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Internet Explorer Stops Loading Pages after 10 Minutes

This is the most confusing problem I've ever encountered. I was called to check out a Win98 laptop because of problems connecting to the internet. It has a cable broadband connection through a PCMCIA network card. Basically, once the laptop loads up you can browse the internet using IE (latest version and all security fixes). After approx. 10 minutes, IE stops loading pages (you see the status bar moving, but it "Cannot Find Page"). When I send a ping request to google.com, I receive a reply. So the internet connection is working, but IE wasn't loading. It would load again when I reboot the machine (of course, until 10 minutes pass).

So I brought the laptop to my job, wiped it clean, reinstalled Win98, all the updates, the latest IE, etc... I was on the internet with no problems at work, for at least four hours. I bring it back, test it out and everything seemed fine. Two days later I get a call that its showing the same problem again. Road Runner (the ISP) says that the cable modem tests find, that it must be the computer. Now, if I reformatted this thing, there's no spyware, there's no virus, it's clean as can be, what in the world can it be? I'm lost for answers at this point and this is my last result. Has anyone else ran across any problems like this because this is getting frustrated. Especially since I dedicated two days to fix this laptop and I had it working only for it to return to its problematic state. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

(P.S., I tried a new network card also, that didn't help. The next thing I might try to do is to bring another laptop to connect to the cable modem to make sure RR isn't BSing.) This is a really difficult problem (I would say because I can solve most problems without any research, and I've done much researching on this issue) so I'm rating it at 500 points. Please provide any suggestions you guys might think is relevant. Thanks in advance.
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Cdeg
Asked:
Cdeg
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3 Solutions
 
blue_zeeCommented:

Try this patch:

Internet Explorer may appear to stop responding when requesting many objects
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;818506

It only mentiions WinME but it has worked on 98.

Check if clearing the cache helps:

Internet Properties > General tab

Click "Delete Cookies" and OK, click "Delete Files", select "Delete all offline content" and OK twice.

If that helps, you may need to increase the amount of disk space to be used by the TIF folder:

Internet Properties > General tab~> Settings button

Hope these may help.

Zee
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CdegAuthor Commented:
Good suggestion, but I tried that also to no avail.
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blue_zeeCommented:

Try Firefox, a new and really great browser:

http://www.mozilla.org/

It's only 4.7MB, and let's see if the same thing happens as with IE.

This will hopefully help us understand the problem a little bit better.

Zee
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stevenlewisCommented:
>>Now, if I reformatted this thing, there's no spyware
yes, when you tested it, but then they had it for two days, could have gotten spyware in that time, check to be sure
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CdegAuthor Commented:
Not a bad idea Zee although I don't think it'll help. I'll make sure to try though. And I had it checked again for spyware, it's still clean.
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gonzal13RetiredCommented:
I had a similar problems except the 10 minute factor was not there.

I was able to ping the ISP. The ISP could ping the compter but could not get to the Lan card. I moved the card to another slot and it worked. Now from here mine differs: The lan card stopped functioning in the new position and thus I replaced the Lan card.

Another time, I was able to ping the ISP. But when they pinged the PC, they lost about 90 percent of the signal.

Hopefully these comments may be the seed to a resolution.

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BillDLCommented:
Clear the "History" from "Internet Options" > General tab, and then change the "History" settings so that they are cached for Zero Days

Then check the the Internet Properties > Advanced > Security > "Empty Temporary Internet Files folder when browser is closed" setting.

Is "JIT Compiler for Virtual machine" checked?

"Specifies whether Internet Explorer should create all Java applets automatically by using its internal Microsoft VM compiler. For example, when you visit a Web site that uses Java applets, Internet Explorer automatically creates and runs them for you, regardless of what operating system you use".

Or is it using The Sun Java Runtime Environment?  Test what version of Java is installed:
http://www.dslreports.com/stest?test=1

How much RAM does the laptop have fitted, and are the pages rich in images and advertising applets, or are they a fair old mixture of content?
Does it load the pages if you disable the display of images, etc?

Carry out some periodic PING's as it approaches the 10 minute mark and compare the statistics, eg.

ping google.com > results.txt
echo ------------------------ >> results.txt
ping google.com >> results.txt
::repeat ad nauseum!

Or schedule it from a VB command line scheduler:
http://www.ericphelps.com/schedule/
http://www.ericphelps.com/schedule/schedule.zip
(set options with .INI file)

Quote from: http://www.more.net/technical/pingtrace.html

"Every packet that gets sent out has a TTL field which is set to a relatively high number (ping packets get a TTL of 255). As the packet travels over the network, the TTL field gets decreased by one for each node, server, or router it passes through. When the TTL drops to 0, the packet is discarded by the router. The main purpose of this is so that a packet doesn't live forever on the network and will eventually die when it is deemed "lost." If the TTL field varies in successive pings, it could indicate that the successive reply packets are going via different routes. This could indicate that certain network routes may be experiencing problems. Packets are being sent along different paths (and not the same path each time) trying to find the quickest alternative route.

