Huge lag when connected to work network

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Huge lag when connected to work network

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:18 pm

I work at a large office with a network supporting several thousand workstations, several networking drives etc. Anytime I try to access any file, my computer has equal chances of
1)opening the file immediately, as expected
2)completely hanging for ~14 seconds before opening the file or
3)completely hanging for ~20 seconds before opening the file.

It's either 0, 14 or 20 seconds. Not 7, not 16. I've checked everything I can think of that windows monitors and nothing is happening during that time as far as I can tell. It's not pegging the CPU, hard drive, ram etc. This happens whether the file is on the network, or on the local drive. It doesn't matter how big the file is (though after the lag large files or programs will take a few seconds to load normally). It also happens when I open programs, right click any icons, or try to copy a file. It seems to be random whether it's 0, 14 or 20 seconds even if I do the same thing many times in a row.

If I unplug from the network, the problem immediately goes away. It immediately returns when I plug back in. If I use the shortcut keys on my keyboard to launch programs, they launch instantly with no lag. If I log into the network from another computer, there's no problem. I haven't had a chance to see what happens if someone else logs into my computer but I'll try that. The IT guys have no idea how to fix it and just ran windows cleanup and defragmented the hard drive.

I don't have administrator privileges so there's only so many things I can try myself but anything I should have the IT guys try? I might have to make them reformat and start all over.
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Re: Huge lag when connected to work network

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:20 pm

wagsbags wrote:I work at a large office with a network supporting several thousand workstations, several networking drives etc.

There's a company in Michigan, let alone Ann Arbor area that has 1000s of workstations?! Is it one of the big3?
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Re: Huge lag when connected to work network

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:23 pm

Lol, I haven't been very active for a while. Just updated my signature. And to answer your question, I doubt it.
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Re: Huge lag when connected to work network

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:25 pm

Oh man, I need to plug in some resumes to the Maryland area... no idea how many "large" employer's are based there!

Link for reference: http://dc.about.com/od/jobs/a/LargeEmpMD.htm
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Re: Huge lag when connected to work network

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:31 pm

I'm merely taking a few stabs in the dark here, but...

Have you tried a different network cable?

Have you tried connecting the computer to a different port on the network switch?

Do you have any drive letters that are mapped to network drives? If so, does unmapping them have any effect?

Check your environment variables and make sure there aren't any network drives in your search path.
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Re: Huge lag when connected to work network

Postposted on Mon Aug 29, 2011 9:50 pm

I'm guessing it's either a network drive in the path like JBI suggests, or the Corporate anti-virus or access monitor phoning home to a server somewhere on the network that is a bit slow. It will work instantly when disconnected as it will know it is disconnected and not bother checking. The 0 seconds may be if it has it in local cache vs 14 seconds for primary server to work on it or 20 seconds for backup server.

Not sure what the rules are like, but I always like to sniff the network to troubleshoot those type of issues, but you may be banned from doing that. Even if you are allowed, you'd need a hub and another PC in promiscuous mode as you don't have administrative rights to capture the packets on that one. If you have good IT guys they may just sniff the net anyway during a file open to see what it is doing.
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Re: Huge lag when connected to work network

Postposted on Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:25 am

I tried a different network cable and port, no go. There are mapped network drives and I tried unmapping them but that didn't help either. Although they automatically map on startup so if it requires a reboot to help I can't check that. I don't see any network drives in the environmental variables. I can do some network pinging in the command prompt but I can't install on programs.

notfred wrote:If you have good IT guys

Yeah....about that....
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Re: Huge lag when connected to work network

Postposted on Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:49 am

I would say it's a network card or driver problem, possibly a dns issue.
I would ipconfig /flushdns
set your DNS statically
reinstall the nicdriver.
if it's part of a domain, you can remove it and add it back, i've seen that do wonders for weird problems like that.
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Re: Huge lag when connected to work network

Postposted on Tue Aug 30, 2011 11:23 am

How do you support "several thousand workstations" yet you don't have admin rights?
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Re: Huge lag when connected to work network

Postposted on Tue Aug 30, 2011 11:40 am

d0g_p00p wrote:How do you support "several thousand workstations" yet you don't have admin rights?

