This section of this website provides solutions to a wide range of networking and Internet problems brought about by desktop and laptop PCs running Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. The 90+ problems, in the form of questions and answers, addressed here can be located by clicking on descriptive links that describe each problem with as many of its symptoms as possible on three pages of which this is the first.
Click here! to skip the following preamble and useful networking diagnostic information and go directly to the first list of solved problems on this page.
Being mostly software-related, with the correct know-how, most networking problems can be sorted out relatively easily and quickly. If you arrived at this page by using a web search engine, you could save time in finding the problem that uses the words in the search query by pressing the Ctrl + F key combination, which brings up the Find box in most web browsers, and then enter the same search query in it on each of the three pages of networking and Internet problems. If doing that doesn't work, simply read through the descriptive links, which contain as many of the symptoms of the problem as possible, that lead to the problems.
Needless to say, if the problem is hardware related - cause by faulty hardware or cables - the only solution is to replace that hardware or cables. Remember that if you can't get a wireless connection to another computer on the network or to the web from a laptop PC, the first thing to check is that the button that most laptops provide to enable a wireless network connection is switched on, not off. The button is usually on the front of the case above the keyboard and usually has a drawing of a satellite dish above it. For example, on my laptop there are four buttons at the top right hand side of the keyboard. A drawing of an envelope above the first one indicates it starts the default email program, an encircled Internet Explore e indicates that pressing that button starts the default web browser, a drawing of a satellite dish switches the wireless network adapter on or off and a drawing of a webcam switches the onboard camera on or off.
The networking problems in the form of questions and answers (Q&As) are linked to below the following useful networking problem diagnostic and troubleshooting information.
Click here! to go to the full list of hardware and software problems dealt with on this website
Visit the Networking section of this site for information on wired and wireless networks.
How to find your Wireless Network Name and Password with Windows 7 [Applies to Windows Vista] -
Most of the popular web browsers allow the user to reset them to their default state in order to sort out problems, such as those caused by add-on programs - the most common cause of browser problems. Another common cause is the user downloading a system care or optimiser program, which screws things up by messing with the Windows Registry, etc. These system care products - especially the free ones - are best avoided. The software code for Windows is not open-source (open to all developers), so the developers of these programs don't know exactly how the code works and can easily screw interaction with it up. Apart from Microsoft's Internet Explorer, which is dealt with here, you will have to consult your browser of choice's Help feature or search for the information on the web to find out how to do it. At the time of writing this (June 10, 2011), I could not find out how to do that in Google's Chrome browser, but the information is available on the web by using the search query: reset google chrome, which also works for the various versions of Internet Explorer (reset ie7, ie8, ie9). In Windows 7, you can also run its Internet Explorer Troubleshooter by entering that term in its Search programs and files box. Here is the page Microsoft provides on how to reset IE in the previous versions of Windows. -
The page provides a Reset Internet Explorer link, which downloads a file that has to be run by clicking Run when the File Download box presents itself. You just have to run its wizard. Instructions are also provided on that page on how to achieve a manual resetting.
Millions Of Home Routers Vulnerable To Web Hack -
September 27, 2010. - Many makes/models of router can allow hackers to gain access through them and then launch attacks on other devices on the router's network or redirect a user's browser to malicious websites. The following blog provides a list of routers know to be vulnerable. Installing the latest firmware for the router is the solution. -
How To Crack WEP and WPA Wireless Networks - Cracking WEP, WPA-PSK and WPA2-PSK wireless security using aircrack-ng - http://www.speedguide.net/articles/how-to-crack-wep-and-wpa-wireless-networks-2724
The following pages on Microsoft's site are useful if you're having problems with a wireless network. You can find other guides by entering troubleshoot network problems in the Google search box at the top of this page (enable the Web Search option on the first search page).
The Cable Guy - Column Archives [Lists all of the Cable Guy articles on all of the versions of Windows (XP/Vista/Windows 7) such as the links below] - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/library/ff190836.aspx
Connecting to Wireless Networks with Windows 7 - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/library/ff802404.aspx
The Cable Guy - Windows XP Wireless Auto Configuration -
Windows Server - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/windowsserver
Troubleshoot Networking Problems in Windows XP -
The Broadbandreports.com site provides an excellent, free, connection-tweaking tool called DrTCP. Using it, their online tweak tester, and the information in their online forums, you can adjust the internal Windows settings to fit an ADSL connection optimally. After a computer is set to receive data with exactly the same settings that a particular ADSL Internet Service Provider (ISP) is using to send it, the connection speed should see a marked improvement if it wasn't optimally set up in the first place. - http://www.broadbandreports.com/tools
The impressive tools called TCP/IP Analyzer and TCP/IP Optimizer are available free from http://www.speedguide.net/.
NetWorx - Free Bandwidth Monitoring and Usage Reporting - "NetWorx is a simple and free, yet powerful tool that helps you objectively evaluate your bandwidth situation. You can use it to collect bandwidth usage data and measure the speed of your Internet or any other network connection. NetWorx can help you identify possible sources of network problems, ensure that you do not exceed the bandwidth limits specified by your ISP, or track down suspicious network activity characteristic of Trojan horses and hacker attacks." -
10 great free downloads for your network -
"Got a small network, home network, medium-size network -- even an enterprise network -- and want to get the most out of it? Then I've got good news for you: 10 free pieces of software that can make your network easier to use, troubleshoot and maintain. These freebies will help everyone from networking pros to networking newbies and everyone in between." - http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?...