The time field is an indication of the round-trip time to get a packet to the remote host. The reply is measured in milliseconds. In general, it's best if round-trip times are under 200 milliseconds. The time it takes a packet to reach its destination is called latency. If there is a large variance in the round-trip times, the network may be experiencing problems".

Is the computer using ZoneAlarm, Norton Internet Security, or an Adware Blocker?

Run a "Bandwidth Test":
Download Test: http://www.pcpitstop.com/internet/BwDownTest.asp
Upload Test: http://www.pcpitstop.com/internet/BandwidthUp.asp

About:
http://www.pcpitstop.com/internet/intspeed_about.asp
http://www.pcpitstop.com/internet/bandwidth_about.asp

Modem Speed Tester USA:
http://www.testmyspeed.com/

Other:
http://www.testmyspeed.com/speedtests/international.htm

I agree with stevenlewis in that you just don't know what the client is doing with the computer once you return it to them, or what software they are running on it.  The only way you would know for certain is to see it in normal use by them.
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BillDLCommented:
Just for additional info.

Check for open ports, etc using an https server:

https://grc.com/x/ne.dll?bh0bkyd2

Test for Zombies or Spybots:

http://www.grc.com/dos/grcdos.htm
Do an "Edit > Find on this page" > and search for the first instance of "netstat".
Read the command line syntax.

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nobusCommented:
you can : test it at your shop (where it worked) extensively. If this is the case, it would be the modem, or the connection failing.
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CdegAuthor Commented:
That's what I figured, the cable modem is failing at some point. But RR is swearing up and down that its the computer (but who knows if they're telling the truth). As for the LAN card, like I said I had instructed her to purchase a new card and both cards exhibit the same results afterwards.

The Java system is the old Microsoft Java Virtual Machine. I didn't see a new to update to the Real Sun Java VM. Not sure if that'll help my situation, but I guess I could try. There are no resident memory ad-blockers, virus software, or firewall.

If I could run a bandwitdh test I would at the point. However, the page does not load. Also, it's  a Win98 machine, what ports aren't open would be the better question! :) And for further clarification, I had it running in an office network for 5 hours without any issues or disruptions in internet connection.
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BillDLCommented:
The reason I asked whether it was Microsoft Java VM or the Sun Java Runtime Environment was because of what you have just witnessed when that page didn't load.  There are more and more sites relying on content that Java VM won't load, and they do hang the pages for a while as they try to do so.

That was also the basis for my query about whether the pages on the sites accessed are playing music in the background, have a lot of Ads to display, and perhaps have a lot of images to load.  It was just a possibility, and would be eliminated by disabling the loading of images and media content.

The Open Ports query was to eliminate the possibility of a Trojan or Bot leaving a port open, and then consuming bandwidth while it awaited instruction or gave feedback to the Mother Bot  :-)
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CdegAuthor Commented:
So if you think maybe if I install Sun's Java VM, it'll help the situation. Bear in mind, it's the same results on sites that don't have java content too. I can't see how that would get in the way for all sites, but at this point everything is a suspect.

I don't recall an option to remove MS's Java VM, so should I manually try to rip it or do you think Sun's install will take care of that.
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nobusCommented:
can you test it it with another modem?
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CdegAuthor Commented:
Well the cable provider is expected to be there Monday to test that theory (who knows if they'll show).
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Paul_LCommented:
I have a similar problem with one machine on my home network. The machine is on a wired network behind a gnatbox lite firewall. Another similar machine on same network works fine. After the problem machine is rebooted browsing is fine for about 10 mins then browser seems able to resolve names to ip addresses in the bottom bar but web pages are not loaded. Adware checks and antivirus scans show nothing. There are some internal network oddities in that when problem happens files cannot be saved to a network drive from an application and yet can be copied to the drive with Windows explorer. A shared printer connected to the problem machine cannot be accessed from other machines once the problem occurs. However running \\machinename for other machines on the network will work.

The problem arrises whether or not the machine is being used for the first 10 mins after boot up. The default page of the browser is google.co.uk.

I do not see how the problem can be cache related as the machine works fine after the problem appears except for the network. Also I do not see java as having anythign to do with it as the problem appears even if the machien is not being used actively.

I ran netstat and got this reusult:

Active Connections

  Proto  Local Address          Foreign Address        State
  TCP    celine:1028            crl.verisign.com:80    CLOSE_WAIT
  TCP    celine:1030            crl.verisign.com:80    CLOSE_WAIT
  TCP    celine:1470            PAULATHOME:nbsession   ESTABLISHED

Obviously you can spot my daughter's machine with the problem as 'Celine' and another Win98 machine as PaulAtHome. The session to PaulAtHome was opened by typing Run \\PaulAtHome.

