Windows Advisor

Windows Advisor: Windows Server Adrift

A reader wants to know why his server's Application Log is awash in Event ID 1054 errors.

Q. Our domain controller has 4GB of RAM and an AMD Opteron dual-core processor, and we're running Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition. The Application Log on the server has numerous errors with Event ID 1054. The source of the error is Userenv, and the error is logged in the Event Viewer every five minutes. The error states the following:

Windows cannot obtain the domain controller name for your computer network. (An unexpected network error occurred.) Group Policy processing aborted.

We're experiencing several network-performance issues. How do I get rid of this error?

A. This is a known issue with AMD dual-core processors. Each processor on a dual-core or multiprocessor system has a time-stamp counter. When these counters for different processors are out of sync, you get what's known as a time-stamp counter drift. When that happens, you're likely to experience problems with your network communications and performance monitoring. On domain controllers, the error you described is a typical error.

As a workaround, use the PM_timer instead of the time-stamp counter. If you're using Service Pack 2 (SP2), Windows Server 2003 uses PM_timer automatically. If you aren't using SP2, you can use the /usepmtimer switch in the boot.ini to force AMD processors to use it.

According to Microsoft, the problem with the AMD chipset is that it doesn't always accurately determine whether to use the PM_timer or the time-stamp counter. Microsoft also says that if you have SP2, you don't need to add the /usepmtimer switch.

However, I've noticed the error you described on computers that have SP2 installed. I should also point out that Microsoft's Knowledge Base article 938448 says that this issue is related to AMD Opteron processors, but you may experience this problem on AMD dual-core Athlon processors as well.

About the Author

Zubair Alexander, MCSE, MCT, MCSA and Microsoft MVP is the founder of SeattlePro Enterprises, an IT training and consulting business. His experience covers a wide range of spectrum: trainer, consultant, systems administrator, security architect, network engineer, author, technical editor, college instructor and public speaker. Zubair holds more than 25 technical certifications and Bachelor of Science degrees in Aeronautics & Astronautics Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Information Systems. His Web site,, is dedicated to technical resources for IT professionals. Zubair may be reached at


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