The Mole #35: Technical Answers from Inside Microsoft - Endless Defrag, VREDIR Error, KB Keywords, BackTalk

May 22, 2000

Editors Note The questions and answers below are from the Inside Microsoft column that appears regularly on the TechNet Web site at the following location: To find out how to submit questions of your own, see the end of this article or go to

The TechNet Mole provides expert answers from deep within Microsoft to questions from IT professionals. This installment focuses on these issues:

  • Defragmenter Keeps Going and Going and Going...

  • Perplexing VREDIR Error

  • Need a Keyword Key

  • BackTalk

On This Page

Defragmenter Keeps Going and Going and Going...

Perplexing VREDIR Error

Need a Keyword Key



Defragmenter Keeps Going and Going and Going...


I have a customer running Windows 98 on an Intel Celeron 500 with 64 MB of RAM. Every time he tries to defragment his 8.4 GB C: drive, it takes 3-4 hours. The program restarts every 60 seconds. We have shut down all software except the Explorer and systray. The Power management has also been shut down and there are no screen savers running. Have you any suggestions as to what might be writing to the hard drive and interfering with the defrag process?

Brian K. Lewis

Dear Brian,

You have made some good initial troubleshooting steps by disabling power management and the screen saver. But Mole's initial reaction after reading your problem description was "something else is running"—something that you're probably unaware of. Mole's first suggestion is to make sure that any anti-virus programs are stopped. One way to make sure that no other programs are running is to perform a Clean Boot of the system. Knowledge Base article 186978:Disk Defragmenter: "Drive's Contents Have Changed: Restarting has a good description of how the Windows 98 System Configuration Utility tool (Msconfig.exe) makes performing a clean boot easy. Do a Clean Boot, and then try the Defragmenter utility. It should work.

If the above suggestion does not yield satisfactory results, try this next suggestion. You say that the Disk Defragmenter keeps restarting, but Mole thought he'd include a reference to another article that addresses Disk Defragmenter hanging. This might also help those that are having problems with the Defragger hanging (vs. continuously restarting.) That article is 218160:Disk Defragmenter Hangs After Choosing Disk to Defragment. Hint: This behavior can occur due to corrupt files or folders.

One last issue specific to Windows 98 deals with machines that may stop responding (hang) after you choose a disk to defragment with the Disk Defragmenter tool. This can occur if you are using APC PowerChute Plus 5.0 or 5.0.1. These versions of PowerChute Plus are designed for Microsoft Windows 95. For more information, please read Knowledge Base article 259030:APC PowerChute Plus Causes Disk Defragmenter to Hang.

Although Mole thinks that his first suggestion (a clean boot) will do the trick, it may not. If none of Mole's suggestions help, then try hitting the Knowledge Base yourself. Use queries that contain parts of any error messages that you receive. As Mole has said before, when querying the vast Knowledge Base—start wide, then narrow.

Finally, as with a lot of troubleshooting, it is critical that those helping the troubleshooter provide as much detailed information as possible—such as specific, exact, word-for-word, verbatim, (did Mole say "precisely"?) error messages that are seen when something has gone awry. Even knowing that NO error messages are displayed is a clue. Mole does not mean to be a nag, but he must reiterate the importance of knowing little details like operating system versions, Service Pack versions, exact error message text (not "some error message about a problem with something"), and Event IDs all help greatly to weed out issues that do not apply to a problem. (OK, now, breathe deeply and repeat "more is better, more is better, more is better") In short, work with me, people. OK, Mole feels better.

Good luck!


Perplexing VREDIR Error


I am running 15 Win 98 workstations on a large NT domain, all machines are duplicating a blue screen fatal exception error that states fatal exception OE at 0028:C0277FF0 in VXD VREDIR (03) 00002FF0. This will happen when trying to open Windows Explorer from the shortcut on the start menu, a shortcut on the desktop, or if you right click on a drive in my computer and choose Explore. Windows will usually recover but the desktop interface explorer loses the system tray icons, sometimes it will lockup completely. This happens on several different machines with different hardware and software configurations. I have researched this on the Knowledge Base and have found no answers. The network configuration I am using is static IP, WINS and DNS. I am using logon scripting to map drives and directories, I am running IE 5.01, but IE 5 still had the same errors. My NT machines are running the current Service Packs 6a 128bit and the Windows 98 machines are up to date also. I do not run much third party software; Microsoft Office and Norton Anti-Virus are the main applications on all machines. Any ideas?

