Windows XP cannot resolve DNS names but nslookup works

Posted on 2009-02-23
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
My PC is a samsung X20 laptop, ran fine for many years.
Had trouble with spoolsv.exe, made me remove some network drivers (e.g. Cisco VPN client, AVM bluetooth driver), and installed XP service pack 3 (through complete download).

After this, DNS resolution has stopped working.
Network connection works fine, can reach any host through IP address, but no windows program resolves DNS names.

gives: ping can't find host ""


non-authoritative answer:

Have seen similar question before, but answers didn't help.

- Windows XP Professional SP3
- Basic SW loaded
- Integrated NIC
- ESET virus, old Sophos installation (unable to remove, but disabled)

- PC receives IP information address via DHCP (IP addr, DNS)
- PC cannot resolve Internet host names via DNS
- PC can get to web sites using ip address in place of Host name

ipconfig /all gives:
Ethernetadapter LAN-Verbindung:
        Verbindungsspezifisches DNS-Suffix:
        Beschreibung. . . . . . . . . . . : Broadcom 440x 10/100 Integrated Controller
        Physikalische Adresse . . . . . . : 00-1C....
        DHCP aktiviert. . . . . . . . . . : Yes
        Autokonfiguration aktiviert . . . : Yes
        IP-Adresse. . . . . . . . . . . . :
        Subnetzmaske. . . . . . . . . . . :
        Standardgateway . . . . . . . . . :
        DHCP-Server . . . . . . . . . . . :
        DNS-Server. . . . . . . . . . . . :
        Primärer WINS-Server. . . . . . . :

Troubleshooting history (the following have been unsuccessful)
- WinsockXPfix
- Removed TCP/IP and reinstalled
- Disabled Windows Firewall
- Set manual DNS server addresses
- Spybot S&D, AdAware failes
- services: dns-client running, tried activated/non-activated
- re-installed network card (broadcom 440)
- problem on both connections: the internal nic and the wlan
- tried to remove service pack 3, failed due to "file not found"

Current status
I am currently at a loss.

Do you have any idea?

Question by:ultimate_newuser
    LVL 26

    Expert Comment

    What happens if you set your DNS server to  Does DNS suddenly start working?  If so, perhaps it's a problem with the DNS servers you are currently using, which seem to be on your own network.

    Author Comment

    Thank you for the quick reply!

    Just tested it, unfortunately doesn't help.

    As nslookup also uses the nameserver on our own network and ip addresses are resolved with nslookup, I assume the problem is on the client.

    How can I discover if my client sends out any udp/tcp packets at all for the dns request? Maybe that'd help to narrow down the problem
    LVL 26

    Expert Comment

    Good point re nslookup.

    You could use wireshark (a packet sniffer) to determine whether the machine is actually sending packets for the DNS requests.  Have you looked for something strange in your hosts file?


    Author Comment

    hosts file: was empty
    now I just put in two lines for my provider's smtp/imap server to be able to send and receive emails.

    Thanks for the wireshark hint, just downloading and will test it in a minute.

    Author Comment

    ok, captured the packets with wireshark.

    now it gets interesting:

    typed "" into firefox and captured packets.

    Even though the dns server is the only DNS server according to ipconfig /all, there are no packets sent to it.

    The client sends a packet to the WINS-Server in the network to port 137 net bios querying for
    The wins-server returns "requested name does not exist"
    Client sends 4 net bios name queries to (?) without getting a response.

    - client does not send a dns query to the nameserver
    - client sends netbios ns requests to wins server
    LVL 26

    Expert Comment

    - Are you by any chance using Zonealarm?

    Author Comment

    have used it previously, but not anymore.
    no zonealarm processes running.
    LVL 26

    Accepted Solution

    Hmm.  I've seen a number of instances where SP3 didn't install properly and, as a result, DNS exhibited symptoms like yours.  The normal advice is to uninstall SP3 and try again, but apparently that's not working for you.  Could you try reinstalling SP3 (by downloading the package using another machine, putting it on, e.g., a USB drive, and installing it from there?)


    Author Comment

    Thank you. Yes, that's a good idea. I was already looking for the downloaded version from this morning, but somehow it's gone, so I'll have to download it tomorrow again when I'm at the good network connection with a second computer.

    Author Comment

    sp3 installation in protected mode fixed the problem

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