6 useful Wi-Fi tools for Windows -
"Free or cheap apps can help troubleshoot your wireless network, turn your laptop into a hot spot and more." -
Click the relevant link below to go to that Q&A article. Use your browser's Back button to backtrack
24. - Mozilla Firefox won't allow me to install any add-ons - error message: "Could not initialize the application's security component. The most likely cause is problems with files in your application's profile directory."
Click here! to go to Page 2 of Networking and Internet Problems & Solutions
Click here! to go to the full list of hardware and software problems dealt with on this website
The Domain Name System (DNS) translates the IP addresses that all websites must have into their domain names via DNS servers that are provided by an Internet connection's service provider.
Domain Name System - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_Name_System
For example, the static IP address of the PC Buyer Beware! website is 18.104.22.168. When someone connected to the web enters its domain name - http://www.pcbuyerbeware.co.uk/ - into a web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, etc.), the browser visits the DNS server, which looks up the domain name and connects to its IP address. The web works by using IP addresses not domain names, so the conversion must take place.
If the user sets an online computer, using a wireless or wired connection, to use the more secure DNS servers provided by OpenDNS - http:www.opendns.com/ - an extra level of security is added, because those servers are configured and monitored to prevent the user from accessing websites known to be bad. The DNS servers used by the user's Internet Service provider are probably not protected to the same high level, so it is a good idea from a security pointof view to make the change to the OpenDNS servers.
The following webpage show how to set your computer to use the OpenDNS servers on most operating systems.
Set your version of Windows (XP/Vista/Win7) to use the OpenDNS servers -
The way to do it in Windows 8 is not covered. It is much the same as in Windows 7, Vista and Windows XP from the Control Panel. Here is how to do so:
From the Start Screen, just type Control Panel (no dialog box is used).
Click the Control Panel link that shows up on the left-hand side of the new screen that comes up. In the CP, Open View by: Category on the right-hand side and click on the downward-pointing arrow change it to Small Icons.
Choose Network and Sharing Center and click on the Change adapter settings on the left hand side.
You can now right-click on your wired Local Area Connection (or your wireless connection) and click on Properties in the window that comes up. The image below shows the window that comes up. I was using a wired Local Area Connection, but a wireless connection will be easy to identify and will use the same settings.
Select Internet Protocol Version 4 and click on the Properties button.
The image below shows the setting that has to be enabled to be able to enter the IP addresses of the OpenDNS servers - 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199. Click Close and Windows will then use those DNS servers to look up the IP addresses of the websites that you visit.
To test it, enter a wrong web address, such as http://www.mcosoft.com/ (real address microsoft.com). Note that people often register domain names that are common typing mistakes so that web users visit them and see the ads. No one had created a domain name called www.mcosoft.com at the time of writing this, but there is a site called mcrosoft.com. If there is no existing website, The OpenDNS website comes up.
When I open or preview some emails in Outlook, I can see that the system is trying to contact ox-social.bidsystem, after which I have to restart Outlook. Is this as serious as it looks?
Yes, this is a serious virus infection that can divert Google, Bing and Yahoo search results to the sites of cyber criminals from where it downloads and installs other dangerous malware and spyware. It can also install an infection known as a rootkit, which is a low-level infection that functions under the level that Windows does and as such can be difficult to detect and remove. It impacts on system performance by degrading functions such as starting up, switching off, installing software, opening files and programs, etc.
There is a special removal tool designed to remove it that is provided by many websites. There are manual removal methods for this virus provided on the web, but anything manual that involves messing about with the Registry should be avoided if a specially designed tool is available. Search for Ox-social.bidsystem.com Removal Tool.
I downloaded it from http://www.zimbio.com/ and tested it with malware scanners. I don't put links to downloads on my site even though I have tested them because they can be hijacked by hackers to deliver malware that triggers bad reviews from the site-verification websites, such as Web of Trust, if a link to it appears on another website. So, always test any download before you install it - even though I say that I have tested the download from that website.
If you know when the infection first became evident, you can run System Restore and restore a restore point that predates the infection, which infects the Windows Registry. Doing that successfully will remove its entries in the Registry and render the virus impotent, but you'll still have to remove everything that it might have installed. Try using Outlook. If the symptoms that you noted are no longer there, the virus has been crippled. If not, the restore point you restored restored the virus, which means that it was created while the virus was active. You need to restore a restore point that was created before the infection took hold.
Next, I would download the following free tools from their websites, all of which have excellent reputations, and install them:
You can run them in normal mode, but running them in Safe Mode is better because Windows is running in its most basic level that doesn't include loading malware. You can enter Safe Mode at Startup by pressing the F8 key repeatedly before Windows starts to load to bring up the boot menu that includes it as well as Safe Mode with networking, which provides access to the web, allowing you to run online virus scanners, such the following two excellent free ones.
How to boot into Safe Mode using Windows 8 and how to boot into Safe Mode from within Win8 -
To make sure that the system is configured for maximum safety, run Microsoft's free Malware Prevention troubleshooter.
The virus protection you were using when the infection took place wasn't updated or is not up to the job, so you should replace it if it was updated regularly. I would suggest using Microsoft's Security Essentials in XP, Vista and Windows 7 as the real-time scanner. Windows 8 uses Windows Defender by default, which, as such doesn't need to be installed. It looks exactly like Security Essentials but can't be scheduled. The Security Center in Win8 reports if an update or scan is required. As a backup scanner, Malwarebytes is excellent. The free version can only be run manually. Only the paid-for version can be used a a real-time scanner. Another good scanner is the free version of AVG from http://free.avg.com/. Remember that you should never have two virus scanners or firewalls monitoring the system in real-time at the same time, because, doing the same work, they will conflict with each other.
