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Dead Browsers


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12 replies to this topic

#1 rosebaud

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 09:18 PM

Hi!

Windows XP SP 3
IE 8 /Opera/Firefox
AVG 8.5

I am trying to help my mother in law with her desktop browsers.
None of them will open.
I have to drive to her home to try any suggestions,and it takes a bit to get there,but i don't mind.
(anything to make mama-in-law smile with grace upon me,lol)

She has AOL and the IE browser on aol DOES work fine.

When i open IE 8 on her desktop,it returns the 404 error.

Opera returns a blank page.

I downloaded Firefox yesterday to see if i could get it working,and it returns a blank page also.

She needs IE 8 working so she can update windows.
She cannot update her Antivirus either.

I am wits' end,i know my way around my own pc,but i am at a loss as to what could have knocked her desktop browsers dead like this.

*Was told to post a link from here back to Malware thread so you can view her Hijack This Log.

Hijack this log:

http://forums.whatthetech.com/Desktop_brow...ed_t102943.html

Edited by rosebaud, 18 May 2009 - 10:05 PM.

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#2 8210GUY

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 04:14 AM

I wish I had a clear answer for you, I know exactly how tricky it is with having mates forever needing help which means a 70 mile round trip, so I feel for you there.
As to the problem it could be a few things, unfortunately after an infection it could be corruption, but lets hope not.
Now I am a little confused initially, you say you downloaded\installed Firefox ?
You have AVG but yet you can't update it ?
How did you download Firefox ?

My first thought is that you are being blocked by a firewall, AVG does not need to load a web page to update, it simply connects to it's server and downloads any new files, so your browser(s) doesn't sound like it's the issue, it sounds like your being blocked from the net, what firewall is installed ? maybe see if you can check if it has blocked anything.
But you can download AVG updates on another system as a file and transfer them to the other system if needed, although I find that either Avast or Avir are far superior to AVG, maybe consider changing to one of those.
Also windows updates do not need to go to the web site to work, as with AVG it auto checks and downloads any it finds if it's set to auto update, so I don't think any of your browsers is the problem, it's the physical connection itself , so here are a few thoughts, first have you got a system (say a laptop) that you can take and see if the physical connection actually works ? and if you have a spare Ethernet lead try using that for the same reason.
Another thing to check is the device manager, see if any conflicts are showing, go into the control panel and in the admin tools you will see the event log, launch that and see if it is showing any errors, it may give a clue as to what is going on.

Now given the distance here are some more extreme checks to try just incase the above doesn't help, this will try and provoke a reaction that may offer a clue, 1st reboot the router, simply pull the power lead and wait for 30 seconds and plug it back in, does that make a difference ?
Seeing as you have a router there is a fair chance it has a built in firewall, so although this is not a check I suggest easily, for testing purposes for a minute it should be fine, but basically turn off any software firewall, see if that makes a difference (but turn it back on straight after checking), mind you if your using a 3rd party firewall it can still block things when closed, so if it is a 3rd party firewall open it up and check if there are any blocked programs in there.
With the router you will need to check it out online to get the instructions on how to access it, go to the makers site and find the model, and it should tell you a set of digits or similar to type in a browser window, this will gain you access to the router settings, you will also need the user name and password, unless it was changed it should be the default one listed online.
Another extreme is to reset the router, there is probably a reset button somewhere on the back, or near the power jack input, usually a Biro is needed to press it in, again you'll probably find the instructions for this, but on mine it needs to be held in for 30 seconds or similar, this will reset it to the day it was bought, so if it is a deep setting this should clear that.
Now if the physical connection works, and it is just that PC that can't get out then it may be worth trying a repair install, do you have the OS disk ? if so you can try running the sfc /scannow command, it will replace original system files that may be corrupt\missing etc, failing that boot to the system disk and run a repair install.

As I say these are all extreme options, so only use them if all else fails, but there is an option to make your life easier assuming they can at least get online, get TeamViewer, install it on your system and theirs, then from your PC wherever you are in the world you can log into the other system and take control as though you were physically on the PC, the only thing you can't do is anything thats required with the system turned off, well offline at least, it means that as long as they can get online with it you can check things out from anywhere, all you need the other person to do is launch the program, and give you the 2 numbers, a 9 digit id and a 4 digit pass, without them giving these codes you (or anyone else) can not access the system, so there is no risk, it has saved me driving 1000's of miles since I started using it, I hope something here helps, good luck.

Braindead


#3 Tallon41

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 11:37 AM

[I preferr CrossLoop, but it's similar I'm sure. I like it because it works through port 80 and you don't have to talk someone else through opening ports in a Router.]

I not that clusty is the start page. Do you see that in the address bar when it starts ?

Normally with AOL, the IE start-page will be AOL.com. Can you change the home page to that, and then save-it, and close all open browsers and try it ?

