Three PC's, One Network, One PC OK and Two Not!!

  dogbreath1 13:20 05 Nov 2008

XP SP3. Three very similar PC's are connected to a DLink wireless router but all by ethernet cable. One PC is running fine, but the other two have a few problems.

The symptoms are browser (Firefox) running a little slow, Outlook Express slower and will not send email attachments (but functions otherwise).

Have scanned for nasties on one problem machine (Avast, a-squared, Ad-aware and Spybot) and found nothing and done a system restore on the second problem machine but with no improvement in performance.

Since the third machine is running fine, I've assumed it not to be an IMAP server, internet connection or router problem, but any advice would be welcome.



  Rahere 13:56 05 Nov 2008

Apologies for the scattergun approach but hopefully one will get us closer to the problem.

You say the PC's are similar - is the hardware - ie CPU RAM motherboard graphics network card all the same?

Are all drivers up to date following the restore?
have you checked the programs in startup to see if there are differences.

Re attachments there may be a block on this either in firewall or other security program - Avast, a-squared, Ad-aware and Spybot you mention are not likely candidates for stopping attachments unless there's a realtime scanner blocking.

Are there a lot of mails and folders files in Outlook Express? Do you use the same ISP for all mails from all computers - presumably not the same email address on all three

  dogbreath1 14:19 05 Nov 2008

Thanks for the response. First off, until about a week ago, all machines were operating fine.

Two machines have 1GB of RAM with the third (one of the problem machines) having 512MB.

Graphics cards are all ATI Radeon and one of the 1GB machines (a problem one) had an updated driver installed about six weeks ago.

Startup progs seem similar.

I've tried disabling both Avast! and ZoneAlarm on the 1GB problem machine but email attachments still won't go.

There are lots of folders & files in Outlook Express (incidentally, email attachments will not send in Windows Live Mail either), it is the same ISP (BT) for all three PC's and each machine is set to pick up email from an identical four email addies.

  Joe R 14:25 05 Nov 2008


have you firewalls installed on each of your systems? If so you could try turning of the router firewall, and see if the problem is stemming from ports, not being forwarded properly.

  dogbreath1 14:47 05 Nov 2008

ZoneAlarm runs on all three machines and the router firewall is disabled.

  Rahere 16:02 05 Nov 2008

It won't help your problem but you have the firewall protection the wrong way round - your router firewall will offer better protection (NAT?) than the software firewalls you are using.

What sort of files are you sending - all sorts or a specific type - there are some built in filters defences in many firewall (Zonealrm has VBS Mailsafe I recall) and some email clients - don't think OE has it though....what about windows mail?

OE mail files could be too full - I forget the maximum but it is much lower than full Outlook. can you rationalise the mail files or archive these carefully?

  Rahere 16:10 05 Nov 2008

Keeping drivers up to date on all pcs is recommended this will reduce the many variables here!

I'm not sure if I follow your email arrangements,
can you explain again?

What error messages are you getting when you send the attachments - are these messages on the email clients or do messages just disappear into the void?

Still no idea of the actual startup programs - have you tried booting into safe mode with networking support?

  dogbreath1 16:32 05 Nov 2008

Thanks again.

1. The files being sent are mainly .jpg and occasionally .pdf. The problem is mainly with the former - even small files of 250KB.

2. OE on the one good machine has the same number of files as the other two, so I shouldn't think a limit has been met.

3. All three PC's are connected via a router to BT broadband. They all have OE installed and all pick up the same four IMAP email accounts.

4. The error message (within OE) is usually 'Your IMAP Server Has Not Responded In 240 Seconds...."

5. Have not tried Safe Mode but I will do.

  Rahere 16:50 05 Nov 2008

So all three computers collect the same messages from 4 separate accounts??

I'm not a mail server specialist but it seems the connection to the server is dodgy or slow. Do you have access to the mail server settings?

  Rahere 17:11 05 Nov 2008

One of your problems seems that your email client OE is expecting a response in a set time frame - 240 doesn't seem too much to ask so it but there's clearly a delay on your server side processing mail. This needs attention - perhaps there's a build up and you could purge the files somehow. That's beyond my knowledge, I think you need an expert.

I would suggest the following ideas - can't do any harm

Try using another email client on one of the machines - collecting and sending mail in case it's an OE problem

And try sending with just one PC connected, the rest turned off - not sure if this will prove anything but it's a process of elimination...

also make sure that all the deleted files are emptied in all clients and on the server - there's an option for this in OE see here click here

That's the best I can offer - you need to get some professional advice on this - who set it up and does anyone maintain it for you?

  dogbreath1 19:57 05 Nov 2008

Thanks again amucho!

I'll try some of your ideas out and get back. Please note, with just one PC (a problem one) running, the problem persists.

Remember, that the 'good' PC users the same router, same email client, same ISP and connects to the same IMAP server.....all without the slightest of problems.

Also, this is a recent problem. All three PC's worked just fine about a couple of weeks ago.

Will post back as soon as I can with the results of my dabblings!

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