After decades technology experience, with well over 10 years of 32-bit Windows operating system development, I thought we were long past this. But nope, apparently Windows Vista with all its delays and quality gates spanning over 3 years, still breaks like a baby who has pooped its diapers at the most fundamental of computing activities.
The scenario: I want to connect, from my WinVista laptopp, to a test Win2003 DC (Domain Controller) in our local network. My laptop is a member of the company domain, but that is not a problem since we can easily authenticate as that test domain's users when accessing its network shares. So yes, I can authenticate, and I can easily browse through the directory contents as expected. What is not expected, is how awfully long it takes for WE (Windows Explorer) to make a file copy to my machine. So slow it is that I cannot even Cancel the operation - if I do that WE pays the Bermuda Triangle a visit and does not want to return. The explorer.exe process cannot be killed, and even up to the point where Windows cannot logout or shutdown at all.
Is this a problem with my laptop or the server? The thing is, I can still connect to our other development servers and transfer files at abundant. To prove this is not a Vista-specific problem, my colleague who also runs WinVista can copy from that server without drag. Considering all these, there appears to be "personality incompatibility" between my laptop system and the server system.
But all that should not matter - what is irritating here is the fact that WE is still so susceptible to being held hostage and practically grinding the OS to a halt, leaving me with no choice but to invoke the pheonix call to burn down the current operating session and have it reborn via the hard reset. For such a crucial component of the OS, it is way too vulnerable and doing too much waiting for its own good.
We need to learn how to learn how to mail letters by quickly slipping them into postboxes, and not stubbornly standing all day for the postman to arrive.
UPDATE: What I've found
It appears while the WE file transfer dialog may still be open and "active", the reality is there is no longer any SMB port 445 connection to the server. Somewhere along the way, the connection seems to have been dropped, and WE has no way to knowing this and entered into perpetual "dumb wait" state. I can open up another instance of WE and connect to other "ok" servers and make file copies, but trying with the "busy" instance will yield
'\\serverName\shareName' is currently unavailable.
However, I cannot use that new instance of WE to make another connection to that server, or that too will hang. It seems like once a single transaction goes back with that server, the relationship sours and the two refuse to talk to each other anymore. Something either on my side or the server's side is abnormally terminating the SMB connection and not getting WE to snap out of it. I still do not know what that something is.
UPDATE: Is this the solution?
UPDATE (5 apr 2007):
Thanks to Ken Schaefer I have obtained the above hotfix and it seems to have fixed the problem. Although, the Ethernet adapter appears to be unable to sustain throughput like that of the wireless adapter.
There's a catch to this hotfix - it is not available for public download. Microsoft Support must be contacted in order to obtain it. Either that, or seek your enterprise administrator for help.