What to check on a network

  goose1984 19:06 02 Nov 2005

Hi all,

I have been asked to look at a network for an estate agents to see if its running ok and is up to date.

They have 10 clients and 2 servers. One server is win 200 and the other is win 2003.

What sort of things sort I be looking for and checking

Any ideas or advice would be great


  Forum Editor 08:08 04 Nov 2005

is find out why they are running two servers on a 10-desktop network - it's certainly not necessary, although there may be a special reason.

Then carry out the following elementary checks:-

1. Make sure that they have a proper routine for peridically changing network passwords, and that the users are aware of the need for care - using 'password' as a password is as good as having none at all.

2. Check all the desktops for anti-virus applications - make sure they are installed and up to date. If someone says "it's OK, we run a firewall" explain to them that they must also run anti-virus software.

3. Defragment all the hard drives (including the servers).

4. See what backup routines they have. If they don't backup all the desktop data files to the server, tell them that they should do so daily, and that the server(s) data files should also be backed up - preferably to tape. Stress that this is absolutely vital. Tell them that to be really secure they should nominate a senior member of staff to supervise this procedure, and that the same person should remove backup tapes to a safe place (off site). It isn't sufficient to keep backups in the office safe.

5. Check the machines for updates - make sure they are all fully patched, and that the latest Service packs are installed. If you have to install service packs yourself, make absolutely sure that all data files have been backed up before you start. Create a restore point on all WinXP machines before you start as well.

6. Check all monitors for resolution and refresh rates. If they have CRT monitors make sure they are set to a refresh rate of at least 75 Hertz. If they are using TFT screens there will be a default setting - probably of 60 Hertz, so don't worry about that.

7. Check that any network printers are functioning properly, and in the case of any inkjet printers perform head recalibration/cleaning.

8. Check the Internet history files on the desktops. Before you do this, find out about the company's policy regarding staff internet access. If it appears - from the history - that anyone's breaking the rules you'll need to act according to your conscience; don't rat on someone because simply because they've sent for a holiday brochure.

10. Transfer test files into server directories, and access them from each desktop. Note any transfer problems for further investigation.

11. Check all machines for dirt - towers that get shoved under desks can accumulate layers of dust and debris, and you should ensure that there's adequate ventilation.

12. Talk to the staff. Sometimes they can be surprisingly helpful (and knowledgeable) and can save you a lot of time. Most of them will know the networks little idiosyncracies, and you won't.

This is a pretty small network by corporate standards, and you should find it fairly easy to get to grips with the setup. There are all kinds of other network diagnostic checks, but frankly I doubt they'll be necessary in this case.

  recap 09:04 04 Nov 2005

The only reason I can see why they would require two servers, is as a secondary DC for backup purposes.

One other thing to check is the Event Viewer on the server. This can give an indication as to any problems there could be with the server/network. I would recommend that someone look at this at least once a week if not every day.

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