump files from one of the previous times that I tried reading through to find the culprit but didn't have much luck. Appreciate the offer msawyer, when I get home I will see if I still have the dump files and if so shoot you a message. This is extremely frustrating as otherwise the system works well. I believe it has to be a driver/compatibility issue somewhere

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:12 pm 
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Any luck on those dump files? I can give you an FTP location where to send them.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:18 pm 
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msawyer91 wrote:
Any luck on those dump files? I can give you an FTP location where to send them.


Sorry, was stuck on jury duty for all of January, so now finally getting back to normal here. I actually put aside the Mini dump and memory files which I can have sent over to you.

Actually ran into more issues a few nights ago where I got the BSOD 3 separate times within an hour when my son was trying to watch a movie.

I am convinced it is a driver issue ...

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:00 am 
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That would be driving me nuts for sure. I hope your able to pin point where the problem is and resolve it quickly. My server did a shut down on me a couple weeks ago but I was messing with my UPS Software but the system restart occurred when I was not there so its bothers me but when I think about what your going through its not so bad and appears to only be an isolated incident when I myself may have created.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:16 am 
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Comp1962 wrote:
That would be driving me nuts for sure. I hope your able to pin point where the problem is and resolve it quickly. My server did a shut down on me a couple weeks ago but I was messing with my UPS Software but the system restart occurred when I was not there so its bothers me but when I think about what your going through its not so bad and appears to only be an isolated incident when I myself may have created.


Yup, I am slowly going nuts :D Typically I get the same few BSOD messages, and when I search about them one of the common themes is a possible driver issue (hopefully sending over the dumps to MSawyer he can isolate the culprit b/c I haven't had any luck). When I first set up this server, the Mobo installation disk did not work (was not supported by WS2012E) so I had to try and pick/choose what drivers to use. To further complicate things, there was an issue with the LGA 1155/Z77 chipset that my motherboard use and the Intel NIC drivers. Can't find the post but there is a workaround I had to do with the drivers to get them installed correctly. Honestly Have been tempted to throw out this motherboard and start over with a new one since at this point W8/WS2012E support should be more commonplace.

Side note, finally got a new W8 tablet/laptop Hybrid (HP Split). The thing is pretty kick as$ :D

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 12:10 pm 
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One of my pet peeves with WS2012E is that it likes to change my INTEL NIC Drivers from the ones I prefer to use to the ones Microsoft thinks are better and this also occurs interestingly in Windows 8. So I would take a close look at your NIC Drivers to see if they are what you has installed.

:offtopic:

Happy to hear you like the HP Split. I actually backed out on a tablet for the time being because I was not sure I would really put it to full use and the last thing I need is another toy to lug around that I would not use. However when the time comes when I am going to look again I will inquire how that HP Split is working out for you.

:ontopic:

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 12:24 pm 
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Comp1962 wrote:
One of my pet peeves with WS2012E is that it likes to change my INTEL NIC Drivers from the ones I prefer to use to the ones Microsoft thinks are better and this also occurs interestingly in Windows 8. So I would take a close look at your NIC Drivers to see if they are what you has installed.

:offtopic:

Happy to hear you like the HP Split. I actually backed out on a tablet for the time being because I was not sure I would really put it to full use and the last thing I need is another toy to lug around that I would not use. However when the time comes when I am going to look again I will inquire how that HP Split is working out for you.

:ontopic:


Yeah, I did pull the drivers directly from Intel again just to make sure. Maybe it is not that, but a majority of the time I have gotten the BSOD it is when files were being accessed over the network (either streaming to a media player or accessing on my desktop pc to encode via handbrake). Also, if you remember I initially had dual LANs running but this was preventing remote access from working, and in general the dual mobo LANs just seemed to be running into issues, so I disabled them and instead an using an NIC card (Intel card from my previous server) ...

:offtopic:

Funny enough, my W8 tablet turns on / boots up in under 5 seconds which blows away iPad/Android. Love the fact that it has 2 batteries (one in the tablet itself and one in the keyboard). The tablet has a 120GB SSD drive and the keyboard has a 500GB drive. For the most part when I use the keyboard is attached (I have been watching a lot of tv shows on at home while everyone is asleep). I use just the tablet mode when I am doing cardio so I can have the tablet just sit on the treadmill and watch a show. I just set up XBMC on it and either stream from my server when home or most often I just copy shows over directly to the hard drive to watch (the laptop does have wireless ac so I want to get an ac router as well to really test the difference in wireless signal/streaming).

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:12 pm 
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The way I know my NIC Drivers changed is because the drivers for my NIC Card come with a teaming setup and testing things that basically get taken out when WS2012E changes the drivers. Now the drives Microsoft installs are ok and they work its just I prefer the drivers that I have. Now its been quite sometime since I addressed this issue because I have other things I need to address but when I get to it I will see if I can stop the server from changing my NIC Drivers and I am using an Intel PRO CT Dual NIC Card but for the moment its not really being used as I am running off the motherboard NIC for the time being.

:offtopic:

I don't have time to watch cool stuff on a tablet. My Android tablet takes forever to turn on or so it seems but I got that specifically for a GPS Application and it fits very nicely in the dash of my Mazda 6. Only media I play on the tablet or cell phone is when I am demonstrating what you can do with a server and the right software. Sometimes that's all it takes for me to sell a server.

:ontopic:

Have you also looked at your Drive Controller Card Drivers to see if they have changed in anyway? Hopefully Matt will spot something to point you in the right direction because if you take that beast of a server to the drive way to drive over it your going to need a Red Neck Vehicle to drive over it and I think the server will win that one and annoy the person driving over it.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:27 pm 
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Not sure if you have seen Office Space but if you have I came close to re enacting the fax machine scene with my server :D Hopefully the answer is in the dump files. I am still tempted to just scrap that mobo (which I paid a premium for a lot of bells & whistles that I am not using) and get a newer one which should have better driver support, keep things simple. I have already checked the rest of my hardware (RAM, HDDs, etc...) and everything else is working fine. This problem has existed since the beginning of the build IIRC, at the time I just assumed the restarts was something WS2012E related with maintenance since I would never see the BSOD (b/c of the way my monitor was connected)

Oh, and the only other tech/geek thing I have done of late, installed a Nest Smoke Detector and Thermostat :D

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:18 pm 
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dbone1026 wrote:
msawyer91 wrote:
Any luck on those dump files? I can give you an FTP location where to send them.


Sorry, was stuck on jury duty for all of January, so now finally getting back to normal here. I actually put aside the Mini dump and memory files which I can have sent over to you.

Actually ran into more issues a few nights ago where I got the BSOD 3 separate times within an hour when my son was trying to watch a movie.

I am convinced it is a driver issue ...


Hopefully you found the defendant guilty as charged. ;)

I'll PM you with FTP details. Hopefully I can shed some light on the problem(s).

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:30 pm 
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Dbone1026 Hows the install of Ws2012 r2 going? its been a while but figured it would be nice to find out how others are fairing. Also your blog is not longer active (sad face).


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