I have a Huawei HG 520b router supplied by my ISP, TalkTalk. I need a compatible range extender to extend wireless network to the far corners of my house. Can you recommend a suitable product?
The Huawei HG 520b router was introduced by TalkTalk in October 2008, so kit is unlikely to be a wireless 802.11n router, but I haven't been able to find any other information about it on the web, so I am assuming that it's a wireless 802.11g router.
You have four options for improving the range:
1. - You can make a home-made parabolic reflector that will dramatically increase the range, but only in a single direction. Here are instructions on how to make one: http://www.binarywolf.com/249/diy-parabolic-reflector.htm.
2. - You can make use of a wireless range extender, which is dealt with in Problem 2 in this Q&A.
3. - You can move the router to a more central position so as to give you the coverage you need.
4. - You can add a wireless access point (802.11g or 802.11n, which is compatible with 802.11g equipment) or connect another router via an Ethernet cable to cover the rest of the house, connecting it back to the Hawaii router via an Ethernet cable or Ethernet-over-Powerline (Homeplug) adapters. A wireless access point will cost the same or more than a new router (say £50). If you need to add Ethernet over Powerline (Homeplug) adapters to connect the two add another £80. Always remember that every wireless device added to a network has to have its own unique IP address within the range of IP addresses supported by the main router. No device must have the same IP address.
Note that you can use very long Ethernet cables (90m or more) to connect networking equipment. Here is a webpage that provides the lengths that can be used - http://homenethelp.com/web/explain/maximum-cable-length.asp.
Here is how to add an additional router to extend a network's range. (Use more or less the same procedure to add a wireless access point.) If the second router has been used to attempt to link it to the main router connected to the phone line unsuccessfully, reset it by disconnecting it from all network connections. Its user manual will tell you how to reset it, but the usual method is to press its reset button with the router's power supply connected and switched on. You keep the reset button pressed, unplug the power lead, count to 10, plug the power cable back into the router and count to 10 again before releasing the reset button.
Next, connect the router to a computer using an Ethernet cable connected to an Ethernet port (not the WAN port), usually coloured yellow. Now, enter the router's IP address (provided in its user manual) to bring up its configuration page in a web browser. If the router's IP address is, say, 192.168.1.254 then enter http://192.168.1.254 in a web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, safari, etc.). Configure it to have the same SSID (network name, which can be anything you like for the main router) , security type (usually WPA2-PSK) and password (network security key, which can be anything you want in the main router) as the main router, whose configuration page can be accessed in the same way. Next, disable DCHP in the second router and change its IP address so that it is in the range of IP addresses supported by the main router. For example, if the main router has an IP address of 192.168.1.254, the second router can use 192.168.1.253. Now you just have to connect the second router to the main router with an Ethernet cable using one of the main router's and second router's standard Ethernet ports.
5. - You can buy a new 802.11n standard router. The wireless 802.11n standard has significantly greater range so will, probably, adequately cover the house on is own. But to do this you will also need 802.11n standard wireless adapters for each wireless device. Existing 802.11g (N-standard) adapters are compatible and will work but won't give the extended range that the 802.11n standard provides. An N-standard router probably currently costs about 50% more than the old G-standard (say £75) and additional PCI or PCI Express adapters for a desktop PC are around £30 each. You will have to buy an 802.11n wireless dongle for a laptop PC and disable its onboard wireless adapter via the Device Manager in Windows XP/Vista/7.
I implemented option 3 several years ago, but if I were doing it today I'd probably go for option 4. Your decision depends on how many devices you want to connect wirelessly from the remote corners of the house.
I live in a chalet bungalow where my two main desktop computers are in an upstairs office linked by cable to a Netgear router. All of my wireless equipment is 802.11g. The laptop is downstairs and has an excellent wireless reception in the dining room below the office, but a low or extremely low reception when in the preferred location, the downstairs spare room. With a little effort I could run a cable from a spare socket on the router in my office along under the floorboards and down through the ceiling of a cupboard in the spare room and make a proper cable socket connection there for use by the laptop. But this defeats the object of having a wireless connection! Or should I put some sort of repeater unit in the bedroom above the spare room and connect that by a hard cable (or even wirelessly) to my office router? I have seen designs for home-made reflectors which could sit around my router to "beam" the signals in a preferred direction but they look very Heath Robinson-ish. Do they work?
Yes, repeaters (range extenders) work and the home-made reflectors also work well, but they only extend the range in a single direction. Here are instructions on how to make one: http://www.binarywolf.com/249/diy-parabolic-reflector.htm
Here is what a reputable forum poster advised in April 2012: "The new Netgear WN2500RP would be excellent for you. Easiest and best Wi-Fi extender out there. I know. I test them all." It is 802.11n equipment, but here is the hardware requirements: Simultaneous 2.4 and/or 5.0 GHz 802.11a/b/g/n wireless router or gateway. Setup is very easy; nothing needs to be installed.
