Picture the scene. Windows can browse the Network, but cannot browse the Internet. Its a Windows 2000 machine. When I see that kind of behaviour there are three possibilities.
- Spyware and Malware issues
- TCP/IP Protocol interference
- Third party application Interference
Spyware and Malware issues
The first thing that I check when I am doing this diagnosis is to check to see if there is any Spyware and Malware. I install Spybot Search and Destroy and update the antispyware definitions. I try to go into Safe Mode to do this. That way if it does pick up any nasties then it can remove them better.
Some of the spyware latch themselves onto the Winsocks without you knowing so what I also use to check this is a program called LSPFix and if it detects anything abnormal such as NewDotNet or any other strange protocols…I remove them.
NOTE: there are things that you shouldn’t delete in LSPFix. Some of the things are:
- wspwsp.dll -Winsock Proxy Name Space
- wshbth.dll Bluetooth Namespace
These are what I deem to be considered safe to keep. If you are unsure, I would recommend going to a forum and let the experts confirm the entries for you.
I also use Hijack This to see if there is anything, but I have found that cases where we can’t surf the web, Hijack This plays a lesser part.
TCP/IP Protocol interference
This is another cause of the internet surfing problem. What you might find is that some rogue protocol attached to the adapter. This was the cause of one of the problems that I was facing with the particular case that I was facing. You can check this in Windows 2000/XP in the Control Panel under network connections, and then checking the network adapter that you are connecting to the Internet. Usually the adapter is labelled Local Area Network Connection. On the system that I was working on, there was a strange protocol WinPoet. On further investigation, talking to the client, this was the protocol that talked to a ADSL wireless device. That solved the problem with Internet Explorer, but any other Internet applications it came up with connectivity issues. Which leads me to the third cause that can potentially cause problems………
Third party application Interference
The last component that can cause connection problems is third party applications. The worst offenders are the Security Suites. There are too many applications that can cause these problems. But I will talk about my experience. On this particular machine I knew that it had previous remnants of Norton Internet Security and Norton Antivirus that were not uninstalled properly. You can check this by looking at services running in Windows 2000/XP in Administrative tools.
For those of you that don’t know at the Symantec site they have utilities that can remove these remnants. This page talks about this. The tools are located here(Norton Internet Security Removal) and
here(Norton Antivirus Removal).
After running those utilities the third party Internet application worked! If there are any other causes that you have come across then please leave a comment! :-)