Tales from the Trenches: Network Nemesis
Only a hunch saved the day.
- By Ted C. Beard
I went to a client site where users were having problems
logging on to the network. We had just installed WatchGuard
Technologies, Inc.’s WatchGuard SOHO and a Hewlett Packard
ProCurve switch (the 4000M) two weeks before the problems
started. User workstations running Windows 95 were purchased
off-the-shelf from CompUSA, so the workstations still
had the usual freebie home programs.
We hadn’t optimized the PCs yet, so we did that. I then
pummeled the servers and workstations for problems. I
found that the server had only 95M of free space left
on the boot partition (a possible problem, but probably
not the cause of our current error). Servers and workstations
had IPX/SPX on them along with TCP/IP and NetBEUI. I removed
IPX from all and rebooted. I ended up downloading the
latest firmware for the HP switch and assigning it a static
IP. Still the issue of intermittent connection to the
After many hours and days poring over the system at the
client site, I questioned all users again. Again, no new
On a hunch, I decided to wipe out the Network Neighborhood
properties and see if that helped. Upon reboot, PnP detected
the NIC; halfway through install, it asked for Client32
disk No. 1. What?! I asked the folks at the client site
if the network used to be Novell-based. Of course! Whoever
had changed over the network to Microsoft hadn’t done
it properly, yet had successfully removed all visual signs
of Novell and Client32 from the servers and workstations.
I used Novell Client32 uninstall on all workstations and
deleted all Network Neighborhood properties, and the network
logon problem was solved.
Ted C. Beard, MCSE, MCP+I, is a Senior Technician for Network Business Systems.