Easy. He said he works at a place with the NETWORK supporting 1000s of users. I work in a similar workspace.

They install SOE images on our laptops and restrict our access even if we do have Administrative rights, kinda like a sudo without full access.
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Re: Huge lag when connected to work network

Postposted on Tue Aug 30, 2011 12:33 pm

Yup. So worst case scenario I'll have them reinstall the SOE, which would presumably fix the problem. It'd be annoying but less annoying than waiting 14 or 20 seconds anytime I try to do ANYTHING.
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Re: Huge lag when connected to work network

Postposted on Tue Aug 30, 2011 12:38 pm

also try netsh winsock reset catalog
or/and netsh int ip reset
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Re: Huge lag when connected to work network

Postposted on Tue Aug 30, 2011 12:53 pm

"Access is denied" :P

Guess I'd better get the IT guys involved again.
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Re: Huge lag when connected to work network

Postposted on Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:37 pm

wagsbags wrote:It's either 0, 14 or 20 seconds. Not 7, not 16. I've checked everything I can think of that windows monitors and nothing is happening during that time as far as I can tell. It's not pegging the CPU, hard drive, ram etc. This happens whether the file is on the network, or on the local drive. It doesn't matter how big the file is (though after the lag large files or programs will take a few seconds to load normally). It also happens when I open programs, right click any icons, or try to copy a file. It seems to be random whether it's 0, 14 or 20 seconds even if I do the same thing many times in a row.

(my bolds, not wagsbags)

The fact you can login to another computer and the problem doesn't exist suggests to me you have some sort of registry issue in WinXP. I'd have them re-image your system if that's possible. Had a few beers here, but it seems like Windows is the culprit if it happens locally as well as on network files.

Does anyone know if loading the context menu in XP on a file (which has to load the Send To thing (which might include a networked drive), etc.) tries to access networked drives before it will pop up? That could explain the latency, if it is some sort of weird network issue?

Have you ran Malware Bytes / virus scans / is your XP fully updated? The fact you think it happens at specific seconds suggests something is really amiss. You admit, though, that large files can take a second or two, so are you certain those times are accurate? The accuracy of the timing suggests foul play: if you're just estimating and it's not really close to those times, maybe you are just averaging some recent ones in your head or something? Seems weird there would be static-lags on opening files, locally and on a network.

What kind of computer do you have? Is the hard drive full? Ram? etc.?

Edit: Also, have you tried something like an Ubuntu live-cd and connected it? Might be against corporate policy, but it would rule out your hardware?
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Re: Huge lag when connected to work network

Postposted on Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:27 pm

One of our clients had a similar problem while trying to open files across the network under a user with NO admin privileges.
When did this start happening? Have any changes been made on your computer prior to the problem? In other has your computer ever worked normally?
Check if your computer has any network printers that are inaccessible and/or no longer available.
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Re: Huge lag when connected to work network

Postposted on Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:33 pm

Agreed michael_d, but it seems like there's something messed up, like the OS is running out looking for something networked (like a printer, or a networked drive, or whatever). When the network isn't active, it just works fine, reportedly.

If that's the case, it's not *necessarily* an issue with a network, but with how the OS is handling those requests it has.

As an aside lots of programs and things try to get added to the context menus in Windows. If even one of those is trying to hit a network-resource, that could explain the issues... if the client has no connection, just load the menu normally, but if the client is attached to a network, go try to grab it. And each could have their own time-outs.

What surprised me was the idea of the consistency of the times. That seems registry related if accurate: why? because it would take roughly the same time to process the mess in there.
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Re: Huge lag when connected to work network

Postposted on Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:26 pm

thegleek wrote:
d0g_p00p wrote:How do you support "several thousand workstations" yet you don't have admin rights?

