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Network Troubleshooting: Restarting a Network Server

Sometimes, the only way to flush out a network problem is to restart the network server that’s experiencing trouble. Restarting a network server is something you should do only as a last resort. Windows Server is designed to run for months or even years at a time without rebooting. Restarting a server invariably results in a temporary shutdown of the network.

If you must restart a server, try to do it during off hours if possible.

Before you restart a server, check whether a specific service that’s required has been paused or stopped. You may be able to just restart the individual service rather than the entire server.

Here’s the basic procedure for restarting a network server:

  1. Make sure that everyone is logged off the server.

    The easiest way to do that is to restart the server after normal business hours, when everyone has gone home for the day. Then, you can just shut down the server and let the shutdown process forcibly log off any remaining users.

  2. After you’re sure the users have logged off, shut down the network server.

    You want to do this step behaving like a good citizen if possible — decently, and in order. Use the Start→Shut Down command to shut down the server. This summons a dialog box that requires you to indicate the reason for the shutdown. The information you supply here is entered into the server’s System log, which you can review by using Event Viewer.

  3. Reboot the server computer or turn it off and then on again.

    Watch the server start up to make sure that no error messages appear.

  4. Tell everyone to log back on and make sure that everyone can now access the network.

Heed the following when you consider restarting the network server:

  • Restarting the network server is more drastic than restarting a client computer. Make sure that everyone saves his or her work and logs off the network before you do it! You can cause major problems if you blindly turn off the server computer while users are logged on.

  • Obviously, restarting a network server is a major inconvenience to every network user. Better offer treats.

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