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Adding a machine to a domain, ‘network path not found’….

April 14, 2014

Been a while since I posted onto here, and again for that I apologise, I’ve been spending a lot of time in datacentres doing some good old physical work. Gets me out of the office anyway… 🙂

Had an issue last week with a server that had it’s OS fail catastrophically and needed rebuilding. Nothing had changed in network config, no cabling changes, server was physically exactly as it was, just a new copy of Windows Server 2k3 R2 installed onto it. Attempting to add it to the domain as a member server was continually failing with the message ‘Network Path Not Found’.

The usual checks were performed by another engineer before I picked it up for an afternoon. I then left it to another engineer while I was on annual leave. Long and the short of it is, it was an unexpected fix that finally sorted it. Googling around the problem pointed mostly to DNS as expected. Every thought possible was given to checking everything around DNS, and nothing appeared out of the ordinary. Some of the more obscure suggestions were worked through, adding and removing static routes, the whole she-bang. Another server in same DC had been rebuilt in the same way a few months previous using the same creds to add it to the domain, and it went without issue. So much info, but very little of it made sense.

Late on Friday, my colleagues messaged me. Network card driver. Really? Yep. He’d compared the drivers to another of the customers servers that was in the same cabinet, same make and model of physical box, and working without issue. The two drivers were a year apart, and several major and minor revisions apart (HP). Updating the driver to the same version (not necessarily the latest) as the other working server fixed the issue, and the server could be added to the domain without issue.

You may be thinking I’d missed a blooper here. However, it wasn’t myself who built the box, drivers and firmware are something I have real OCD about, it was actually built by a colleague whose job it is to build boxes all day long. It’s for this reason that it didn’t occur to me to check this aspect. I also hadn’t seen anything pointing to this on the net, not even close. I suppose the closest clue was that someone fixed their issue by utilizing the ‘other’, second port on their NIC and the problem went away. Possibly some sort of installation issue in that case, or a fundamentally bad NIC.

So, hope this gives maybe one of you a pointer that fixes this, it doesn’t seem unusual, and it seems this error is quite generic and pin-pointing the issue just a case of ticking off the checkboxes until it resolves. Point in case – This error can be caused by a bad username and/or password used to authenticate the machine add. It’s also been known that restarting the DNS Client and Workstation services on the local DC can bump DNS and again resolve the problem.

As a WWII General once supposedly famously said – ‘Assumption is the Mother of all Fuck-Ups’. If you didn’t build the damn server yourself, assume nothing, question everything 🙂

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