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Cannot access http sites; secure sites (https) are accessible

Posted on 2006-07-16
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Last Modified: 2010-04-13
I have a Win2k computer that will not access non-sescure (http) web sites.  It WILL access secure (https) sites!  This problem is not restricted to Internet Explorer 6.  Netscape 7.1 and Opera running on this computer have the same problem.  The configuration is ISP = Comcast, PC = Dell PC running Win2k, Motorola cable modem connected to a D-Link VoIP box connected to PC.  D-Link box has WAN in, Ethernet out, phone out.

The errors I get when accessing a non-secure site (i.e. www.google.com) are:

IE6:
This page cannot be displayed.  Cannot find server or DNS error.

Netscape 7.1:
The connection was refused when attempting to contact [URL]

Opera:
You tried to access the address [URL], which is currently unavailable.  Please make sure that the web address (URL) is correctly spelled and punctuated, then try reloading the page.

If I access a secure site (i.e. https://www.wellsfargo.com), I can browse to my heart's delight.

IPCONFIG /ALL shows a valid IP assigned to the PC and valid DNS servers.  If I ping the DNS servers, they respond.

NSLOOKUP [URL] gives me an immediate and valid reply.  If I ping the [URL] site IP, it responds.

The HOSTS file contains only one entry: 127.0.0.1 localhost.

Registry entries for prefixes are:
HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\URL\DefaultPrefix  http://
HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\URL\Prefixes
 ftp=ftp://
 gopher=gopher://
 home=http://
 mosaic=http://
 www=http://


Even if I enter the IP address of a non-secure site into the address bar, I still cannot access the web page.  If I plug a Mac into the network connection, everything works fine.  The last two sites this PC visited before the trouble began were craigslist.com and wellsfargo.com.  I have deleted cookies, history, and internet cache.  Any ideas on why this PC seems to be stuck on a secure connection and how to "unstick" it?
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Question by:ronlow
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11 Comments
 

Author Comment

by:ronlow
ID: 17163387
Two more comments to the above -

If I sign on as a different user, the problem still exists for the different user, so it isn't user dependent.
The problem occurs whether Symantec Internet Security is enabled or disabled.

Could Windows be stuck on a particular port?  If I entered "www.google.com:80" into the address bar, would that force the browser to use port 80?

Thanks for any help with this.
0
 

Author Comment

by:ronlow
ID: 17221170
This is still driving me nuts.

Today I ran "sfc /scannow" to verify critical system files.  No cigar - PC will still not bring up a non-secure web site.  Ran a Symantec/Norton Internet Security "Live Update" and it ran without a hitch.  Tried the "www.google.com:80" thing, but that didn't work.  Still can't display any non-secure web pages.  If I go to secure websites, everthing works great!  If you have any inkling of what is wrong with this PC, I would appreciate the help.
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Author Comment

by:ronlow
ID: 17221187
P.S. to the above comment.

I went to "https://www.microsoft.com", which will accept a connection using https:, so the web page displays.  But when I click on any link, the browser stalls and I get an error to the effect of "could not connect".
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Author Comment

by:ronlow
ID: 17230160
Ran "Registry Mechanic" on this machine today.  It found numerous registry errors of varying importance.  But, when the dust settled, I could still not access non-secure web sites.
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Author Comment

by:ronlow
ID: 17237014
Unregistered and re-registered the following dll's:
softpub.dll, wintrust.dll, initpki.dll, dssenh.dll, rsaenh.dll, gpkcsp.dll, slbcsp.dll, mssip32.dll, and cryptdlg.dll.  Still no change.

I noticed I was also getting an error when I would try to open regedit using Start > Run.  The error was "This Internet shortcut cannot be opened because  failed to run".  I followed an EE thread that suggested deleting registry value HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\URL\DefaultPrefix]
Default="http://"
After deleting this key, Start > Run would launch a program without the Internet shortcut error, but IE6 would still not open a non-secure web page.
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LVL 22

Expert Comment

by:rickhobbs
ID: 17237883
Can you install Firefox and see if it can handle http pages?
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Expert Comment

by:rickhobbs
ID: 17237908
If Firefox works, then with IE open, go to Tools > Options > Advanced. Click on the Restore Defaults button. Click OK. Reboot the computer
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Author Comment

by:ronlow
ID: 17247031
Rick, thanks for your coments.  I installed FireFox on the PC and when I launched it, got the following message:

FireFox can't establish a connection to the server at www.mozilla.org.

That got me to thinking what the common thread could be.  Why would all browsers have trouble connecting to non-secure websites?  Why would "ping", "nslookup", and "tracert" work fine, but regular browsing wouldn't?  How about TCP/IP?  Could it be corrupt?

So I uninstalled TCP/IP, then reinstalled it.  Problem solved, everything works.

Where's my beer?
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LVL 22

Accepted Solution

by:
rickhobbs earned 500 total points
ID: 17247082
Exactly what I would have recommended once I knew Firefox also didn't work.  ping, tracert, and nslookup use different ports.  I should have added If Firefox doesn't work, reinstall TCPIP but I never know the level of the questioners.  I would have given more detailed, step-by-step removal and reinstall of TCPIP.

Well, at least you are back in business!

You can post a 0 point question requesting a refund of your points if you weren't helped.
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Author Comment

by:ronlow
ID: 17252552
The thing that threw me was that I could bring up pages on secure sites, but not non-secure sites.  Why would TCP/IP be partially broken?  Why would the port matter?  Or do you think the port number was corrupted and therefore invalid?
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LVL 22

Expert Comment

by:rickhobbs
ID: 17253581
That is exactly what it was.  Either a registry entry, or a services file, or a dll was corrupt and couldn't handle port 80.  I have seen this on ftp connections and also on exactly the opposite of what you had, 80 worked but 443 didn't.  I am just happy the solution was found easily.  On one system I worked on the TCPIP re-intall didn't even work.  A total OS reinstall was required.

Thanks!
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