locked
Can WHS "blacklist" a MAC address? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Like many others, I was plauged by a Vista x86 client that "all of a sudden" lost the ability to connect to my WHS.  I ran through every conceivable configuration/troubleshooting mechanism and researched the problem extensively.  I like to think of myself as fairly knowledgeable and my troubleshooting got down and dirty but I could never resolve the Net View error that the Semaphore timeout expired from the client side.  Long story short, I decided that a clean reinstall of Vista would be the only conceivable final step.  I did a full Diskpart Clean All and installed Vista Home Premium directly from a FPP dvd.  Also, I was willing to abondon existing back-ups on the WHS to solve the problem so I removed the old machine name from the WHS console.  Just to be sure, when I did the new install of Vista I assigned a new name for the PC.  I also made sure that the Windows user account was totally new and never used before as a user on the WHS.  As I'm sure you can probably guess by now... it didn't work. 

    The totally-clean, differently-named, new-user client is still not able to browse the WHS.  Asside from some James Bond DoD motherboard UUID or something, I can't think of any way that the WHS could possibly recognize this machine except for the MAC addresses.  By the way, problem persists on both interfaces... the wired and wireless adapter.  So, question is... where in WHS could I find out what could be blocking the MAC of my problem machine.  (By the way, I can ping happily all day so we don't have a simple routing issue.  Also, we don't have a Master Browser election issue - nothing in the Event Logs and browstat shows the WHS consistently as the Master Browser on all machines.)

    Here is what I've done to troubleshoot...
    Rebooted all network devices (Linksys GigE switch and AT&T DSL Gateway) - presumably this rebuilt any MAC tables at Layer 2.
    Obviously, the clean install on the client.
    Checked the Registry on Home Server to make sure we don't have too many machines (only shows 4).
    disconnected every other machine from the LAN - shut everything down, including ethernet swtich, and powered up the switch, router, WHS and problem client only.
    Factory reset the AT&T DSL Gateway just in case there was some odd MAC thing going on there.
    Turned off firewalls on WHS and problem client
    arp -d *
    ipconfig /flushdns
    disabled IPV6 on all adapters

    what I have not done:
    Other than rebooting, restarting services, and cleaning cache files, I have not done any serious work in the WHS, for example:
    have not reinstalled network adapter on WHS
    have not reinstalled any windows components

    Other info:
    Nothing funky on the WHS... no WINS, DHCP, DNS apps, etc.  Except for some common add-ins (my movies, etc), it's a plane-jane install.
    3 other clients in the house have no problems - mix of Vista 32bit and 64bit machines.  Everybody else is happy.
    WHS does not show in "Network" on the problem client but I can ping it.
    With all other "happy" mahines off except WHS and problem client, the Net View command fails on the client with system error 53.  Assume this is because while it sees the WHS as the Master Browser, it can not access it to get the host list.  browstat confirms this.

    At this point, my assumption is that there is some corrupted MAC table in the WHS (I've done arp -d *).  Vista client is still totally clean - no AV, up to date, etc.

    Sorry for the long initial post - wanted to paint a full picture.  I would sincerely appreciate any thoughts and welcome questions.

    Thank you

    Monday, November 16, 2009 8:59 PM

Answers

  • Hey guys - thank you both for your responses and help.  The issue is resolved and, in the end, was a painfully simple fix.  With a monitor and keyboard directly into the WHS machine, I removed the Network Interface from the Device Manager MMC.  After it rediscovered the device and reinstalled, all my issues resolved.  So, somehow, tied to that NIC and or driver was some corrupted record of the MAC address of my problem client.  After days and days of frustration, it took 90 seconds to fix.  I guess that is often the case.  Thanks for your help guys. 
    • Marked as answer by TimBoDo Wednesday, November 18, 2009 8:04 PM
    Wednesday, November 18, 2009 8:04 PM

All replies

  • Windows Home Server does use the MAC address of client machines in identifying them, but there's no way it can "blacklist" one. Just to confirm, though:
    • The Windows Home Server connector is installed on the client machine and it backs up without issue?
    • You have verified that the logged-in user on the client machine has the same login id as a user on the server? See this FAQ for more details.
    • You've verified that network configuration is the same on your server and the problem client? Either both use DHCP, or they both show the same ip address range, net mask, DNS server(s), and gateway?
    • Do you have a connection-specific DNS suffix defined?
    • You've tried disconnecting your home network from the Internet (just unplug the cable entering your broadband modem from your ISP and restart everything)?
    What you're describing feels like an authentication issue...