Wireless G Range Extenders -
"Expand the range of your wireless network! Wireless Range Extenders offer an easy way to increase the effective coverage of your wireless network. Unlike adding a traditional access point to your network to expand wireless coverage, wireless range extenders do not need to be connected to the network by a data cable. Just put the wireless range extender within range of your main access point or wireless router, and it "bounces" the signals out to remote wireless devices." -
Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk sell range extenders and the purchaser reviews usually provide good advice on how to set them up if connecting them proves to be problematic. Here is a cheap USB range extender that is connected to the computer that you want to connect to the wireless network - TP-Link TL-WN822N 300MBPS High Gain Wireless N USB Adapter.
One purchaser commented that you have to allow a 64-bit version of Windows 7 (no doubt also a 64-bit version of Windows Vista) to obtain the driver for the device from microsoft.com instead of installing it from the driver CD, because only the 32-bit driver is provided.
Note that 802.11n wireless equipment is available now, so if you update the router and all of the wireless adapters in the computers in your wireless network, you probably won't need to use a range extender because the 802.11n standard provides much better range than the 802.11g standard.
A router's network security key is the encryption key that allows a computer, smartphone, wireless printer, etc., to log on to a network, which is usually a home network created within a version of Windows from Windows 98 to Windows 8. If your Internet Service Provider (ISP) has supplied you with a router, it comes with a default password and network security key that has to be entered when trying to open the router's configuration page by entering the router's IP address in a web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc.) The logon password and network security key can be changed to anything that the user wants to use from within the configuration page. When the home network is set up around the router, if the user wants to access the network or share an Internet connection with another device, a logon window comes up that requires the network security key to be entered.
The original key supplied by an ISP that has also provided the router is usually provided on a sticker on the bottom of the router. If it has been changed to one preferred by the user and/or to make sure that no one else can log on by using the original key, it is encrypted (hidden) in Windows XP, so is more difficult to reveal, but it can be uncovered very easily from within Windows Vista and Windows 7. There are plenty of YouTube videos that show how to find out what a customised network key is in a particular version of Windows, which can be found by using a suitable search query from within YouTube, such as: retrieve network security key in windows 7.
1. - Click on the wireless network icon in the bottom right corner's Notification Area (the one looking like 5 books stacked from smallest to largest).
2. - Right-click with the mouse on your network that should appear in a window listing all of the available wireless networks within range of your computer.
3. - Click Properties in the menu that comes up.
The window that presents itself has its Security tab, the one you want, already opened. Place a check mark in the box called Show characters. This reveals the network key in the box called Network security key. This is the key that is asked for when another wireless device tries to log on to the network.
Tethering is the term used for the use of a 3G mobile phone as a broadband modem for a laptop/netbook/tablet computer. You could tether the phone to a desktop PC, but most people tether their mobile phones to a laptop, etc. Only certain mobile phone service providers provide tethering and most of them charge for use over a certain download limit, measured in gigabytes (GB), so you should check what the download limit is before you sign up to a provider.
The packages that each provider provides varies, but they are all simple to set up. Full instructions are provided on the provider's website.
You don't have to use tethering, because most of the mobile broadband providers provide a USB wireless adapter that you just plug into your laptop/netbook/tablet. It accesses the web working just like a mobile phone.
However, if you are unable to use your normal broadband account via a telephone line or cable network, most smartphones provide a standard hotspot/tethering function to which you can connect your laptop's built-in Wi-Fi feature or added wireless network dongle. The smartphone becomes a Wi-Fi access point or router that allows the laptop to get online via its data service and plan, usually providing the same security features of a router or access point.
Tethering can be used in pubs, libraries, restaurants, airports, hotels and other places where any Wi-Fi service that is provided is security-questionable, poor or just too expensive.
For example, most Android smartphones using Android 2.2 and higher versions of that mobile operating system support Wi-Fi tethering. The phone's user manual should provide all the information you might need on the service. The following article provides general information on tethering - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tethering.
If, say, on your travels you happen to be in a hotel room that only provides a wired Ethernet connection to the web and you don't have a portable Wi-Fi router but you do have a laptop and an iPad or another tablet computer, you can make the laptop into a wireless hotspot that allows the Wi-Fi-equipped smartphone or tablet to connect to it and through it to the web. To do that do the following:
1. - Enter the word network in the Search programs and files box and click the link that is presented called Network and Sharing Center, which can also be found in the Control Panel.
2. - Next, click on the Change adapter settings link in the top left corner of the window and click on Properties in the window that comes up. If the laptop has a wireless adapter, which most do, the dialog box that comes up has a Sharing tab. Open it and enable Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet connection and click OK.
3.- Now go back into the Network and Sharing Center and under Change your network settings click on Set up a new connection or network. In the dialog box that comes up scroll down to and click on Set up a wireless ad hoc network, only available on a computer with a wireless adapter, followed by Next. An ad hoc network is a temporary network. To skip the explanation screen, click on Next again.
4. - Enter a network name (the SSID) in the top box, which can be anything you like, select the type of encryption security (WPA2 is best) in the drop-down box and enter a network encryption key, which can also be any combination of letters, numbers and any other keyboard characters (the password). Any other wirelessly-equipped computer, smartphone, etc., joining the network will have to choose the named network and enter the encryption key, so make a note of them. Enable the Save this network setting if you want to keep the network's settings otherwise it will disappear after the last computer has logged off. Clicking Next creates the ad hoc network. The final screen provides the network name and encryption key. Now you just have to find the network with your wireless device and log on as you would at a wireless hotspot.