Easy. He said he works at a place with the NETWORK supporting 1000s of users. I work in a similar workspace.

They install SOE images on our laptops and restrict our access even if we do have Administrative rights, kinda like a sudo without full access.


My bad, I read that wrong.
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Re: Huge lag when connected to work network

Postposted on Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:31 pm

d0g_p00p wrote:My bad, I read that wrong.

Well, it *was* slightly ambiguous as worded.

Where I work, we've got limited control over our Windows server and Active Directory controller; only corporate (halfway across the country) has full admin rights on the Windows side of the network. At least we've got full control over the Linux side of things... and probably wouldn't trust corporate to manage that part of it anyway! :lol:
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Re: Huge lag when connected to work network

Postposted on Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:07 pm

The "or on a local drive" is suspect. When you say on a local drive are you talking about your local hard drive or are you talking about a network share that's local? Typically this happens with crappy Broadcom NICS on network shares. It could also be due to a registry problem, but the fact that this problem only occurs when the network cord is plugged in leads me to believe it's your NIC or the drivers that support it. Try using a discrete NIC (preferably Intel) and see how that goes.
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Re: Huge lag when connected to work network

Postposted on Tue Aug 30, 2011 11:42 pm

The computer is a core 2 duo 2.66ghz with 4GB. During the freeze there is no uptick in CPU, RAM or hard drive usage. I tested the times by opening a newly created, empty text document. I tried maybe 20 times and got a roughly equal distribution of 0, 14 and 20 seconds. I didn't time larger files but they are in the same ballpark. The 'freeze' happens and then the file/program takes a few seconds to load if it's large.

I wish I could remember what changed when it slowed down but unfortunately I don't. But it didn't used to be like this.

I've looked and I can't find any network locations that are no longer active.

By "local hard drive" I mean the C: drive physically mounted in the computer.

I could bring in a boot disk but I wouldn't be able to connect to our network without the SOE so I'm not sure if it will tell me much.
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Re: Huge lag when connected to work network

Postposted on Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:10 pm

If you want to get to the bottom of it, you can use the tools and techniques that Mark Russinovich demonstrates in his blog (such as here and here) -- though you may need admin privs to do some of that. But honestly, if this is an IT-supported machine and it is not performing correctly, it's their problem and they should fix it.
computron9000 wrote:As an aside lots of programs and things try to get added to the context menus in Windows. If even one of those is trying to hit a network-resource, that could explain the issues... if the client has no connection, just load the menu normally, but if the client is attached to a network, go try to grab it. And each could have their own time-outs.
Well, the context menu handlers are in
HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Shell Extensions\Approved
as well as various other spots (search the registry for ShellEx)
You can see all of them at once using a tool like AutoRuns from the afore-mentioned Russinovich / SysInternals

But it's not clear if this only happens from explorer, or whenever "accessing a file" from any program (without bringing up a file open dialog).
computron9000 wrote:What surprised me was the idea of the consistency of the times. That seems registry related if accurate: why? because it would take roughly the same time to process the mess in there.
The registry is cached; you wouldn't see consistent times between the first and second case, and it wouldn't take that long no matter what the "mess." Multi-second delays with consistent duration like that screams "hardware time-out" to me.
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Re: Huge lag when connected to work network

Postposted on Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:05 pm

-Do a virus scan.
-Disable all security applications (Anti Virus, firewall, etc.) if any are installed.
-Terminate one by one running processes/services.
-Disconnect your computer from any peripheral devices if any are connected.
-Try to log into windows under your profile but different computer and see how it behaves.
-Try to log into windows under another profile on your computer and see how it behaves.
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Re: Huge lag when connected to work network

Postposted on Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:49 am

Well I don't know what the problem was but they replaced the hard drive and the problem has gone away. So some kind of setting somewhere must have gotten messed up. Thanks for the help!
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Re: Huge lag when connected to work network

Postposted on Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:49 am

Perhaps. The hard drive could have also been seeking bad sectors causing intermittent quasi-"freeze-ups".
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