Tallon41

#4 rosebaud

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 01:22 PM

Hi 8210GUY and Tallon41 :) Thank you so much for replying. "Now I am a little confused initially, you say you downloaded\installed Firefox ? You have AVG but yet you can't update it ? How did you download Firefox ?" I logged onto her AOL account and downloaded Firefox with her AOL browser which works just fine. :) "what firewall is installed" Ashampoo firewall is what she is using. I manually added the AVG items to allow AVG to update. Still no update. I checked AVG's site and it seems a lot of people are having trouble with AVG updating,so i will be looking for a new Anti-virus for her,any suggestions? "1st reboot the router, simply pull the power lead " She is connected to a cable company,she has no router. She can connect with no problem to AOL. And AOL"s browser works fine. None of the Desktop browsers work,like IE and Firefox. "I not that clusty is the start page. Do you see that in the address bar when it starts ?" I set Clusty search as her home page. I use it myself :) Aol's browser works fine. I want to try and fix her Desktop browsers. Something is wacky,and it is driving me nuts. LOL

#5 Tallon41

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 01:58 PM

I set Clusty search as her home page. I use it myself :)

cool. OK. But back to the question I asked.....

When you open IE, do you see the clusty URL in the address bar ? or do you see....say "about:blank" ? or something else ?

Tallon41

Edited by Tallon41, 19 May 2009 - 01:58 PM.


#6 rosebaud

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 02:57 PM

Hi :) "When you open IE, do you see the clusty URL in the address bar ? or do you see....say "about:blank" ? or something else ?" I see www.clusty.com I typed in www.microsoft.com and got Microsoft.com in the address bar,but still no site. I also did the IE Explorer diagnostics and it returns : Windows cannot Open HTTP or HTTPS or FTP. Check Firewall settings for HTTP port 80,and HTTPS port for port 443 and FTP port for port 41 I had turned off her firewall,including windows firewall to no avail.

#7 Tallon41

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 03:25 PM

I see www.clusty.com

ok. If you go to Internet Properties [or Internet Options]---connections tab---

Unless you are using a Proxy-server for internet access (and you'd know if you were,) UN-check the "automatically detect settings" check-box and click [ok], [ok]

... FTP port for port 41

I think you mean 21.

open this file in a text editor. %sysdrive%\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts

Lines beginin with a # are remarks. if the only line not "remarked" is
127.0.0.1 localhost

then it's normal. If there are other entries, copy post here, or attach file.

If it is normal, then go to :

start--accessories---system tools---system information

When the "system information" window opens, then
expand -components-, then -network-, then -protocol-.
When the right-pane populates, click in it, then press (Ctrl-A), then press (Ctrl-C)
paste the results here. You may delete all after the first 4 groups

Example: here is what the first 2 groups of an unfiltered connection look like

Name MSAFD Tcpip [TCP/IP]
Connectionless Service No
Guarantees Delivery Yes
Guarantees Sequencing Yes
Maximum Address Size 16 bytes
Maximum Message Size 0 bytes
Message Oriented No
Minimum Address Size 16 bytes
Pseudo Stream Oriented No
Supports Broadcasting No
Supports Connect Data No
Supports Disconnect Data No
Supports Encryption No
Supports Expedited Data Yes
Supports Graceful Closing Yes
Supports Guaranteed Bandwidth Yes
Supports Multicasting No

Name MSAFD Tcpip [UDP/IP]
Connectionless Service Yes
Guarantees Delivery No
Guarantees Sequencing No
Maximum Address Size 16 bytes
Maximum Message Size 63.93 KB (65,467 bytes)
Message Oriented Yes
Minimum Address Size 16 bytes
Pseudo Stream Oriented No
Supports Broadcasting Yes
Supports Connect Data No
Supports Disconnect Data No
Supports Encryption No
Supports Expedited Data No
Supports Graceful Closing No
Supports Guaranteed Bandwidth Yes
Supports Multicasting Yes


with that firewall, yours likely says something different.....

Tallon41

#8 rosebaud

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 03:52 PM

Hi Tallon :) I am going to have to drive to her house to check this stuff. She is not pc savvy. Tried to take her through it step by step,but she is all over the place. :( She has choir practice and therefore i cannot go to her house until tomorrow. I don't work,so that's not a problem for me,i will get over there as soon as i can and follow your instructions to see what they reveal. ""open this file in a text editor. %sysdrive%\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts"" um,i pasted the above into notepad,but it does not do anything........i may be a dunce,too,LOL.

#9 Tallon41

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 04:21 PM

I am going to have to drive to her house to check this stuff. She is not pc savvy.
Tried to take her through it step by step,but she is all over the place. :(

no problem. If you can walk her through downloading
the Crossloop program from Crossloop.com and get it installed, then you can Remote control her machine.....someone has to be there to give you the current 'code' and "accept" the connection....and it has to have an internet connection which it appears to. You'll have to tell the firewall to allow it. If you decide not to do that, you may want to consider installing it yourself while you are there, so that it will be there when you need it in the future....or "if". lol

"open this file in a text editor. %sysdrive%\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts"

sorry I did not mean to confuse you.