I do not if this helps but there seem to be lots of issues about there being a bug in Win98 re CLOSE_WAIT. There are articles in the Microsoft knowledgebase about it but no real solution from the user's point of view.

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CdegAuthor Commented:
Yeah, I'm beginning to think there is no solution, however what can fix it if a wipe out didn't!

I'm still waiting to see what RR had to say, I'll update when I get word.
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Paul_LCommented:
Here is some more information resulting from some tests with netstat after rebooting (celine, vivianne and paulathome are all machines on the local network):

Result of netstat -a immediately after reboot:

  Proto  Local Address          Foreign Address        State
  TCP    celine:1028            CELINE:0               LISTENING
  TCP    celine:1025            BOX3:nbsession     TIME_WAIT
  TCP    celine:1026            BOX2:nbsession   TIME_WAIT
  TCP    celine:1028            crl.verisign.com:80    ESTABLISHED
  TCP    celine:137             CELINE:0               LISTENING
  TCP    celine:138             CELINE:0               LISTENING
  TCP    celine:nbsession       CELINE:0               LISTENING
  UDP    celine:nbname          *:*                    
  UDP    celine:nbdatagram      *:*          

Result of netstat -a immediately after throwing up IE5 www.google.co.uk home page (straight after reboot):

  Proto  Local Address          Foreign Address        State
  TCP    celine:1028            CELINE:0               LISTENING
  TCP    celine:1046            CELINE:0               LISTENING
  TCP    celine:1043            CELINE:0               LISTENING
  TCP    celine:1044            CELINE:0               LISTENING
  TCP    celine:1025            BOX3:nbsession     TIME_WAIT
  TCP    celine:1026            BOX2:nbsession   TIME_WAIT
  TCP    celine:1028            crl.verisign.com:80    CLOSE_WAIT
  TCP    celine:1046            66.102.9.99:80         ESTABLISHED
  TCP    celine:137             CELINE:0               LISTENING
  TCP    celine:138             CELINE:0               LISTENING
  TCP    celine:nbsession       CELINE:0               LISTENING
  UDP    celine:1044            *:*                    
  UDP    celine:nbname          *:*                    
  UDP    celine:nbdatagram      *:*            


Result of netstat -a 10 mins after reboot when IE will no longer display pages. The ip shown is valid for a web site url typed into IE:

  Proto  Local Address          Foreign Address        State
  TCP    celine:1028            CELINE:0               LISTENING
  TCP    celine:1137            CELINE:0               LISTENING
  TCP    celine:1043            CELINE:0               LISTENING
  TCP    celine:1044            CELINE:0               LISTENING
  TCP    celine:1028            crl.verisign.com:80    CLOSE_WAIT
  TCP    celine:1137            66.102.9.99:80      SYN_SENT
  TCP    celine:137             CELINE:0               LISTENING
  TCP    celine:138             CELINE:0               LISTENING
  TCP    celine:nbsession       CELINE:0               LISTENING
  UDP    celine:1044            *:*                    
  UDP    celine:nbname          *:*                    
  UDP    celine:nbdatagram      *:*

The crucial difference seems to be that when the fault occurs the ip shows SYN_SENT rather than ESTABLISHED.

Also web sites can still be pinged by name after the fault occurs and the ip's are resolved correctly. Looks more adn more tha the problem is in IE. Anyone used a different browser?
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Paul_LCommented:
JUst another thought - this problem is looking more and more like a sort of firewall error blocking port 80 after 10 minutes or so. My problem machine used to run Zone Alarm which I thought I had uninstalled when I put the Gnatbox in. Did you use Zone Alarm?
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Paul_LCommented:
Yet another thought. I have been browsing around the Zone Alarm forum and there are a lot of similar problems mentioned there, e.g:

http://forum.zonelabs.org/zonelabs/board/message?board.id=access&message.id=15137#M15137

I am going to do a manual zone alarm uninstall tonight and see how that goes.
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CdegAuthor Commented:
There is no firewall software installed on this machine. I made sure to make sure of that. Proxy settings are disabled also since there is no proxy for this laptop.

RR finally went to her house and replaced the whole coax cable running to the cable modem and ran a final test which they said was successful. So far the problem hasn't come back although I haven't been able to test it myself. She's actually having a new issue with the laptop freezing up on her while in Word 2000. So whether I'm out of the woods yet, I don't know, nor will I know for a while. She actually has a bigger problem with her production computer (she does wedding videos) that is a hell of a lot more important that her laptop will ever be. So for now I am going to close this question and distribute points accordingly to how effective the information provided to me was depending on the information I stated in the original question (not by replies).

Thank you for all of your help, and I may revisit this question in the future.
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Paul_LCommented:
Just wanted to confirm my problem was Zone Alarm not having been uninstalled fully. I followed the manual uninstall instructions on the Zone Labs site and now all is well.
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BillDLCommented:
Thank you, Cdeg
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CdegAuthor Commented:
No problem, you earned it.
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