Windows 10 Browsers (chrome, EI, Edge) will not connect

the_b1ackfox used Ask the Experts™
Multiple browser death on Windows 10

Hello Experts,  Yesterday we had a windows 10 box become unusable.  Browsing using Edge, IE or Chrome fails to connect and display a webpage (locally or to the Internet)

DNS resolves.
I am able to ping IP addresses both locally and on the internet.
wireshark shows the requests going out and data coming back.
Antivirus is up to date, the system runs clean.
Malware bytes also runs clean.

There is unusually high disk utilization and we are currently running chkdisk on it ...

Any ideas on what would knock out the browsers?
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William FulksSystems Analyst & Webmaster

Take a look at your HOSTS file and make sure it hasn't been changed.

This sound highly suspect of some kind of malware so I'd be careful about putting it on your network. Maybe try connecting wirelessly with a hotspot phone or something a little more isolated.

Can you get into Internet Settings and make sure a proxy has not been set?
There is unusually high disk utilization and we are currently running chkdisk on it

Not a bad thought, but if the system is running otherwise normally, I'm leaning to agree with William Fulks.

Did you happen to look to see what process was causing the disk usage?
Cache poisoning is a "possibility", you could try clearing it as well as its history
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Robert RComputer Service Technician

Is the IP address of the machine giving a normal IP address or is it an apifa  ip address: ie 169.253.....    is the network icon shown normally or is it a globe shaped icon indicating it is not connected to the network. Have you tried restarting the system?   Try resetting the settings of all three browsers to defaults and clear the cache or the stored files including the cookies.

As mentioned check the host file to see if there is anything strange: click the link to show you how to edit the hosts file or open it.

Open cmd.exe with Run as Administrator.

run TCP/IP Repair:
netsh int ip reset c:\resetlog.txt

reset winsock:
netsh winsock reset

release/renew IP:

flush DNS:
ipconfig /flushdns
You will see the following confirmation: Windows IP Configuration Successfully flushed the DNS Resolver Cache.
net stop dnscache
net start dnscache

restart computer


ok, a lot of ground to cover, so I'll do this in order of comment:

1) William: HOSTS file and proxy

There is a proxy set on the network, but the local connection attempts rules out the hosts file (It was the correct IP address) , and the local connection would bypass the proxy

2)Ken: disk utilization

It doesn't show what process is eating the disk utilization, and the utilization is above 90%, when I last looked.

3) Kem: Cache poisoning

Doesn't the browsers use different caches?  (chrome was already reset btw)

4) Robert: TCP Stack

Normal IP addresses, and I have't done a TCP/IP reset the chkdisk is finishing up.  And I think the TCP/IP stack is intact.  Wireshark was able to download itself onto the system (I copied the install file from the network), and wireshark supports internet connectivity
William FulksSystems Analyst & Webmaster

Can you open sites by IP address?

Have you tried logging in as a different user to make sure it's not just a corrupt profile issue?


Update:  The disk utilization is normal now;  William, I cannot connect via IP address.  I can connect to a local webserver, but the connectivity is intermittent.  I have moved the computer to a subnet that doesn't use a proxy.  The circle just spins when trying to connect to other websites, or sometimes the local website.  Still not able to return the PC to production.
William FulksSystems Analyst & Webmaster

Have you tried logging in as another user, especially one that has never signed onto that machine before?


Yeah, different user same result.   We ended up doing a system reset, so we could get the system back to production.  But it doesn't answer the questions of what could take out all of the browsers...
Systems Analyst & Webmaster
You either had a service that was failing, something to do with the firewall perhaps, maybe a networking issue caused by a bad driver. All in all, something was corrupt on that system. That sort of thing can be really hard to pinpoint. Eventually, you reach a point where the amount of time trying to troubleshoot it exceeds the time where you could just reset it like you did.

If the PC has built-in diagnostics, you may want to run them just to make sure you don't have any bad RAM or a failing motherboard. If it happens again after the reset, you'll know something may be physically wrong with the PC.


Thank you for the help guys
Dan SheridanSenior System Eng / vITM

Please check the Gateway address. also make sure you can ping the gateway.

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