I want you to open a file that currently exists on the PC. it is named the Hosts file. It has no file extension, so you must open notepad, (or your fav text editor,) then click File--->open, then click "my computer" then navigate to the above address to locate the file, and double-click it.

If your windows is on the C: drive as is common, then the file is located at
C:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts
if the D: drive (like mine as I dual-boot,) then
D:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts

so you have to open the "Windows" folder, then the "System32" folder, then the "Drivers" folder, then the "Etc" folder,
locate the file "hosts" and double-click it.

If that makes sense....

Tallon41

Edited by Tallon41, 19 May 2009 - 05:15 PM.


#10 8210GUY

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 05:13 PM

Hi, well glad to see you have got some excellent help now, so I wont encroach on that as it will add more confusion, and TBH they are far more aware of these settings than I am so I will bow out leaving you with some excellent help, but before I do, 2 points, TeamViewer is a remote desktop software application, very simply to use, they give you 2 codes (the id number and the pass) so it definitely sounds like the software you know Tallon41, think I might have a look at that one when I get some time, Thanks for the name.

I had turned off her firewall,including windows firewall to no avail.

Now this concerns me, if you are running 2 firewalls you are breaking the 1 at a time rule, and that can cause conflict and allow bad things to happen, maybe you aren't running both at the same time, but from the quote I have to wonder, hence raising the point.
The 1 at a time rule is simple, it refers to real time protection only, you can have as many stand alone scanners as you like, but pause\exit real time protection of the same type before using a standalone scanner, it never hurts to scan via other software just to check the real time cover doesn't get caught out.

So basically what you should have is 1 firewall (software that is, hardware as in router does not make a difference), 1 anti virus and 1 anti spyware, more than 1 of each of these running at the same time can cause problems so is very bad practise, so just ensure the windows firewall is shut off if using a 3rd party one.
As to an alternate anti virus, I'll start by saying make sure the firewall is only a firewall, I don't know it personally but some come in an inclusive package so has everything in the 1 program, so do ensure it is a firewall ONLY, now that said AVG is OK, but there are much better alternate choices out there, and the 2 leaders in free versions are Avira AntiVir and Avast, there is not a lot between them in how good they are, so it is more personal preference, I prefer Avast, I find it very simple to use and set up, I tried Avira AntiVir once but didn't like it, I found it a bit too complex, but apart from that they are pretty much as good as they get IMHO, hope this helps, and hope you get your problem sorted, good luck.

Braindead


#11 rosebaud

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 01:29 AM

Hi 8210GUY :)

Thank you for the reply.

So basically what you should have is 1 firewall (software that is, hardware as in router does not make a difference), 1 anti virus and 1 anti spyware, more than 1 of each of these running at the same time can cause problems


I am glad you pointed that out to me.
I will ensure that her windows firewall is disabled. (and mine) lol

I prefer Avast, I find it very simple to use and set up, I tried Avira AntiVir once but didn't like it, I found it a bit too complex, but apart from that they are pretty much as good as they get IMHO, hope this helps, and hope you get your problem sorted, good luck.


Thank you for your honest input,i will look for Avast for her pc.
She needs something easy that won't panic her,lol. ;)

Again,thanks and i hope i get her problem sorted,too. I have not been over to my Mother-in-law's house so much in 15 years as i have working on her browser problems,Shhhh! lol

#12 rosebaud

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 01:44 AM

Hi Tallon41,

Thanks again for replying. :)


(Tallon41)and it has to have an internet connection which it appears to. You'll have to tell the firewall to allow it. If you decide not to do that, you may want to consider installing it yourself while you are there, so that it will be there when you need it in the future....or "if". lol


Yes,this would make it soooo much easier than me driving back and forth to her home and waiting for replies to a post,then rushing to my own home to make dinner,lol.

(Tallon41)so you have to open the "Windows" folder, then the "System32" folder, then the "Drivers" folder, then the "Etc" folder,
locate the file "hosts" and double-click it.

If that makes sense....


Ahhh,yes! Now it makes sense!

I was copying and pasting and trying to open it and sitting there (blink)(blink). lol

I will do everything you stated and get back with you tomorrow(today)?

Thank you for taking the time to help me. :)

#13 rosebaud

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 06:36 PM

Hi Tallon!


I got her browsers fixed!! :)

My sister told me to try uninstalling IE 8.

I researched several sites,and tried to remove IE 8.

Now you can't just uninstall it through Control panel,you need a nifty little help tool i found on microsoft's site.

Uninstall IE 8

Worked like a charm and reverted IE 8 back to IE 7! yay!

All her browsers are working fine now :)

Thank you so much for your help,i really appreciate it

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