Preventive Maintenance on Server

June 3, 2009 at 15:58:59
Specs: Macintosh

I work pretty extensively in desktop support. Sometimes, when I don't have much work to do, I'll start doing prep work for other projects or just preventive maintenance and doing a general checkup. A big part of the purpose is just to stay busy. If someone is paying me for an eight hour day, they don't want me just sitting around. Sometimes my boss also wants me to put on a good show for clients to make them feel at ease. Some tasks are just information gathering to find things that could be potentially a problem in the future, or to relay that information to another tech who may be working on it. So I have a lot of things I can do on a desktop where the user isn't experiencing any problems.

For a Windows desktop, I'll check Event Viewer, I'll run Disk Cleanup, Disk Defragmenter, sfc /scannow, memtest, virus and other malware scans, Windows Update, etc. I can get a lot of progress bars going and just monitor them while doing other work.

My question is what maintenance and checkups can I do on a Windows Server. I don't really work much with servers, but sometimes I need to babysit a Windows server until the MCSE guy arrives and I'm sure it could be helpful if I told him I ran this scan or that scan while waiting. Is there an equivalent to what I'm doing on a Windows desktop that I can do on a Windows server? And we can assume the server is running a bunch of good stuff like: domain controller, IIS, DNS, VPN, DHCP, etc. Also, is there anything I can do for Exchange as well?

And just to be clear, let me ask this question in another way. If you went to a small business and there was a Windows server and no one was experiencing any problems, but they guy said, can you just check it anyway for the next two hours to make sure everything is okay, what would you do on the server?

Thanks all!

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June 3, 2009 at 16:17:23
You can do pretty much the same things you do on a desktop. I would advise against running the system file checker and you probably don't want to do a memory test, as then the server would be offline.

In addition, most servers have software for monitoring the hardware (such as the RAID array and voltages) which you should review to make sure everything is normal.

-Ryan Adams
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June 9, 2009 at 13:43:54
check disk space remaining
run chdksk to see if there are disk errors
review the event viewer logs for red errors
run disk defragmenter to get the report only
run nslookup to confirm dns is working
use nbtstat to check wins/netbios is working
check to see if there are available updates

All of the above are nonintrustive. You would not want run defrag, for example, due to the impact that can have on file server performance.

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June 9, 2009 at 13:44:23
bad wan link!

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June 17, 2009 at 10:35:18
That is one of those tricky questions which depends on your business model. If asked I would always suggest that we wait until later in the night just in case something goes quirky. I would run scans for malware, root-kits, and other intrusive applications. Check all the system applications an make sure they are set to start if the server reboots. I don't run an in house server thou. I run a dedicated Server hosted with Server Intellect on a large network. This allows me to have a support team looking at the server so I don't have to wait for the MSCE guy coming two hours later. Plus they run most of the scans I request at the hours I need. So I get to sleep at night=) Many companys are running managed servers now just for that reason.

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