This is kind of long, but please read. I wouldn't believe this unless I got bitten by it - that Windows cannot successfully copy a large number of files.
In short, I've found that if you try to copy too many files in Windows XP or Server 2003 (32-bit for either), the machine becomes unstable and requires a reboot. Too many means as little as 760k files in WinXP, or about 2.8 million files in Server 2003. Additionally, this issue may be limited to machines with either multiple cores/cpus, or with Intel CPUs.
I have a business where I process large numbers of documents; I return the processed files on an external hard drive. We recently started updating computers here, and as part of our qualification process, we have a test suite of about 3MM (very small) files that we copy to make sure that things are working properly. We use robocopy for the test, but we've seen the same problem using other command line tools, as well as our own custom VB6 utility.
The symptoms of this problem are that the copying operation is interrupted with the following error:
ERROR 1450 (0x000005AA)
At that point, I find that network connections are unreliable or dropped, and other software either acts abnormally or freezes (errors include "Insufficient system resources exist to complete the requested service", or complaints of missing DLLs or other components that do exist).
The machine then requires a reboot to be useful again, and then behaves normally. The memory in each testbed has been passed at least 50 memtest passes, so the issue is not related to defective memory.
So far, our testing has shown the following:
+ AMD 940 socket single core CPU, XP32, Nvidia chipset: Successful copy operation.
+ AMD 939 socket single core CPU, Win2k, Nvidia chipset: Successfully copy operation.
+ Intel Q6600, Intel 975x chipset, XP32: FAILED at 760k files.
+ Intel Q6600, Intel i3210 chipset, XP32: FAILED at 760k files.
+ Intel Q6600, Nvidia 780i chipset, XP32: FAILED at 760k files.
+ Intel Q6600, Nvidia 780i chipset, XP64: Successful copy operation.
+ Intel Xeon 3070, Intel i3210 chipset, Server 2003R2: FAILED at 2.72mm files.
I am so far concluding that there is some internal memory issue in 32-bit Windows that only manifests with multiple CPUs/cores. I can reproduce this error easily; it must be something that commonly exists, but I can only find scant information about it via Google searches. We've tried the registry fixes mentioned here
but with no effect - so it appears that our issue is different than what MS has seen in the past.
Has anyone seen anything like this? Is there anything that can be done about it? I have a feeling that this issue could explain a lot of popular sentiment towards Windows, as the effect seems cumulative in nature.
I'm including a redacted screen-grab (had to obscure the file names for confidentiality purposes).