Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Week 29 Article 01 - Bloody ATI drivers!!

Platform: Windows 2003 SBS Server

On restart, server was hanging on Applying Computer Settings . After 15 minutes of wait, a forced shutdown was done and on restart,after the Windows Logo was displayed, the screen went black! Successive restarts didnt result in anything different!

Troubleshooting Steps:
1. Tried booting into Last Known Good Configuration, but after the Windows Logo, the screen went black.
2. Was able to boot into Safe mode and Safe Mode with Networking. In Safe Mode with Networking, was able to access the internet. Was able to ping the server from another pc. Checked everything. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Did find some eventlog entries that suggested that Active Directory had got some corrupt entries and it was trying to heal itself.
3. Thought the black screen was due to Active Directory corruption (see 2. above). Went into Directory Restore but this resulted in a black screen as well.
4. Did suspect that it could be the display drivers but after waiting for 10min, it still didnt allow me to RDP into it.
5. Left the Server to start normally and went for a walk to relax for 20 min.
6. Came back and just by chance thought of doing a telnet to port 25 to see if SMTP was up. Viola! Something replied. Next, tried RDP to server. Was able to login to server remotely, but console was still black. Had a look in the eventlogs through the RDP session. Found that the ATI drivers had crashed!. Uninstalled the drivers. Allowed Windows to reconfigure the display drivers when it restarted and all was normal again! I was able to get display on console, the server started in normal time and all users were happy.

Moral of the Story:
You could be the best person out there, but sometimes all it takes is abit of paitence!

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