Another reason SBCore could shut down your server

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Earlier this month an associate pinged me about an unusual situation. He had an SBS 2003 server that was shutting itself down periodically, claiming that it was doing so because there was another SBS server in the domain. Well, this is expected behavior if there is, in fact, another SBS server in the domain, but this particular network had only one server, the SBS sever, and not a single other server or history of another server in the network. Another unusual symptom of the behavior is that the server would remain up for a little over 24 hours before it would shut itself down because of the phantom SBS server. According to
MS KB 925652 the SBS server will shut down every hour if it detects another SBS server in the domain, so clearly a different set of events were causing this behavior. The server was logging SBCore 1011 errors in the event logs, but only after the server had been online for about a day.

On a tip from a colleague at MS, we started to look for a possible memory leak in the system. I worked with my colleague to set up perfwiz and poolmon to try to identify the process (or processes) that were leaking. The theory was that a runaway leak could strip the server of valuable no-paged pool memory which could cause the SBCore check to fail and generate the errors and shutdown event. I must admit, perfwiz and poolmon never were my strong points, so even after we got some results back, the review didn’t come up with a smoking gun.

Then my associate found a tip that I’d not heard of before, even though I regularly modify settings where this tip was found. He opened the Task Manger on the server, selected the Processes tab, then opened Select Columns under the View menu. In here, he enabled the “Memory – Non-paged Pool” column and then sorted the Task Manager process list by that column. Sure enough, he not only quickly found the culprit, but also could sit and watch the Non-paged Pool count grow steadily right before his eyes. The service causing the problem? spoolsv.exe, the print spooler service.

A quick bit of Googling on his part ultimately led him to
this post from Tek-Tips which helped him identify the root cause of the problem: HP Standard TCP/IP ports for printers on the sever. He changed the port types for the printers from HP Standard TCP/IP ports to Standard TCP/IP ports, and the server hasn’t shut down again since.

Turns out, there is a KB on this situation, too,
MS KB 933999. And in going back and looking further, the server was logging the Srv 2019 errors in the event logs as well. Since we were sidetracked by the anomalous SBCore behavior, we did overlook the 2019 as a possible factor as well.

In the end, I learned two things from this. One, you can track non-paged pool memory usage in Task Manager (which really isn’t a *revelation* per se, just something that I wouldn’t have necessarily deliberately gone out and looked for), and two, memory leak issues can cause anomalous SBCore errors and the shutdown of an SBS server. The good news is that the server was shutting down “normally” because of the SBCore misfire instead of totally running out of non-paged pool memory and crashing, as MS KB 933999 points out can happen. Bottom line, customer happy, and tech support further educated!