Vista Network and Sharing Center says not connected to a network, yet I am

Sometime in the last three weeks, Vista's networking awareness broke.  It was previously working since September, 2008 when I got the computer.  Note that I said "networking awareness" and not "networking".  I have no trouble connecting to wireless or wired networks, or PPTP or IPsec VPNs.  I also have no trouble accessing shares on networks I am connected to, or printing to network or shared printers.  I have no trouble connecting to the Internet or to servers via Remote Desktop.

The network status icon next to the speaker icon used to show a globe superimposed over the two computers when I successfully connected to a network, acquired an IP address, and the computer verified I had connectivity outside the gateway.  If I got an IP address but didn't have Internet connectivity, it would show a yellow warning triangle over the comptuers.  If there was no connection, it would display a red X.

Now, no matter what the status is, I have a red X.  I'm currently connected to my home wireless network and clearly have Internet access, yet it is showing the red X.  If I look in the Network and Sharing Center, it shows my computer and a globe representing the Internet, but it has a red X in the middle and the globe is grayed out.  It also says "Not connected".

If I look at the Network applet, it tells a similar story.  It says: "This computer is not connected to a network."  If I go to the Connect to a network tool, it shows me as "Connected with limited access" on my wireless connection.  This status would previously display the yellow warning triangle over the network status symbol.

This problem occurs 100% of the time in any network.  At home wired or wireless, at the office wired or wireless, at customer sites wired or wireless, at a hotel I was at recently..

Here is some information about my PC:
Dell Latitude D531 laptop (all drivers fully up-to-date)
Windows Vista Enterprise SP2
Active Directory domain member

I have Vista SP2 installed, but my problem predates the installation of SP2.  I installed SP2 hoping to resolve the issue.  The problem seemed to just show up one day.  I don't recall making any configuration changes or installing anything around the time I noticed the issue.

I also mentioned that this is a member of a domain.  Group policy does not seem to be the issue because I work for a small office that is 80% Vista and no one else has this issue.
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officecareAuthor Commented:
I did some research on Google and it seems to be a pretty widespread problem.  It turns out that I actually CAN'T connect to Microsoft PPTP VPNs using the built-in client.  It says to use the connection I have to have an Internet connection.  I have no trouble with the Fortinet Client to our customers that have IPsec VPNs.

I've attached a screenshot showing why I can't connect to the PPTP VPNs:

This is similar to an XP problem, where there is a configuration entry gone awry in the registry. The procedure to follow is something I use regularly for various network related problems. And although you CAN connect to the internet, and the LAN, this should still apply to your scenario...
Also, if you arent using IPv6, uninstall it from the adapter in the Network Connections. Additionally, you can try unchecking the 2 Link Layer Topology services, which is whats resoponsible for for creating the network maps....
Also, could be a "Media State" detection problem......
Heres the procedure.....
To totally rebuild your network connections.....

Go to the Device Manager>Network Adapters, and remove ALL NIC's from the device manager..

In the Device Manager, select View>Show Hidden Devices

(If the Show Hidden devices is not present, do the following command from a command prompt..)

set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1

More information on that command here....
Device Manager does not display devices that are not connected to the Windows XP-based computer

Go back to Network Adapters in the Device Manager, and make sure your adapters are all gone, including any older ones. (there will be several ' miniport' devices that are not able to be uninstalled....)



netsh int ip reset reset.log
netsh firewall reset
netsh winsock reset

Reboot and let Windows reinstall them...
officecareAuthor Commented:
Sorry for not responding here.  For some reason Experts-Exchange didn't notify me of the additional responses.

In any case, I opened up a support case with Microsoft and got it fixed.  I went through quite a bit to get to the final solution.  This is what did it for me:

Please check the permissions for Network List service either on the registry or dll's.

Network List Service
DLL's - netprofm.dll and netprof.dll (%SystemRoot%\System32\)
Registry Location - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\netprofm

Since the service is running on the LocalService account, please make sure that we have reading permission on the above locations for LocalService.  If the issue resolves after moving the machine to WORKGROUP, then it should also resolve by adding LocalService to the Administrators.

Permission on the registry
Right click on the Network List registry key, click on Permissions.  Then click on Add, Type in NT SERVICE\netprofm.  This is going to list netprofm in the Find wizard (As by default Netprofm is not present under the visible Builtin Users and accounts groups).

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Windows Vista

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