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9/29/2006

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Windows Server 2003 Small Business Edition Shut Down Issue

A friend of mine is running Windows Server 2003 Small Business Edition on his machine, and was having an interesting problem. Apparently, Windows would decide to randomly shut down right in the middle of a session. There were no warning or error messages; the computer would behave exactly as if it were properly shut down: Office applications would ask if the current document should be saved, the standard Windows shut down procedures would run, and the computer would turn off.

Very peculiar.

He was convinced he had a virus, but the only virus I know of that shuts down computers displays that creepy “Your computer will turn off in sixty seconds…” window and then counts down like a bomb. Regardless, I’m a bit agnostic when it comes to the existentialism of viruses, so whenever I’m looking at someone’s computer, I save that diagnosis for my bail-out panacea.

The fix to this issue, however, required a mere glimpse into the System section of the Event Log. I saw an interesting pattern of red X’s at fairly consistent intervals over the last few days. I opened the latest one, and it said, more or less: “…you are in violation of the EULA and your computer will be shut down...”

The next such log entry was thirty minutes earlier, and informed us that, “…this computer is not configured as a domain controller…this is a violation of the EULA…your computer will be shut off in thirty minutes…” And then thirty minutes before this was another one with an identical message, except the time was sixty minutes.

Finally, some time before these three was the fourth and final message in the batch, again outlining that, I guess, not configuring this machine as a domain controller was a violation of EULA and to avoid the server shutting down, we should comply. I noticed that these four messages showed up, in this order and in this same time interval, every day.

My friend told me that when this machine was running Windows Server 2003 Standard R2 in a previous configuration, everything was fine. So I did what I was told and went through the onerous process of the Windows Server configuration wizard. After much headache, it was done, and the computer has not shut itself down since!

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