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Investigate an Inaccessible Windows Server

Learn how to gather more information about a Windows Server that is inaccessible or has become unresponsive.

There are many reasons why a server may become inaccessible. If your websites are down, the server does not ping and the server is not reachable via Remote Desktop, it may be due to one of the following:

  • The server has been fully shut down
  • The server did not fully boot up (due to faulty configuration, corrupted files, file system
  • A check disk is in progress, etc)
  • There is a misconfiguration in the network adapter settings

The following steps will inform you of the server's current state.

Step 2
Once connected, type the restart command and press ENTER to reboot the machine. Reboot Machine
Reboot Machine

Stay connected to the Serial Console while the server reboots. If the server was in the process of a check disk, you will not have seen the progress when initially logging into the Serial Console. The check disk will resume when booting back up, allowing you to view the progress.
Please note:
If you do not see any output to the terminal after 5-10 minutes, the server may be completely shut off, the hardware may failed, or there is a problem with the reset link to the server itself. Contact our Dedicated Server Support Team for more assistance.
Step 3
If the server reboots and shows the progress of the check disk, allow the check disk to complete before the server will fully boot. This may take minutes to hours.
Please note:
If you are presented with the EVENT: The CMD command is now available message, the server should be almost fully booted and you may check your sites, Remote Desktop connection and try to ping the server again. Keep checking as the server may not be fully booted. If only Remote Desktop is unavailable, try to resolve a failed connection to Remote Desktop.
CMD Command now available
CMD Command now available

If you receive the EVENT: The CMD command is now available message but the server is still inaccessible, skip the next step, otherwise continue.
Step 4
If EVENT: The CMD command is now available does not appear within 5-10 minutes, the server may have a problem fully booting up. Type the restart command again and press ENTER. Enter Restart Command
Enter Restart Command

When the Starting Windows... message appears, hold the ESC key on the keyboard and press 8 to emulate the F8 button. Access Advanced Configuration Options
Access Advanced Configuration Options

Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to select Last Known Good Configuration (your most recent settings that worked) and press ENTER. Select Last Known Good Configuration
Select Last Known Good Configuration

Wait for the EVENT: The CMD command is now available message to appear. If the message does not appear within 5-10 minutes, there is most likely a problem with the Operating System. You may continue to wait and check the currently running processes by using the t command and pressing ENTER periodically.
Please note:
If the server will not fully boot up or allow logins via command prompt, reboot the server into the Windows Rescue System and either try to repair the Operating System or back up your data and re-image the server. If the EVENT: The CMD command is now available message is displayed but the server is still completely inaccessible, go through with the next steps.
Step 5
Type the cmd command and press ENTER to create a command prompt channel in the Serial Console. Run CMD Command
Run CMD Command
Step 6
Hold the ESC button on your keyboard and press the TAB button once to switch to the new command prompt channel created in the Serial Console. You should see a screen similar to the image below. Switch to different Prompt Channel
Switch to different Prompt Channel
Step 7
Before you are able to access the command prompt on your server, log in as the administrator user or another user with administrator privileges. Press ENTER to bring up the login screen.
Please note:
Using the BACKSPACE key will delete the characters on the screen but the Serial Console will NOT actually recognise the deletion of already typed characters. If you make a mistake while entering your login credentials, authentication will fail, the channel will be closed, and you will have to create another command-prompt channel.
View Login Screen
View Login Screen
Step 8
Log in as the administrator user and press ENTER. Leave the Domain field blank and press ENTER. Then type the password for the administrator user and press ENTER. Enter Login Credentials
Enter Login Credentials
Step 9
View the command prompt to the Windows operating system. Windows Command Prompt
Windows Command Prompt
Step 10
Once you have logged into the command prompt channel as the administrator user, ping another address such as google.com to ensure that outgoing connections are not being blocked. Type ping google.com. Ping Google
Ping Google
Please note:
If you receive a response, then the outgoing connections from your server are not being blocked, but a firewall might be blocking incoming connections to your server. Double-check your external firewall rules set in the 1&1 Control Panel to confirm that the correct ports are open and that you can resolve a failed connection to Remote Desktop.

If you do not receive a response, proceed to the next step.
Step 11
Type netsh interface ip show config and press ENTER to show the current network adapter settings. Check the information to confirm that the correct IPs are entered using a subnet mask of 255.255.255.255 and that the default gateway is 10.255.255.1. Local Area Connection Interface
Local Area Connection Interface

If you receive a message that No more data is available, it is likely that the network adapter has been disabled. Notification- No more data is available
Notification- No more data is available

Type netsh interface set interface name="local area connection" admin=enabled and press ENTER to enable the network adapter. Enable Network Adapter
Enable Network Adapter

When the command prompt returns, type netsh interface ip show config and check the settings with the instructions above. Check your websites, Remote Desktop connection and ping the server again to check if the server is accessible.
Step 12
If the server is still inaccessible, set the server to use DHCP. This will prompt our DHCP server for a lease and one will be issued to you only for the original IP that came with the server based on the MAC address of your networking card. If you have a server with multiple IPs, using DHCP will remove the additional IPs and you will need to connect to the server using the original one that came with the server.
Please note:
Using DHCP will ensure that the network adapter settings are updated with the correct values and allows you access to the server again. If you have multiple IPs, you will have to re-add them to the server once accessible and possibly update the bindings for your web sites.

To enable DHCP, type netsh interface ip set address "local area connection" dhcp and press ENTER. Enable DHCP
Enable DHCP

The terminal should output Ok. and return to the command prompt. You will be able to log into the server using the original IP that came with the server which can be found along with other server information in the Server Access Data section of the 1&1 Control Panel.

If your server is still inaccessible, your server may have been locked due to a billing or abuse issue. Please check your E-mail for any correspondence from 1&1. If you have not been contacted regarding a lock of the server, please call our Dedicated Server Support Team.