Bill Pfeiffer, System Administrator


Boy, don't you just hate when errors are fatal? First, please accept Mole's gratitude for providing such good system information detail because this is a difficult problem to nail down. Unfortunately, Mole cannot simply say "Ahhh… Mole has the answer to your problem. Get fix number X." No, Bill, it is just not that easy. But then if it was, you probably would have already found the answer in the KB, right? Mole can, however, offer some ideas. But be forewarned, you may need to seek professional help–the technical support troubleshooting kind. (Mole just isn't geared up for ongoing, back-and-forth dialog that certain types of problems often require.)

It seems that the problem has to do with browsing. One curious thing is that you say is "all machines are duplicating a blue screen fatal exception error that states fatal exception OE at 0028:C0277FF0…" Then you say, "This happens on several different machines with different hardware and software configurations." It isn't clear to Mole whether this problem happens on "all" Win98 machines or only "several." Having said that, Mole will proceed to take a stab or two at solving your problem.

Stab #1: Here are the Symptoms: If your Microsoft Windows NT Server-based Primary Domain Controller (PDC) is on a separate subnet and you double-click Entire Network in the Network Neighborhood window, you may receive the following error message:

Network Neighborhood

Unable to browse the network.

The network is not accessible.

For more information, look in the Help Index at the topic "Network Troubleshooter."

Also, if you try to use the "net view" command at a command prompt, you may receive the following error message:

Error 6118: The computer(s) sharing resources in this workgroup cannot be located. The computer(s) might have been restarted. Wait a few minutes, and then try again. If the problem persists, make sure your network-adapter settings are correct.

This behavior occurs because Windows 98 incorporates an update to the server component (Vserver.vxd) that is also available as a hotfix for Windows 95. This update addresses handling of null-session connections in a user-level security environment. When connecting to a Windows 98/95 Browse Master, the redirector always uses a null session; the Browse Master generates an Error 5 (Access Denied) if there is already an authenticated NetBIOS session open. If the browse master is a Windows NT-based computer, this does not occur, because the redirector issues the request on the existing, authenticated session.

A supported fix that corrects this problem is now available from Microsoft, but it has not been fully regression tested and should be applied only to systems experiencing this specific problem. For details on obtaining the hotfix, refer to the Knowledge Base article 238853:Cannot Browse Network Neighborhood if PDC Is on Separate Subnet. The article also contains several workarounds.

Stab #2: Mole's next stab in the dark deals with the scenario in which you try to connect your Windows 98-based computer to an NT-based server with Microsoft distributed file system (Dfs) installed. This problem can occur because an internal counter used by VRedir was decremented, causing Vredir.vxd to interpret that its connection resources were exhausted. A supported fix that corrects this problem is now available from Microsoft, but it has not been fully regression tested and should be applied only to systems experiencing this specific problem. Complete details on this problem and information on the hotfix is available in KB article 235276:Dfs Support in Windows 98 Hangs the Client for Microsoft Networks.

Stab #3: Here are a couple more rather oblique ideas if the first two don't fix the problem. First, check out the article 190648:Alternate Workgroup Name Stops Network Browsing. Second, read 130077:Error Mapping or Reconnecting Network Resource.

Stab #4: If none of the above suggestions provide even a clue, Mole recommends the old trial-and-error approach. Get a spare workstation out of the closet, install Windows 98 as you would for any new client install. If you don't have a spare hanging around, select a "volunteer" to participate in the experiment or volunteer one of your own workstations (IT Pros wouldn't ask their clients to do something that they themselves aren't willing to do, right?).

