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Browsers unable to connect to web sites, "The address is not valid"

IE7 error message: "The address is not valid"
Firefox error message: "Unable to connect"

I have a user who is suddenly unable to view websites after installing Internet Explorer 7 and some Windows Updates on Windows XP SP2. It only seems that the browser is affected (port 80?), as access is available to the rest of the network (files on server) and other programs that access the internet for information (Google Earth works fine, so does Windows Update).
Also, the results are the same when I test using either wireless or ethernet.

So far, I have uninstalled any recent updates to eliminate any potential causes and even installed FireFox to make sure that IE7 isn't the main culprit. Also, the run-of-the-mill troubleshooting methods, like disabling firewall and anti-virus, repairing network connections, etc, have been tried with no effect.

All searches thus far have been too erroneous to narrow down to a proper solution so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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NeonDevil
Asked:
NeonDevil
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3 Solutions
 
Marc ZCommented:
Two quick questions.

Did you ever have ANY other software firewalls installed on this machine?

Have you tried http://www.snapfiles.com/get/winsockxpfix.html ?
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NeonDevilAuthor Commented:
Just tried WinSock XP Fix, didn't work.
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Jan SpringerCommented:
In the system config area, did any of the Internet settings get modified that would be preventing access?
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Marc ZCommented:
Has this machine been rebooted since installing IE7?
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NeonDevilAuthor Commented:
mtz1of4:
Unsure if firewalls other than what XP provides has been used/installed. But no firewall related setting have been changed prior to the mishap. Firewall has been disabled after the fact for troubleshooting purposes.

Internet settings have not been changed (manually) to my knowledge. Access to the internet is there, but just not to the browsers.

_jesper_:
The machine has been rebooted several times, upon uninstallation of updates and reinstallation of IE7.
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Jan SpringerCommented:
neondevil:

Can you check the system config for the Internet zone?  It might have been automagically modified during an update.
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NeonDevilAuthor Commented:
_jesper_:
Settings have been set to medium for Internet Zone. Also double-checked the settings for anything strange afterwards.

Still no go.
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Marc ZCommented:
This may seem silly, but when you installed Firefox, did you Import the settings from IE? Even the Connection settings?

Have you confirmed that the Connection settings in IE7 that does not connect the same as the one IE6 that will?  In other words, is there a proxy or not under Tools->Internet Options-0>Connections, and also under Firefox->Tools->Options->Advanced->Network->Connections.

We can also look into getting Port Reporter to try to track this issue down.
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/837243
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Marc ZCommented:
Although I believe TCPView is even quicker. Get TCPView here.  http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/Utilities/TcpView.mspx
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orangutangCommented:
Do you have a router?
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Fred MarshallCommented:
Reboot the modem and the router before you waste time with anything else.

You didn't say if you can't reach just *some* pages or all pages / URLs.

Check DNS to see if it's working.  Do this:

open a command line window like this: Start / Run / type in: cmd <enter>

At the prompt, type in:
ping www.rgb.com
The response should be:

Pinging www.rgb.com [69.50.1.237] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 69.50.1.237: bytes=32 time=65ms TTL=54
Reply from 69.50.1.237: bytes=32 time=45ms TTL=54
Reply from 69.50.1.237: bytes=32 time=45ms TTL=54
Reply from 69.50.1.237: bytes=32 time=44ms TTL=54

Then:
ping www.dkosihtowh.com  [which is a phony domain name to generate the "could not find host" message below].

And the response should be:

Ping request could not find host www.dkosihtowh.com. Please check the name and t
ry again.

If you can't find a host to ping that returns the IP address (as for www.rgb.com above), then you likely don't have DNS service.  That's where to look next then....
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NeonDevilAuthor Commented:
A quick note - the machine has browser problems in two different networks (work and home). All other machines at the work network have no issues connecting to the 'net.

mtz1of4:
I have tried a plethora of different configuration settings, in both IE and Firefox, to see if it'll 'jumpstart' or give me some sort of clue as to where the problem lies. No luck so far.
Also, I'm using TCPview to troubleshoot as well (but still trying to learn how to really use it)

orangutang:
Yes, there is a router - verified working (all other computers are working just fine), all pathways to the internet have been reset anyway to help troubleshoot the problem.

fmarshall:
Ping and traceroute results are all positive, with the exception of bad domains.
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Jan SpringerCommented:
It sounds as if sometimes DNS works and sometimes it doesn't.

Do you have your DNS setting hardcoded and, if there is more than one, are they all valid (operational)?
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Marc ZCommented:
"A quick note - the machine has browser problems in two different networks (work and home). "

OK then, let's take a look at a Hijackthis log then.  Download and run Hijack This
http://www.majorgeeks.com/download3155.html
Copy/paste the log here so we can see it.

I figured we were just dealing with a lone machine on one network, but now you mention multiple networks so I'm also sugesting running a FEW different antispyware/malware programs,  Superantispyware http://www.superantispyware.com/
Lavasoft Adaware  http://www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware/
Spybot Search & Destroy  http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download/
And to confirm, you HAVE scanned this machine for virus, yes?

Or a Quick solution of backing up data and then reinstalling OS might be quicker then diagnosing issue and actually cleaning it up.
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Jan SpringerCommented:
With all of the latest browser vulnerabilities including Firefox and IE7, a complete scan for everything would certainly be in order.
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NeonDevilAuthor Commented:
Solution found:
It turns out that with the combination of the IE7 install and a Norton 360 update, it fubared the firewall settings. All firewall settings were turned off for troubleshooting purposes, and despite checking (double-checking) and changing all the firewall settings, nothing seemed to change the configuration, especially with Norton 360.

Nonetheless, Norton 360 has been uninstalled and things have returned to normal.

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Marc ZCommented:
Yes, Norton 360 does have a firewall doesn't it? And boy is it a tough one.
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