I have replaced a Western Digital MyBook World external hard disk drive (that functions as a network-attached storage device (NAS) connected to a router by an Ethernet cable) with a Synology DiskStation NAS. Transferring the data from the old to the new NAS device using my home network was not on due to the slow data transfer speed reported by Windows as only 1.5MB/s. I was using a Windows 7 laptop connected to a BT Home Hub router by an 802.11n wireless Wi-Fi connection. The NAS devices were connected via HomePlug AV powerline adapters. I have no idea why the transfer speed is so slow. Is there any way I can speed my setup up or is there a faster alternative?
Using that setup the files are transferred from the old NAS to the laptop and then to the new NAS, which is slower than a direct transfer, but the main cause of the slow data transfer is the use of Wi-Fi and HomePlug powerline adaptors. An Ethernet cable can transmit and receive data at the same time like a phone line, but both Wi-Fi and HomePlug are half-duplex, which means that they can only transmit and receive data alternatively, not at once, so the laptop can't send and receive the files at the same time because its built-in Wi-Fi adapter can only provide half-duplex radio.
The HomePlug powerline adaptors, which use the cabling of the electricity supply in your home, may also be responsible because mains wiring is often not user-friendly to data transfers. Switched power supplies, such as phone chargers, can cause interference, as can the quality of the wiring and the distance the data has to travel. Taken together, it is not very surprising that your setup transfers data so slowly.
The best method using your setup of three devices would be to connect all of them to the BT Home Hub router using Ethernet network cables, which would increase the transfer of data greatly. Just connecting the laptop to the router with an Ethernet cable should improve the transfer rate significantly.
If it were possible, an even better solution would be to copy the files directly from the old NAS to the new one. Unfortunately, that cannot be achieved by using the web-management interface of either device. Another alternative would be to use the USB port on the old NAS device to connect it to an external USB hard disk drive, transfer the data to it and then connect it to USB port on the new NAS device and transfer the files to it.
There are two available video streaming options to choose from that don't require network devices to be running all the time in order to be used - a network-attached storage (NAS) device or a media streamer, both of which can be purchased relatively inexpensively.
A NAS device is plugged into your home network, usually by using an Ethernet cable plugged into a wireless router. It is a network-enabled hard disk drive that stores files, including video files, that can be accessed by all of the devices and computers on the network, including a media streamer. Almost every NAS device supports all of the main file-sharing standards, such as UPnP and DNLA. Some of them can even act as iTunes servers. A NAS device only uses about 20W of power when working and less when in standby mode, so it can be left on all day to serve media files or any other files.
A media streamer is a device that has its own hard disk drive or it provides USB ports that make it possible to connect one to it. It is not necessary to leave any other network device running in order to be able to stream media files from the network to a computer on the network or a TV.
Note that network TV streamers, such as the Broadway 2T model from PC TVSYSTEMS (around £188 in December 2011), are available. That model makes it possible to watch TV anywhere in the world on an iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch or Android-powered tablet computer or smartphone from the web. This is achieved by streaming video feeds wirelessly from its two internal Freeview TV tuners or via its wired composite or S-video inputs across a home network and over a broadband connection. A free web service, such as tvcatchup.com, also makes it possible to watch TV from a mobile phone or computer, but only from within the UK.
Portable NAS devices, such as the GoFlex Satellite from Seagate, are also available (around £170 in December 2011), which are designed to be used with tablet computers and smartphones. This 500GB model can be used as an iTunes server. It can stream movies, music and images to tablet computers and smartphones running Apple's iOS and the Android operating systems because it has a built-in battery and is Wi-Fi enabled.
All of a sudden, Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) has gone crazy on me - is not working properly in some way, but is working properly most of the time. Here are some example: on a webpage, some Google ads can be clicked on, while a few others can't - you can only see unclickable text - When I view the source code of the webpage (View => Source), the Windows Desktop's files are displayed in a window instead of the source code - A website that opens a new page as a new tab suddenly opens it in a half-opened new window. Those three crazy behaviours were encountered on subsequent days when they would have all been noticed on the same day if they occurred on the same day, because I browse in the same way every day, so the crazy behaviour seems to be increasing. The same crazy things don't happen with any other browser, just IE9. Uninstalling and reinstalling it doesn't work. Nor does restoring a restore point in System Restore that predates the problem. Nor does using the Internet Explorer Troubleshooter provided by Windows 7.
I have a feeling that you were using one of these advanced-system-care or system-optimiser programs just before the strange behaviour started happening. If so, uninstall it. The source code of a version of Windows is not open-source - is not open to software developers - so the developers of these tools/utilities don't know exactly what the code is that they are trying to optimise and can easily screw things up royally. I would avoid installing these programs, especially the free ones without support, because they usually cause more problems than they cure or fix.
That said, the best way to fix any version of IE, if a quick fix doesn't work, is to reset it to its default state, because uninstalling it and reinstalling it usually retains the corruption, because there are many leftovers that are not removed and are not reinstalled over. Microsoft provides pages for IE7, IE8 and IE9 that can be made to run a wizard that resets it to the state it was in when it was first installed. You can find them with a search query, which, for your version, would be: reset ie9. There will be other websites that come up in the search results. Choose the one provided by Microsoft, which is:
Reset Internet Explorer 9 settings -
My desktop PC runs Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit version. For some reason all of a sudden the Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) executable iexplore.exe, which runs it, went absent without leave from the Start menu and All Programs, but the file reference to it is correct when I right click on its entry (All Programs => Internet Explorer) and choose Properties from the menu that comes up - and IE9 starts properly from its Desktop icon. Entering iexplore in the Search programs and files box doesn't find anything, nor does looking in Programs & Features in the Control Panel. A reinstallation won't install over the existing installation and the system is blocking me (as the Administrator) from uninstalling or deleting it. I asked MS Answers about it without success.