The installation process would be one source of investigation—is this install from an original Microsoft CD or are automated scripts, ghosting, etc. part of your procedures? What Mole is after here is a base install that removes as many variables as possible. After the fresh install of Win98, stop right there—don't load anything else. Logon on to the network and try to duplicate the problem. Then, add one piece of software at a time, reboot, and attempt to duplicate the problem.

Mole understands that this last process will be time consuming, but considering the nature of your problem, Bill, Mole must warn you that no simple pill's gonna cure your ill.

The Last Resort: If all else fails, contact Microsoft Technical Support for IT Professionals ( or one of the several qualified Microsoft Certified Support providers (



Need a Keyword Key


I've been a TechNet user for many years and wonder why full text of the documents isn't searchable and if that isn't possible why the keywords picked were so "non-intuitive." My self and all the techie's I know find searching TechNet almost useless.

Examples of search keywords determined by end users:

  • kbinfo - general information

  • xfor - Microsoft mail connectors - very obvious xims pop3, Internet stuff

  • xcln - Exchange client issues

For a good example, maybe windows 98 shutdown problems should be found by searching for "win 98 shutdown."

If you have a page with a key to all "search words" that would be very helpful.


Well Rob,

It's a reasonable request you've made. But what's reason got to do with it? There just is no such beast as "one page that lists all keywords." Mole's not saying there will never be such a thing—just not right now. However, Mole will be kind enough to wrap your desire in suggestion format and forward it to his inside buddies, who live to hear these kinds of specific wishes from our IT Pro friends. They'll take it, throw it at a wall, and see if it sticks. (Mole has heard that this also works for testing pasta to see if it is done.) Mole also assumes you are talking about searches on the web rather than on the TechNet CD/DVD subscription. The subscription product has some cool features that enable you to narrow your content subset for searches, for example, so you don't need to enter noise words like "Win 98" to define the product you are looking for. (Hint: common Microsoft product names are typically ignored by Microsoft search engines because the occur so often as to be meaningless. All variations of the word "Windows", for example, appear as often as the words "the", "and" or "but" in lots of documents.) Subscribers can check out the "How to use TechNet" bin in every CD/DVD for more information. In the mean time, read on, Rob.

First, you should bear in mind that while Mole can offer up a sampling of useful keywords—you don't actually have to use specific keywords—arcane or otherwise. While the keywords suggested for searching are extremely helpful, the Knowledge Base query function will process your question using regular straightforward terms—for example "boot process" or "domain administration" work just as well as "ntstart" and "ntdomain." However, I suspect Rob that you are the type who wants to cut to the chase. So Mole offers you some quick hit lists of useful keywords, along with some places to find more.

A very extensive—albeit not complete—list of "Secret Handshake Keywords" used in KB articles is available in—what else–a KB article! The keywords aren't really secret—a better description would be "Cryptic" or "How Would I Ever Have Known That!?" Thus Mole reminds you, when entering the KB, repeat his mantra—"Start Wide. Then Winnow."

In the meantime, start by checking out a KB article that tries to get its digital arms around the Windows platform and related subcomponents, 242450: How to Query the Microsoft Knowledge Base Using Keywords. Next, Mole gives you a helpful companion piece, Q96132:How to Search for Desktop Systems Articles by KBSubcategory. Next, let's take a closer look at keywords that will help with searching some of the main BackOffice components, starting with Windows NT. Ready? Good, let's fall headfirst down into that rabbit hole.

Windows NT Keywords: The following list of keyword topics was borrowed from Knowledge Base article 102652:How to Search Windows NT Articles by Topic.




Boot Process and Startup


Domain Administration


Macintosh Connectivity


Remote Access Service (RAS)




STOP Message/Blue Screen


Service Packs


Disk Directory Listing


Microsoft BackOffice Small Business Server

Exchange Keywords: Next on the agenda is Exchange. Here's a useful list of secret code words to help in your querying. For more details, see article 140950:How to Search for Microsoft Exchange Articles by Topic.




