A customer calls up, and asks if we can reboot his colocated server because he can't “PCAnywhere in.” Windows box. Of course. “It's XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.com, in a tall tower case,” he said.
“So all I need to do is hit Ctrl-Alt-Del and shutdown then, right?” I wanted to make sure here.
So I go into the server room, and hook up the crashcart to the system in question. The few mice I try don't work, but the keyboard does, so at least I have that much going for me. The screen is, for the most part, blank, and the task bar at the bottom looks like it has an outbreak of the Chicken Pox. I hit Ctrl-Alt-Del, a few windows flash, then the infamous “I can't stop this task” message box comes up.
By now, I can see that there are at least a few dozen message boxes from
some application complaining that it can't send email and to try again. And
it's this application that Windows is having difficulty killing, since the
message boxes are apparently keeping the program alive until I click
Okay to dismiss it.
And each message box is backed up with its own process.
Which is filling up the task bar with so many programs, making it look like the aformentioned Chicken Pox.
So for a solid five minutes I'm there alternating between killing tasks
from the task-killing message box (which doesn't seem to go away) and
Okay on the “I can't send email” message boxes, and I
swear the number of tasks is not decreasing. I'd like to shut down
this server cleanly because, well … it's Windows (turns out it's
Windows NT 4.0 release 1381—circa 1996 I believe).
But there's no way I'm going to play button-monkey to Windows, and I hit the Big Red Switch.
It's a server! I shouldn't have to hit
Okay on a
message box to get it to continue. It should run unattended.