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Scheduled tasks randomly fail to start and return 0x80 result codes


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JordanRieger's Avatar
JordanRieger JordanRieger is offline
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18-Jun-2009, 01:30 PM #1
Scheduled tasks randomly fail to start and return 0x80 result codes
We have a Windows 2003 server that runs our background business processes. It has many relatively short-running applications setup to execute through Scheduled Tasks. Recently (and we can't find any change that triggered this) some tasks have been randomly failing to start, returning a 0x80 code in the "Last Result" column of the Scheduled Tasks window (when viewed in Details mode.)

The
Scheduled Tasks log file (Advanced > View Log) doesn’t provide anything besides this same error code.

If you run the tasks manually by right-clicking them in the Scheduled Tasks window and clicking Run, they work. They also work when running the associated commands manually through a command prompt. But they return the 0x80 result code when they are allowed to run on schedule.

To isolate the problem, as suggested by other forums posts with similar issues, I created a test.cmd batch file which writes to a text file using the echo command, scheduled this batch file, and reproduced the issue. When the 0x80 issue occurs, the batch file does not run at all (no text file is created.)


I found a few Microsoft Knowledge Base articles which don't seem to apply directly to our situation: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/843280/en-us and http://support.microsoft.com/default...b;en-us;812400 (we are running 2K3, not XP, and the tasks are not scheduled through the command-line AT.EXE tool.)

It seems that if the user who is setup to run the scheduled task is currently logged on, the task will run properly on schedule. But if that user is logged out, the task will get the 0x80 error. Currently all the tasks are set to run under a local administrator account, but the same behavior is observed when they are set to run under a domain administrator account.

The Task Scheduler service is set to run under the Local System account and is allowed to logon interactively.

We are now considering the possibility that it might be a resource issue, as suggested by http://www.mabuse.de/blog/2008/07/on...led_tasks.html. Our average CPU usage is low and Task Manager reports about 750M free physical memory. There are around 80~90 processes typically running, a large portion of which are services that perform automated business processing.
We have tried restarting both the Task Scheduler service and the machine; neither resolved the issue, but restarting the machine temporarily fixed it.

Any ideas?

Jordan Rieger
Software Developer
RIPE B2B Inc.
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displacedbeachbu displacedbeachbu is offline
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18-Jun-2009, 03:33 PM #2
Who is the hardware manufacturer? have you gone back to the manufacturer website and checked for patches or known issues? Could this be a Dell Server?
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18-Jun-2009, 07:28 PM #3
I think it's a Dell but I'm not in charge of the hardware, that's the network administrators' department. It's unlikely that a hardware or driver/BIOS issue would result in these symptoms -- the key is that the task will run on schedule if the same user is logged in. But I have seen stranger problems caused by hardware (many years ago I lost several hours trying to install Windows 95 on a machine and getting blue screens until I replaced the IDE cable -- but Windows 98 installed fine!) In any case it wouldn't hurt to pursue this if we are out of ideas.

In the meantime we rebooted the server again, but this time the network admins reconfigured one of the tasks that runs very frequently to run under its own specific user account. This task uses a macro program called Automation Anywhere to open IE windows and click on stuff every few minutes. It often seems to fail and leaves many IEXPLORE.EXE processes running. So far we haven't experienced the problem again, but I have a feeling it is only a matter of time...
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displacedbeachbu displacedbeachbu is offline
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18-Jun-2009, 08:00 PM #4
I have run into issues with Dell and Compac servers... Here is what I experienced. Service packs and Hotfixes will "occasionally" tweak an entry in the registry that will toy with services. In the past I would have to check and see if Dell or Compac would have a fix on there sites to repair the a hotfix update. Normally it was not a SP issue that caused the problem but a hotfix. Both Dell and Compac normally would have a fix posted rather quickly.
That is the only thing that immediately came to mind.
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18-Jun-2009, 09:40 PM #5
I wonder if this is remotely related to your problem.

http://support.microsoft.com/default...b;en-us;812400
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19-Jun-2009, 02:19 AM #6
@avisitor,

Quote:
I wonder if this is remotely related to your problem.

http://support.microsoft.com/default...b;en-us;812400
Nope, that article applies to Windows XP SP1. I already discarded that link in my original post :P
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19-Jun-2009, 08:21 AM #7
I realize that they say it only applies to XP SP1, but have you tried the workaround suggested? Don't install the hotfix though.
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22-Jun-2009, 07:42 PM #8
Well it's been several days and the problem has not occurred again. So far it seems like our network admin's hunch to run a particularly process-hungry task -- the Automation Anywhere macro for Internet Explorer web page clicking -- under its own dedicated user account seems to have paid off (good call, Alex.)
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0x80, scheduled tasks, windows 2003

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