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, November 16, 2009 9:31 PM
    Moderator
  • Thank you, Ken for your questions and for taking a look.  Answers by bullet point here:

     

    • After the fresh install, I'm not able to install the WHS connector.  Install fails because it can not find my WHS and entering the address manually does not work.  So, it's not backing up and it was not backing up prior to the fresh install either.  That was the first clue that I had a problem, it stopped backing up. 
    • I have not added my new user to the WHS yet since I'm not able to install the connector - I have Guest as read-only though so should be able to at least see the shares.
    • Network config confirmed on client and server, both use a DHCP from the ISP Gateway router.  WHS has a fixed assignment in that DHCP pool.
    • Connection-specific DNS Suffix is defined on the ISP Gateway but is the same on all machines showing gateway.2wire.net
    • Yes, I have tried taking the gateway off of the Internet - pulling the phone cord to drop the DSL in my case.  Also, I’m not using the UPNP features to publish the WHS on the Internet.  I only use it on the LAN.

     

    I agree that this seems like an authentication issue but the fact that I wiped the install on the client and problem persists leads me to a corrupted MAC table of some kind.

     

    Thanks again

     

    Monday, November 16, 2009 11:24 PM
  • How did you try to install the Connector software?
    The recommended method would be to load
    http://yourservername:55000
    and install it from there.

    DNS Suffixes are bad, since they instruct the router to redirect the search for the server to the Internet.
    Eventually enable NetBIOS over TCP/IP for the network adapter and/or add an entry for the server to the hosts file.
    For details you can read the FAQ How to Troubleshoot Network Connection Problems with Windows Home Server.

    Good luck
    Olaf
    Tuesday, November 17, 2009 9:00 AM
    Moderator
  • With both the client and the server configured to use DHCP, try a direct connection from one to the other using a standard or (preferable) crossover network cable. They will both use APIPA, and are guaranteed to have IP addresses in the same subnet.

    Also, after you've disconnected your internet connection you really do need to restart everything. Everything includes your router (DSL modem in this case?) switch, server, and home computer with the issue. I don't see where you say you did that.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, November 17, 2009 3:39 PM
    Moderator
  • Thank you Olaf for your post.  The problem client is unable to reach the server in every way from within windows.  Ping works but the browser connection to //servername:55000 times out.  Again, all other client connect without a problem.

    I don't think I can remove the DNS suffixes from the DHCP of my gateway but I have manually enabled NetBIOS over TCP/IP on the adapters and have also tried the static route in the hosts file.  Still no luck.

    At this point, I think I'm going to start reinstalling some drivers and services on the WHS.  I've been reluctant to do that but I've exausted every other possible option that I can think of.  I will post resolution or any futher clues.

    Thanks.
    Tuesday, November 17, 2009 3:43 PM
  • Can you post the output of ipconfig /all on the client and the server?
    Is the client multihomed (has multiple network adapters installed)?
    Does the browser connection work, if you use the ip address instead of the name?
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Wednesday, November 18, 2009 10:44 AM
    Moderator
  • Hey guys - thank you both for your responses and help.  The issue is resolved and, in the end, was a painfully simple fix.  With a monitor and keyboard directly into the WHS machine, I removed the Network Interface from the Device Manager MMC.  After it rediscovered the device and reinstalled, all my issues resolved.  So, somehow, tied to that NIC and or driver was some corrupted record of the MAC address of my problem client.  After days and days of frustration, it took 90 seconds to fix.  I guess that is often the case.  Thanks for your help guys. 
    • Marked as answer by TimBoDo Wednesday, November 18, 2009 8:04 PM
    Wednesday, November 18, 2009 8:04 PM