xp clients - offline folders - always going offline

Discussion in 'Windows Small Business Server' started by Pedro M. Leite, Sep 18, 2009.

  1. Good Morning

    probably an old issue but i cant't find a solution

    sbs 2k3 + xp sp3 clients

    scenario : redirected 'my documents' folder is working, between all client
    machines and laptops.
    BUT !!
    on two xp sp3 machines, the offline folders icon keeps prompting to be
    offline. if users force a syncronization, all goes well, for a few
    minutes, and goes back to offline mode.
    the thing is, no files can be deleted and sometimes, a file gets two
    versions. the local and the server hosted.

    other than that, all seems to be working fine.
    when the offline prompt is active, web access works, outlook works.

    changed the slow connection threshold, but no good.

    the major issue here is that it's the two bosses machines.

    can anyone point me on a solution ??
    thank you
    Pedro M. Leite, Sep 18, 2009
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  2. Pedro:

    Unfortunately it sounds like you are focusing on the symptom and not the
    real problem. But first, I need to make a clarification:

    Redirected folders do not have to be cached offline, and offline folders
    don't have to be redirected folders. You can designate any share as
    cacheable, and you can even make client machines cache every file in a share
    via group policy.

    Offline files and redirected folders are two distinct and separate features,
    although you usually seem them deployed together.

    So, with that in mind, your problem is that your machines are reverting to
    using the offline files cache on a regular basis. This only happens when
    there is a networking problem. So changing the slow link threshold is not
    really addressing that problem. If you were on a WAN then maybe, but on a
    LAN? No such thing as a slow link. Only a link that is on, then flapping
    off, for some reason.

    Possible causes:

    1) Failing network card. Since other machines are fine, the server's NIC is
    probably fine. Look at the client machines.
    2) Bad NIC drivers. Again, look at the client. I carry and use a USB NIC
    for testing this. Verify your USB NIC works as expected on a good machine,
    then try it on a machine with the problem.
    3) Bad wiring. Try moving a machine exhibiting the problem to a location
    where the problem is not occurring. Use the existing network cable as well,
    if the drop goes to a jack in the wall. If *any* part of the run is bad
    then moving cables with the machine won't help you pinpoint the problem. As
    well, move the machine that works to the location of the machine that
    exhibits the symptom and see if it starts flapping.
    4) Improperly set NIC settings. TCP offload, chimney, MTU...all can be
    tweaked and I've seen some places where an older client was not properly
    installed. Even OEMs can provide "custom" images meant for home broadband
    connections. As an aside, always better to try and use a standard image on
    all machines to minimize this.
    5) In rare cases, the user's profile could even be causing trouble. Try
    logging in as a different user, or creating a new user. See if the problem

    Good luck,

    Cliff Galiher, Sep 18, 2009
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  3. Good AFternoon Cliff

    Thank you for the reply.

    thank you for clearing the difference between redirect / offline
    anyway, 'my documents' are redirected and the 'make available offline' is

    given that is inside the lan.

    there is one circumstance that i know for sure.
    on one of the pc, the usual user is always listening to online radio and
    it doesn't fails or stutters while the offline prompt is always jumping.
    i know, media players buffer the broadcast for a few seconds. just a side

    ok, i'll go through your pointers and see if any of the fixes the thing.

    i'll start with another user and the same user on a different pc.

    this happens on two identical pc, same room, same usual two users. boss #1
    and boss #2.

    thank you.
    Pedro Leite.
    Pedro M. Leite, Sep 18, 2009
  4. I agree with Cliff's suggestions, plus the possibility of the network
    switch, which could have some bad ports while others work as expected.
    Since in your case you've ruled out the PC, I would start by swapping out
    the patch cables at each end. If that doesn't fix it, plug the user into a
    switch port where the port's previous user had not seen this problem.

    One other thing you could look at - assuming the users use Outlook in Cached
    Exchange Mode, have them pay attention to the status in the lower right
    corner of the Outlook window. If Outlook is going on/offline at the time
    Offline Files is reporting as offline, that points to hardware. If Outlook
    never goes offline, you might have to look at something else. Outlook is
    designed to accommodate flaky connectivity, so they might not notice it
    unless they're paying attention to the status.

    FWIW, the few times I've seen this it's been NIC drivers. However, in your
    case, having the problem follow onto a new PC seems to almost surely rule
    that out.
    Dave Nickason [SBS MVP], Sep 18, 2009
  5. Pedro: Your observation of internet radio is correct. Streaming protocols
    buffer in the seconds. The detection of a network going offline only takes
    milliseconds. A flaky network can definitely cause the behavior you are
    seeing where the system shifts offline but internet radio keeps working.

    Cliff Galiher, Sep 18, 2009
  6. That really sounds like hardware to me. Have you got an extra switch you
    could swap in temporarily to see if that makes a difference?

    No wireless here, right?

    I'm not certain, but suspect that the two machines both use the Intel
    Pro 100 VE NIC. The machine that was downstairs was moved into the
    office upstairs and was also problematic there. I switched it out
    with another one and had similar issues. Outlook does go offline when
    this happens.
    Dave Nickason [SBS MVP], Sep 19, 2009
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