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If a single user is affected, your first line of defense is to try to log in from another workstation within the same group of users. If you can do so, the problem is related to the user’s workstation. Look for a cabling fault, a bad NIC, or some other problem.

On the other hand, if several people in a group (such as a whole department) can’t access a server, the problem may be related to that server. Go to the server in question, and check for user connections. If everyone is logged in, the problem could be related to something else, such as individual rights

or permissions. If no one can log in to that server, including the administrator, the server may have a communication problem with the rest of the network. If it has crashed, you might see messages to that effect on the server’s monitor, or the screen might be blank, indicating that the server is no longer running. These symptoms vary among network operating systems.

Which Segments of the Network Are Affected?

Making this determination can be tough. If multiple segments are affected, the problem could be a network address conflict. As you may remember from Chapter 4, “TCP/IP Utilities,” network addresses must be unique across an entire network. If two segments have the same IPX network address, for example, all the routers and NetWare servers will complain bitterly and send out error messages, hoping that it’s just a simple problem that a router can correct. This is rarely the case, however, and, thus, the administrator must find and resolve the issue. Also keep in mind that the continuous broadcasting of error messages will negatively impact network performance.

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