Use the script created by Kai Schätzl provided on this webpage:
Repair IE8 (IE7) and IE9 - http://iefaq.info/...
It was created for IE8 but works for IE9. Apparently it fixes Windows Registry entries that have been removed by Registry cleaners.
My first desktop PC running Windows 7 Home Premium is set up as a HomeGroup to connect to any other Windows 7 desktop or laptop computers that have Ethernet or wireless network adapters. However, when I set up a second Windows 7 PC, it produces this message: This computer cannot connect to a HomeGroup.
Note that HomeGroup only works with computers running versions of Windows 7. If you have started out with only desktop and laptop computers all running Windows 7, a HomeGroup is usually simple to set up. It's usually just a matter of enabling HomeGroup on the main computer then that computer automatically connects any other Windows 7 computers printers and other peripheral devices, setting up comprehensive sharing and security and then managing the network automatically in the background.
However, when an easy setup isn't achieved, the cause it usually a network that contains one or more non-Win7 computers or the network was previously set up as a peer-to-peer network prior to upgrading them to Windows 7, which HomeGroup can't sort out.
Unfortunately, HomeGroup doesn't have many options that a network administrator can tinker with to put matters right, so doing so means knowing what to try and then spending a lot of time messing about with no guarantee of success. Fortunately, wiping the network stack clean so that Windows 7 can start again, hopefully successfully, is a simple matter. When that is done, Windows 7 rebuilds its networking subsystem from the adapters up, which usually resolves the problem. Just perform the following steps.
1. - Close all applications and programs that make use of the network — web browsers and anything that Windows is updating from the web, such as the weather, news streams, email, etc.
2. - Open the Device Manager from the Control Panel (With View by: Category under Hardware & Sound => View Devices and Printers and just as Device Manager under View by: Large or Small Icons - or just enter the words device manager in the Start => Search programs and files box to be presented with a clickable link to it.
3. - In the Device Manager use the mouse or touch pad to expand the section of devices called Network adapters.
4. - It doesn't matter if it is listed as a wired Ethernet adapter or a wireless adapter, just right-click with the mouse pointer on the first adapter and click Uninstall in the menu that presents itself. Windows asks if you want to remove the associated device drivers. Choose not to do that, because Windows 7 will require the device driver when it is rebooted after all of the network adapters are uninstalled.
5. - Remove all of the network adapters in the same way, close the Device Manager and reboot.
Windows 7 won't be able to find the network adapters and, as plug-and-play devices, will find and set them up as new networking hardware with fresh connections. The network won't be set up as a HomeGroup yet. It will just be set up as a standard peer-to-peer network, which should work in the same way as a network of computers running, say, Windows XP. In fact, a standard network setup functions faster than a HomeGroup network, so you may as well leave it as is. But if you really want to, you can try enabling HomeGroup again. This time it should set itself up automatically.
I have a smartphone that supports tethering, which, I know, allows me to use it as a router to share an Internet connection with my laptop computer or another mobile device using its Wi-Fi capability. Which is the best option, using the phone's tethering or a wireless broadband dongle with my laptop computer?
The iPhone and many Android-based smartphones provide tethering over Wi-Fi, so making use of it wouldn't require having to have another phone contract, which using a broadband dongle would require, even if its is with the same phone company. When tethering is used with an Android-based phone, its uses its standard mobile data allowance. How tethering is employed with an iPhone depends on the phone company providing the service. For example, currently, O2 doesn't distinguish between ordinary phone use and tethered data, but Vodaphone charges £5 for 500MB of data the moment that tethering is turned on. Vodaphone is certain to combine mobile and tethered data into a single package at some point soon, if only because its method is uncompetitive.
A broadband dongle can be used on a contract basis or as Pay As You Go (PAYG), which you top up when the money runs out. All of the major phone companies provide both types. If you need to keep track of or limit how much data use you're using, the best option is to buy a PAYG wireless dongle.
Tethering can be used via Bluetooth or USB. However, the battery life of the iPhone and other smartphones can be consumed quickly using Bluetooth, so connecting the smartphone to your laptop via a USB cable is the best option.
Note well that if your phone company (Orange, Vodaphone, O2, 3, etc.) provides an "unlimited " fair-use data allowance, if you use a tethered iPhone or any other smartphone to watch or download too much streaming video, you can soon fall foul of that allowance.
Wi-Fi tethering 101: Use a smartphone as a mobile hotspot - http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9221336/...
Tethering - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tethering
I want to watch the BBC's iPlayer on my TV by streaming it from my desktop or laptop PCs, both of which I keep upstairs, so I don't want to use a cable. My laptop PC has a built-in wireless adapter that connects to my broadband router and my desktop PC is connected to the router by an Ethernet cable, but I could install a wireless adapter in it, which I will do if it is possible to steam the Internet to my TV without a cable, because I am often away from home with my laptop and my wife can watch the iPlayer on the TV via the desktop PC.
