Pulling my hair out

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I spent just about all of my work day troubleshooting issues with a new PC I just setup last week and it’s driving me crazy!

This is a new OEM of Windows XP Pro, updated to SP2, running Office 2000. There were two issues, both of which involved spooling processes and timeouts. One was sending print jobs to a network printer, the other sending attachments in Outlook. Both would get done fine for very small files, but anything of any size would just belch. The example I used in testing was a 300Kb, 8 page Word file. Nothing out of the ordinary size-wise, but the print job would just freeze and the email would bounce, with an error of “No transport provider available”.

My first gut feeling was that the issues were really the same, and possibly network related. Perhaps an issue of dropped packets, some sort of inconsistent network connection, but all of the other network connections were no problem. I could transfer large data files across the network just as quickly as I can from any other machine, and I don’t get any sort of connection time out errors on any other connection. Even installing the loopback patch to SP2 didn’t provide any relief.

Eventually, I decided to view them as seperate issues, and simply reinstalling the network printer seemed to help out with the print jobs, but the email attachments are still a problem. I have already tried disabling the Windows Firewall, changing the time out settings, and have gone to the extreme of creating a whole new profile and trying to send an attachment before I imported anything from the orginal .pst file. Still no luck, so it’s not a problem with the .pst file. It’s not a problem with the ISP server, as I sent a couple of even larger files from my machine today without any problems, and even can send an attachment using this person’s account from a different machine. No the “no transport provider available” is definitely being created by the local machine before it even tries to connect to the SMTP server. The message spools in the Outbox for minutes and then does an immediate bounce. Messages with very small attachments (2Kb) or just text messages don’t have any problem going out immediately.

The only other bit of odd information is that while the message is sending, there is no spike in CPU usage, and the MAPI32 process is not using any extra system resources, so that leads me to believe that we’re not talking about a system issue.

In a nutshell, there is nothing that I can see about the settings of this machine compared to other machines on the network, but it will not connect to send attachments with any kind of significant size. If I don’t come up with any thing else, perhaps tomorrow will bring a complete reinstall of Office and we’ll see if that fixes what might be wrong with Outlook. I sure hope so, I don’t really have time to spend another day working on this!

Next Day Updates: Same thing happens with Outlook Express, definitely not just an Outlook problem. Uninstalling SP2 likewise did not help problem, nor does disabling AV scanning.

Further updates even later the next day: When you do a system restore to the original configuration and STILL have the same problem, you’d think HP might be willing to accept some responsibility for shipping a damaged OEM system, but you’d be wrong!

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