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Internet Explorer 6 - Can't find local (intranet) web addresses by computer name

This issue is so bizarre that all the symptoms point to a virus but according to Norton Antivirus that is not the case.

A few days ago I was working on my computer and needed to access the corporate Intranet. When I typed the address into the address bar (in the format http://myintranet) in Internet Explorer and it redirected me to http://search.yahoo.com/bin/search?p=myintranet. I quickly realised the same was true of every local web server address on my network, including http://localhost which now redirects to http://search.yahoo.com/bin/search?p=localhost. No configuration changes took place to make this happen, it just did.

After much investigation I discovered that whilst http://myintranet is not recognised, http://myintranet.mydomain.com (the server's full address) does work and points to the correct place. Futher to this, I can ping myintranet with no problems whatsoever, and http://myintranet works perferctly in Netscape. It also works fine under Internet Explorer on every other PC on my network. If I type the server's IP address instead of it's name, ie., this also works. Interestingly, ftp://myintranet also works just fine. And if that isn't weird enough, try this: http://myintranet/index.html DOES work and so does http://myintranet/mypages/index.html but http://myintranet and http://myintranet/mypages don't, same for my own machine - I can access http://localhost/index.asp or but not http://localhost.

And today, for around 5 minutes while I was downloading a Windows Update security patch, these local computer names all worked again, but as quickly as the problem solved itself, it came back again.

I use a proxy server at work and I have 'bypass proxy server for local addresses' checked. At home I have a DSL direct internet connection and I experience the same problem (it's a laptop which I use in both locations). I'm running Windows XP Pro Service Pack 2, Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1. I've tried resetting all my Internet Explorer settings, and I've tried reinstalling Internet Explorer - neither worked. It's as if Internet Explorer is recognising local computer names and deliberately choosing not to read them unless they are part of a URL which points to a specific file, not just the homepage of a web server or to a folder on that server. It's driving me mad and I would be extremely grateful for a solution, hence the points...

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1 Solution
wwarbyAuthor Commented:
Found the answer...

MailBook.exe. A horrible little peice of ad-ware that I had picked up somewhere along the line which was loading with Internet Explorer and causing that problem (and who knows what other problems).

Problem solved.
That sounds like the 'auto search' feature is turned on.  The fact that a specific 'page' (index.html) works but a folder url will not says the browser is accessing the search feature instead of polling the actual site.
In IE:  Go to "Tools > Internet Options > Advanced > Search from the address bar" and select "Do not search from the address bar"
Then close and reopen IE and try again.

wwarbyAuthor Commented:
Nah, that wasn't it but thanks all the same. I did acutally look at that as being the problem but to no avail, it turned out to be a nasty peice of software I had picked up on my travels which was interfering with things.

Question closed and points refunded

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