How to diagnose some common workstation problems and solutions

Are you facing any kind of workstation problems? First, check its efficiency. If the workstation is in good shape, you are less likely to face any major workstation problem but there are some very common problems which users face now and then. This article presents easy solutions to such problems.

How to know the working efficiency of my workstation?

The different ways of checking the working efficiency of a workstation are stated below.

  • An easy way to check the performance of your workstation is through the Monitor screen on server. Choose 'Connections' and press Enter button on the user connection name to view the connection details.

  • Else, use Novell NetWare Remote Manager for this. First, start the program either directly or through Web Manager. Next, click the Connections menu item under Manage Server. This will show you all connection information including login time, login status, connection type, resulting kilobytes- both read and written. If the user's name is visible in the connection list, this means that the network connection is in good shape.

  • If you are using Windows 2000 or higher versions, follow the sequence given below to view the performance details.

    Select Control Panel >Administrative Tools >Performance utility

    But if you are using Windows NT Workstation computers, the Performance Monitor will tell you about the functioning efficiency of the workstation. To start Performance Monitor, follow the sequence given below.

    Select Start >Programs >Administrative Tools >Performance Monitor.

    Now check the Memory-Page Faults/second. If this number is more than the double of what you see during normal operation, the computer needs more RAM to work effectively. Similarly, if the Network-Bytes Total/second is very high, you need to increase the speed of your network. If the Network-Output Queue Length shows more than two packets at a time, network delays are likely and a bottleneck needs to be investigated. If the Processor- Processor% Time is more than 80%, you need to alleviate the machine load.

  • Common workstation problems & solutions

    Some problems are common to all PC workstations but Windows generally faces more problems than Unix, Linux or Macintosh. Some typical problems and solutions are given below.

    Problem 1: Workstation can't connect to the Server


  • Check the workstation cable to the wall and the network adapter. The patch cables running between the plug and the workstation may be out of socket. Check the link between the plug and the wiring closet as its common for new cabling installation to bump and loosen old cabling. Also, adding a card to one slot may loosen cards in other slots. Patch cables can loosen the adapters when tugged.

  • Verify that the port on the wiring concentrator is working. Switch the connection (in which problem has occurred) with a good connection into a reliable port.

  • Check the frame type. The default frame type for early versions of NetWare 4 was not Ethernet (as in NetWare 3). Thus, many managers forget to check the frame type when upgrading the system.

  • Check for a locked account. Due to the use of intruder detection systems, stations get locked out of the network if too many unsuccessful login attempts have been made.

  • Verify that all the workstation files were loaded properly. Some changes in the workstation use network memory and error messages are, at times, so fast that they are missed by users.

  • Check timeout values for WAN links. WAN links are less reliable than LAN links and take longer time. Some workstations may timeout before reaching the remote server or getting authenticated properly. In this case, increase the SPX timeout value.

  • Check hubs & routers. Wiring hubs rarely fail. They may become unplugged though. Check if the computers connected to a hub are able to communicate. If routers are flaky on a port, then reset the port.

  • Verify that the server sees the workstation request. Use the TRACK ON command to monitor the requests.

  • If none of the above solutions work, reboot the workstation.

  • Problem 2: Workstation can't use an Application


  • Find out the recent changes made on the workstation. Some new utility may have changed the critical DLLs or a new Windows application may have modified the Registry. Remove such programs.

  • Check the user's rights. This problem usually occurs with new applications. Check all the application directories created by the installation as instead of being placed under one main directory, they may be placed under two. A new directory or two is often added at the time of upgrade. Grant rights to another directories so that the user has rights to use application files in these oddly placed directories.

  • Check the flags. Most applications should have flags set to Read-Only and Sharable. If an application was Read-Only when backed up, it may become Normal when restored by tape. If someone then accidentally erases some of the application files, the application would stop working.

  • Check if the application needs NetBIOS. If it is needed, load it on the workstation and set up batch files so that NetBIOS can be loaded and unloaded after the application is used.

  • Problem 3: Workstation shows 'Not Enough Memory' error


  • Find out the changes made on the workstation. If a working network client suddenly shows less memory, something has changed and you need to bring it to the original. Check the drivers & TSR programs.

  • Unload sneaky resident programs. Some applications like fax and email programs can take up memory without explaining their presence to the user.

  • Beware of the network client software upgrade as they often require more memory than the previous versions.

  • Problem 4: Windows doesn't work right


  • Check to see that the user has logged in from correct workstation. Shared Windows files on the server save time for administration but if the user logs in from an incorrect or different workstation, details like permanent swap file will be different on the machine. Here, functionality is dependent on correct workstation configuration.

  • Check System Resources or Task Manager before and after loading an application as this will give you an idea of the needs of the application's resource. Accordingly, you can keep or unload an application.

  • Get a good uninstall program for Windows. Many applications, even after being uninstalled, don't clean themselves well.

  • Read How to install Windows 10 on VMware Workstation


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