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Need Computer GuRu for troubleshooting assistance Please

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by pen, Dec 17, 2008.

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  1. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Dell desktop running XP.

    Last Friday I got on my desktop and found that it would not load webpages using IE and would not retrieve email using outlook. the little blue computer screens at the lower right corner would each flash but would just sit there saying "Website found, waiting for reply" and sit there forever. The "Webpage could not be displayed" error never even tried to pop up.

    As I couldn't find any problems or figure out what was going on, I did a system restore to Dec 7.

    Computer worked great the rest of the evening Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This evening. Same thing happened again. However this time, my restore date of Dec 7 is gone. I tried restoring the computer back to this weekend when it was working fine and I still can't get online.

    What are your suggestions?

    Thanks,

    pen

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  2. lass442

    lass442 New Member

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    Hi pen,

    Have you cleared your cache? Run defrag and disk clean up? Are you connecting wirelessly or by ethernet? You shouldn't have to run a full restore to correct connectivity issues. And of course, don't overlook the obvious; is your anti-virus up to date?

    If you are able to connect to the internet, I would suggest downloading Firefox and use that for a browser. IE has far too many vulnerabilities.

    lass
  3. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Thanks for the response.

    Antivirus is up to date, ran the scan and no problems. Also running a firewall and have tried turning that off then attempting to connect but no change. Clean the cache regularly but have not run the defrag in a while as it says "it is not necessary at this time" I still will run it overnight on your suggestion.

    I ran a restore thinking that the problem could have been associated with an automatic update? (Not saying my thought processes is accurate, that is what I was thinking tho!) And it did work to get things connected again, at least for a few days.

    I have DSL and connect directly to the modem. My wireless laptop that I am using this instant is having no issues. Again, the desktop did have full internet access again once I ran the restore the first time. Also, the network folders between the laptop and desktop are fine.

    UPDATE:

    As I was typing this I decided to go in and check on the desktop as I restarted it for th 5th time this evening. Magically it is cruising around the net just fine again.

    Obviously there is some sort of problem that is causing intermittant issues? Any other suggestions as to where to look and what to do other than what lass shared which I will be doing now.

    thanks again,

    pen
  4. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Are you using a router? THe modem or router might be on its last leg.
    Try rebooting the modem, or both if you have a router also.
    Power puter down, Unplug power to both Modem & Router is one exists, powerup modem, then router, then restart the puter.
  5. lass442

    lass442 New Member

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    Hi pen,

    Hogwildz's suggestions would have been the next ones from me. If your DSL modem is older, it might be on it's last leg. You also might have a bad cable from your desktop to modem. You can run a ping from your laptop to check for packet loss.
    Also, you can take a look in 'device manager' to see if your ethernet card is ok. A yellow exclamation next to it will indicate an issue. You can reinstall, update or roll back drivers from there.
    Running a restore was a logical thought, although, you can roll back updates if you think that auto update might have caused as issue. I would suggest turning off auto updates. I've had issues with past pc's as a result of auto updates, now I manually pick and choose which ones I install.
    I don't run IE, I use Firefox and find that the pc runs much cleaner. I still have IE installed, and can use it if I wish, but Firefox is set as the default browser.

    Regarding the loss of your Dec 7 back up date; when you run restore, it will restore back to the date of last restore. So every time you restore, it will go back as far as the last time you did it. When you get it going nicely again, you might want to back up that point. That way if you do run restore again, you can choose the point of that back up.

    Best of luck, and keep us posted.

    lass
  6. d.n.f.

    d.n.f. New Member

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    When you do get it working switch to Firefox. It is painless and runs much better than IE or Safari. I have run it on my pc for three years and on my Mac for two.
    You should see a slight speed improvement.

    Best of luck.
  7. backpack09

    backpack09 Minister of Fire

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  8. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    now that is interesting.

    I ran trend micro's free scan also and it didn't find anything. But god only knows what is going on with that vulnerability.


    Also with the modem / router could it still be broken if.......

    I have 2 modems, one of my own and the other from my ISP. My ISP wanted 5bux a month to run their as wireless, I already had a wireless modem so just ran a line from the ISP's modem to mine, and have wireless. My laptop obviously uses my modem and has no problems. My computer was also plugged into this modem. During the time I was having problems I tried unplugging it from this modem and moving it to the first one from the ISP, and things didn't change.

    I went to the command prompt and typed IPconfig

    then typed ping 127.0.0.1 and everything bounced back fine.

    I am going to be putting firefox on tonight assuming I can get online.


    Thanks for the help guys

    pen
  9. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    I had a problem a few years back where my Modem was Docsys (spelling) 2 I thinkl, and the cable company upgraded to Docsys 2.5 or 3 or something like that, so my modem was out dated and was not longer compatible with the new Docsys. I still had connection here & there, but was very internittent and finally was none existent. I had to buy a new version modem to match.
    I think I remember the OL installing update automatically and she could not connect after a certain one. Had to uninstall it to get her connection back.
    Problem is, it could be any number of problems.
  10. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    I do hope it was something with IE that is now resolved.

    BUT, in my heart, I do not think it was as I couldn't access my email using Outlook and I couldn't sign on to AOL IM either, making me think it was something else.

