Step 1: Identify the root cause
View the symptoms
The symptoms can provide important clues to what exactly is wrong with the server. Although these diagnoses might not always be true for each case. Some common symptoms and their possible causes have been provided in the table below.
Symptom Causes Note The server does not power up The server hardware has an issue. Most probably, the server power supply has failed. Before concluding that it is a case of failed power supply, do some basic verifications, like: check if the system is plugged in and receiving power from the outlet; the surge protection; or the UPS. Server boots but the screen shows the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) It is a case of hardware failure or device failure. If a new driver had been installed recently, the crash could be related to that particular driver. Server starts and the operating system (OS) loads but some critical services do not start Causes vary depending on a number of factors.
Decipher the blue screen
Deciphering the blue screen can seem like a difficult and intimidating task, but really, it is organized in a particular structure and can provide important clues to what is wrong with the server.
Step 2: Fix the issue
The section above might have already given you a few ideas on how to troubleshoot your server. It might have also given you the impression that cause identification and solution can happen almost immediately in that order. This section describes troubleshooting tips for some other issues.
Failure of critical services
This issue has been mentioned in step one and fixing it is a bit complicated because there are no straightforward causes. You need to analyze every component separately. For example, in the Microsoft Exchange, if a lower level service such as the System Attendant fails, then you can conclude that the Exchange is either corrupt or is unable to communicate with the Active directory. In that case, first, verify that nothing is hindering the communication with the LDAP directory and then try reinstalling Exchange Server or the latest service pack.
Another issue could be if the database fails to mount. In such a case, the database is probably corrupted or has some inconsistencies; and you may need to completely reinstall the database.