The easiest way to watch video or stream video that comes via the Internet, such as the iPlayer, is to use an HDMI cable, which requires an HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) port on the computer and the TV. As its name implies, an HDMI connection allows you to watch high-definition content. You have to have a video/graphics card in a desktop PC that supports HDMI or you can use a DVI converter cable that has a DVI connector on one end that is connected to a desktop's or laptop's DVI port (which might not be available on a laptop) and an HDMI connector on the other end that is connected to the TV. A cable can be used because both DVI and HDMI connections are digital, but a single cable cannot be used to convert an analog VGA signal to a digital HDMI signal. Note well that such cables are on sale, but they do not work - they are a scam! A VGA-to-HDMI converter box is required. You connect the VGA cable that would ordinarily connect to a monitor from the computer's VGA port (shown in the image below) to the converter box and then connect an HDMI cable from the TV to the converter box. Most laptops provide a VGA port that allows an external monitor to be connected.
Premium HDMI to DVI Cable Gold 2 Metre - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Premium-HDMI-Cable-Gold-Metre/dp/B000GDI6FC
Neet - VGA + Audio to HDMI Converter - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Neet%C2%AE-Converter-Supports-Computer-Lifetime/dp/...
Note that the length of an HDMI cable is usually only 2 metres, but much longer cables are available and an HDMI extender can make it possible to use a cable from 250m to 300m. HDMI - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDMI. Also note that it is not necessary to buy an expensive cable unless it is unusually long. The longer the cable is, the better its quality has to be due to signal attenuation.
HDMI Investigated - Are expensive cables a scam? -
However, if you want a wireless connection, in March 2011, the options were limited to the following.
Intel says of its Wireless Display "With a laptop featuring Intel® Wireless Display and powered by a visibly smart 2nd generation Intel® Core processor, you can sit back and experience your favorite movies, videos, photos, online shows and more on your TV with great image clarity and sound." - However, Wireless Display is currently flawed. An update has been promised to be made available some time in 2011.
An alternative is Q-Waves Wireless USB AV Kit, which uses "ultra-wideband", also known as Wireless USB. A USB dongle is plugged into a USB port on the computer and a receiver unit is plugged into the TV and mains. However, this requires line-of-site for a reliable connection, so you can't have your computers upstairs and your TV in the lounge downstairs.
Alternatively, a new piece of kit that has just come on to the market (March 2011) is Q Waves Quicklink HD, which claims to provide 1080p high-definition video and 5.1 surround-sound audio from a PC/laptop to a TV.
Q Waves Quicklink HD Wireless 1080p PC/Laptop Media Streamer -
By doing nothing more than visit a genuine website that I have been visiting for years without any problems, my desktop PC got infected by the malware called Security Shield, which warned me that the computer was infected by 20 or more viruses. To remove them it said that I had to buy the program. Using the name of the malware, a search engine led me to a computer forum where there was plenty of advice on how to remove it, most of which referred to using a free program called Malwarebytes. But I could not get the free version to download, so, fool that I am, I paid $25.95 for the Pro version, but the installation stuck at 43%. F~#* it! Can you please tell me what this is all about and how to remove this malware?
Hackers hack into the servers of well-known websites, gain access and rig them to deliver a graphical presentation of a virus scan that appears to show that the computer visiting the website is riddled with viruses, but there is no such infection. Security Shield, also known as My Security Shield, is itself the malware and is just one of several 'scareware' programs in operation that attempt to frighten the computer's user into paying for an anti-virus scanner by running a very alarming-looking but fake and harmless virus/malware scan.
Being sophisticated software, it has the ability to monitor and block the actions of real security tools, which it is probably doing by preventing the Malwarebytes scanner from downloading or installing.
Security Shield can be removed fairly easily by using a free utility called RKill, which is software designed to stop Security Shield's processes and restore the Windows Registry entries that Security Shield adds or alters.
RKill - What it does and What it Doesn't - A brief introduction to the program [Download links are provided. Run a virus scan on any download, just in case that website has itself been compromised.] -
After RKill has dealt with Security Shield, you should be able to download of Malwarebytes, which you should update and run in order to clean anything that might have been missed.
You might find the information Automated Removal Instructions for Security Shield using Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware on the following page useful: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/virus-removal/remove-security-shield
Note that http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/ provides plenty of information on how to remove a wide variety of malware infections.
I use AOL Broadband, which currently has a measly 10GB bandwidth per month limit on the downloads and uploads. Is there some sort of program which would sit quietly in the background and monitor how much usage I have had over a month. I only use the connection for email, reading online newspapers and listening to radio programs via the BBC's iPlayer, so I don't use much bandwidth. Moreover, because of the usage limitation, should I disconnect from Internet when it's not in use? In other words, do I use a lot of my allowance just by being connected?
You only use an insignificant amount of bandwidth by staying connected. Windows Update/Microsoft Update and any other program that updates will download files automatically if set to do so.
There are many good programs that can monitor broadband usage. Some of them can also monitor dial-up usuage. Here are a few:
NetMeter - http://www.metal-machine.de/readerror/
Tautology Bandwidth Meter - http://textmode.cwahi.net/bm.html
tbbmeter - http://www.thinkbroadband.com/tbbmeter.html
Each of them installs an icon in the Notification Area of the Windows Desktop (that you right-click with the mouse over the icon to access the options), provides a Settings option that allows you to set your bandwidth limit, set peek and unmonitored periods, daily, weekly, monthly usage, etc. The settings are usually self-explanitory. Some ISP's allow a paid-for period, say, from 08:00 to 24:00 (midnight) and a free-usage period, say, from midnight to 8:00am. If you use a laptop on a home network connection and use a broadband dongle while away from home, you will want to monitor the mobile use as well, so you can set one program to monitor mobile use and another to monitor home use.