General issues, including documentation


Administrative issues, including Exchange Server and service pack installation, general user interface (UI), recipient containers, importing and exporting, message tracking, server and link monitors, public and private information stores, directory, Key Management server (KM server), directory replication, folder replication, disaster recovery, Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), Search Control, Microsoft Cluster Server Support (MSCS), Move Server Wizard, and Mailbox Manager


Client issues, including client installation, all providers, Shiva, Schedule+ (including Macintosh), Forms, Setup Editor, Sample Applications, STF Editor, Free/Busy Connector, Outlook and Exchange Server Support, and Server Side Scripting


Connector issues, including X.400 Connector, Site Connector, general message transfer agent (MTA) and routing, transport stacks (TCP/IP, X.25, TP4), and Dynamic RAS Connector


All Microsoft Mail connectors, directory synchronization (dirsync), migration, cc:Mail Connector, Notes Connector (MSNC), SNADS Connector, PROFS Connector, LDE, SNADS Directory Component, Connectivity to Foreign Mail Systems


POP3/Imail, Internet News Service (NNTP), IMAP4, S/MIME, Chat Server, MCIS, NT Option Pack, SMTP


Web issues, including Outlook Web Access

Office Keywords: Next, there's Office. More details and suggestions can be found in 141778:How to Find Technical Information About Office Products. Here's the Office list.




Article applies only to Office for Windows


Disk contents/directory for Microsoft Office


Interoperability between Office products


Office Assistant


Microsoft Office for Windows setup


Microsoft Office for the Macintosh setup


Microsoft Binder








Microsoft Office Resource Kit


Network Install Wizard


Web Find Fast


Microsoft Office Personal Web Server


Microsoft Office Service Pack


Microsoft Office Value Pack


Microsoft Office Small Business Pack


Microsoft Office Shortcut Bar

Access Keywords: Next in line is Microsoft Access. However, the list for Access database keywords is too extensive for this column. Therefore, Mole will direct those that are curious about Access to the KB article 119526:How To Search for Microsoft Access Articles by Subcategory.

SQL Keywords: Last but not least, here is a summary of SQL Server Keywords. For even more excruciating detail, read KB article 124544:How to Search for SQL Server Articles by Article Topic.






Copy Program (BCP)


Embedded SQL for COBOL (ESQL)




Distributed Management Objects


Document Error (printed or online)


Referential Integrity


Distributed Trans. Coordinator


SQL Enterprise Manager


Error Log


Embedded SQL for C (ESQL-C)




Install, Setup, or Upgrade




LAN Issues




SQL Monitor


Network Library (Net-Library)


Object Manager


Open Data Services (ODS)


Power PC


Programming Issues






SQL Administrator


SQL Bridge


Stored Procedures




SQL Transfer


Visual Basic (VB) Issues


SQL Server Web Assistant


SQL Workstation

That's it for now! Mole hopes that this information gets you going in the right direction.




This note from IT Pro John R. Baker was pulled out of Mole's letter bag. Here's what he has to say:

Hey Mole,

I was browsing a recent Mole column and this question/answer caught my eye:

Dear Mole,

I have WINS running on two servers that communicate over 10/100 3Com Super Stack II 3300 switches. I am getting error 4202, and used TechNet to find an answer. The answer that was given was that WINS doesn't communicate over a router or firewall. What can I do to fix this error?

Paul Czerniak, IT Administrator

Mole suggested opening a couple of ports and to check a couple of Knowledge Base articles that pretty much should do the trick. John provides the following suggestion, adding to Mole's first round of suggestions:

One other thing that might help in this situation is disabling Fast Packet Switching on the 3Com Switches so that the NetBIOS header is parsed in addition to the IP header. That way, your NT machines will be able to create trusts over a Firewall/router.


John R. BakerNetwork Administrator, MCSE+I

Thanks John!

It just makes Mole's day when fellow IT Pros take the time to share their ideas and experiences. Mole raises his can of Mountain Dew to you in salute!


Thanks again to Mr. Collins