    Just weird that the other computer would be fine, it wouldn't change the problem if I switched which modem the wire was in, went back to normal after a restart

    I hate intermittent problems. Especially with computers. Without you guys there is not much customer support out there without paying through the nose.

    pen
  11. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    If one computer is running fine, then its obviously not the internet itself, or modem.
    Might need a new NIC card on the puter having problems.
  12. lass442

    lass442 New Member

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    pen,

    You're on your way to resolving the issue. You've established that the connectivity issue is with the desktop and not with the modem or the router because your laptop works fine. First thing, let's be clear... you have a modem from your ISP, and a router which you bought yourself. Modems and routers are not all that different, but they do serve different functions. So you've isolated your issue and neither the modem or the router is the cause. The problem is with the desktop.
    You can uninstall the ethernet card (or dsl card, if they are different) and reinstall this to its original (default) setting in device manager. After you do this, you can look for specific updates. MS sends out updates (auto updates) in mass generic form. Sometimes they are not what your computer uses or needs, cluttering up your library with unnecessary files or missing files that you do need. This is why auto update is not always a good thing.
    Once you get this mess cleaned up, you can download Firefox, turn off auto updates ( there is an interface in 'internet options ' where you can have MS notify you automatically, but you choose what you wish to update). Even if you're running Firefox, I still recommend that you select which updates you want. You might need some for Outlook Express, if you opt to continue using that, as well.
    There are more stable, less vulnerable alternatives to OE. While email clients are very convenient, they also present their fair share of troubles. I recommend reviewing options within your servers capabilities, such as spam control & address blocking, etc. If you've been experiencing an extraordinary amount of spam in your OE inbox, you might need to change your email addy.
    That could be part of the trouble.
    Here's one last tip... open up an 'anonymous' email account. This would be with yahoo, gmail, msn, etc. Use that email for registering with anything other than personal email. So any on-line shopping, newsletters, on-line accounts you register for, you'll use that address. Not banking, not friends, etc. It's like separating your recyclables, so to speak.

    I'm right with you... I hate intermittent trouble with connectivity, or any trouble, for that matter. I'm OCD when it comes to my computers. They need to be up and running clean everyday, all the time. I have ZERO tolerance for trouble.... that's why we have at least one MAC in the house. Should you find yourself faced with the decision of replacing your desktop, please allow me to persuade you to consider replacing it with an iMAC. I promise that you won't regret it.
  13. d.n.f.

    d.n.f. New Member

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    Yeah I wouldn't worry about it too much. These internets are just a fad anyways.
  14. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Simplest solution... As usual, the problem is Microsoft, so Fire Bill and Ballmer's Evil Empire, install a Linux Distro, (I like Gentoo, but that one isn't very beginner friendly, Ubuntu is probably the best distro to start on)

    I don't get virus problems - and I don't need to worry about anti-virus software...

    I don't have the "security hole of the day" issues

    I don't have to pay for my software, and I get the source code for it as well.

    I have TONS of free and helpful support, occasionally even from the people that WROTE the software...

    Gooserider
  15. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    I love my Vista, and glad for every dollar it cost.
  16. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    So far so good with the switch to firefox.

    No other issues have arisen.

    Email is being checked through the web sever rather than outlook now even though spam really wasn't an issue.

    Still need to figure out how to change my updates settings but will get to that perhaps later today or tomorrow.

    If it malfunctions again I am going to reinstall my Ethernet card and see if that helps.

    This desktop is about 3.5 years old. It won't be too long before I will be looking into an upgrade, especially if this thing starts becoming unreliable. Up until this point it has been a flawless workhorse so I really cannot complain.

    However, after going through a NIGHTMARE trying to get my XP desktop and my Vista laptop to share a dell printer, it pretty much sold me on the idea of the next computer being a mac.

    I think however I won't buy another desktop, but rather a laptop. My wife's laptop never comes to the office anymore, lives in the living room! I think I would get much more use out of a laptop in the long run.

    Thanks for the assistance everyone.

    pen
  17. d.n.f.

    d.n.f. New Member

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    I run a four year old iMac and it has given me some trouble. The power supply failed but it was covered under a secret warranty. The operating system does crash, probably just as much as older xp machines but I push my computer.
    Macs are expensive for what you get.
    I also run a newer xp machine for work. It hasn't crashed since I bought it (one year).

    I love the Mac for ease of use. I hate the Mac for lack of choice for when I buy one. Really limited in options. Plus they are really expensive.
    If you do buy one buy a refurb and make sure you get the warranty. Walt Mossberg is all over this option for Macs (refurb with warranty), you will at least save some money. Check out the website.

    Best of luck.
  18. Green Mtn Boy

    Green Mtn Boy New Member

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    Don't upgrade!! Just keep ur old computer and put Linux on it like Gooserider said....It'll perform like a super computer and you won't have all the windows issues. I can't believe all the open source programs available these days. Firefox and all the Linux distros included. People that write software and distribute it as open source have undoubtedly help society progress........Most web servers run Linux giving us less smart people the ability to hang out on these forums and contribute when we can.
  19. lass442

    lass442 New Member

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    This is a great idea. It's a viable cost effective alternative to shelling out major MAC money. I agree that Apple doesn't provide/include many options, but it's the simplicity that sells, I think. I've had more beach-balls than blue screens of death (XP has never crashed, ran 2K pro before XP with no crahes) with the iMAC vs XP, which surprises me, but then I push the MAC much harder than the pc.
  20. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    So far, my only problems with firefox is that I cannot view my hotmail email (I don't want to hear it! I've had this account since before microsoft owned them).

    I can go to www.hotmail.com no problems on my vista machine, but cannot get there on this XP OS.

    pen
  21. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Minor giggle - MS doesn't like to admit it, but Hotmail does NOT run on MS software... It originally was on built on Sun / Solaris, and was running on that when MS bought it. MS tried to switch to running on NT servers, and found that they weren't capable of handling the traffic volume... They had to switch back.

    Of course these days most of the serious sites are running on Linux on PC hardware, since it is at least as fast as Solaris without the proprietary box cost and without the licensing issues. (Among many others, Google runs on Linux...)

    Gooserider
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