Any wireless network that is active within range of your wireless-equipped desktop or laptop computer will be detected by the Windows networking software as an available network. If there is a wireless network icon in the bottom left of the screen (the Notification Area of the Windows Desktop), right-clicking on it will provide you with access to information about these networks. If they are secured by encryption, the encryption key has to be entered to access them, but if they are unsecured (do not have encryption enabled), they can be used to access the Internet by anyone who initiates a connection, and, if the computers on that unsecured network have file and printer sharing enabled, anyone who connects to it can access the files on that network.
The following thread on a computer forum explores the implications and dangers of connecting to an unsecured network, which, incidentally, is an illegal activity. You are not by law allowed to connect to anyone else's network or use an unsecured web connection even if it is unsecured.
There are several Q&As on this page and the three other networking problems pages that deal with wireless security and the available encryption standards.
My SMC Barricade wireless router, model number SMCWBR14-G2, works properly except that none of the security settings available from its setup webpage - WEP, WPA, WPA2 - can be made to work. When I search for available networks with my laptop, I see the router as unsecured and can connect to it without using an encryption key (password), which means that anyone else nearby with a computer with a wireless adapter can as well. I have tried rebooting the router after a security setup and have also reset the router and started from scratch. The laptop is using Windows XP Professional.
Every time I have come across this problem, it has been solved by downloading and installing the latest firmware for the make/model of router from its manufacturer's website. You just have to reset the router to its factory settings and then enable the highest security setting from its setup webpage, which in your case is WPA2. Its user manual, available from its manufacturer's website, will tell you how to reset it if there is no button labelled Reset on it.
If anyone reading this doesn't know how to bring up a router's setup webpage, it is done by entering the router's IP address, commonly 192.168.1.1, in a web browser in this form: http://192.168.1.1 - there is no full stop (period) after the last 1, so I have not put one in. The router's user manual (or the ISP that provided the router) provides that login information. You can change the SSID, which is the name of the network that appears when you search for available networks from the Notification Area network icon (bottom right corner), and the encryption key to those of your choice.
If you haven't changed the default settings in Internet Options (accessed via the Control Panel or from within IE8 in its Tools menu), the problem is not that IE8's cookie functionality is turned off but that it has decided to block some cookies because they are considered a security risk.
To fix this, open Internet Options under the Tools menu in IE8 (if you have enabled the setting in Spybot Search & Destroy that blocks accessing it in this way, access it via Start => Control Panel). Click on the Privacy tab and click on the Advanced button. Place a tick with the mouse pointer in the box called Override automatic cookie handling. Set First-party Cookies and Third-party Cookies to Accept. If you want to preview which first-party or third-party cookies are going to be used, set that option to Prompt. IE8 will then ask your permission every time a website wants to use that type of cookie (a first-party cookie is used by the website that you are visiting; a cookie from a website other than the one you are visiting is a third-party cookie). You can also do that for one or both types of cookies, but a prompt (or prompts) will appear for most websites, which can be very irritating, so you will probably not want to use that setting. If you have problems with cookies, you have to experiment with these settings until the problems disappear.
I have read articles on how laptop computers equipped with wireless network adapters and neighbours can log on to unsecured wireless networks. My wireless network is fairly secure with WPA2 encryption. I would rather not have to scrutinise my router's log or show the members of my family how to read their routers' logs, because the logging varies so much between different makes of router. I have read about the WallWatcher, Wireshark and Zamzom paid-for utilities, but I have not used any of them. Can you recommend a freeware product that reveals the IP addresses of the computers using a wireless network at any one time?
The best way to find out which IP addresses are connecting to a router is to query the router. Recent routers make finding that information relatively easy. Usually, device's web-browser-based configuration page provides access to the IP address of all connected computers. All you have to do is enter the router's LAN address into the address bar of your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Chrome, etc.). The most common IP address to bring up a router's configuration home page is http://192.168.1.1/. (Just enter the red IP address, not the full stop.) Note that you have to be already connected to the router in order to be able to bring up its configuration page. On my router's page, the IP addresses are under the Local Network tab. When that tab is opened, the information is under the ARP Table heading. The IP addresses (and whether or not they are static or dynamically provided) of all of the computers logged on to the network by wired connection or wireless connection are provided, plus the MAC addresses of those computers.
Furthermore, a router's configuration home page can be saved as a Favorite just like any other webpage. Some routers may require a more navigation than others to arrive at the page that displays the connection information.
The tools you mentioned can also provide that information, but why use them if querying your router is so easy?
To find out if there are any intruders, just compare the number of computers that the router says are connected to the number you know about. For the best tracking, you should provide each computer with a static IP address (which won't change) within the range that the router provides - e.g., where the router's own IP address is 192.168.1.1, make computer 1 - 192.168.1.100, computer 2 - 192.168.1.101, etc. Use a high end number so that if a computer with a dynamic address (provided automatically by the router) is given the encryption key it won't choose a dynamic address that conflicts with one of the computer's with a static IP address. Dynamic IP addresses are dished out by the router and can change so aren't as easy to track. You can find out how to set IP addresses for your version of Windows by entering a search query in a search engine. For example, for Windows 7, enter: set a static IP address in windows 7.
Firefox won't allow me to install any Add-ons. It produces this is the error message: "Could not initialize the application's security component. The most likely cause is problems with files in your application's profile directory. Please check that this directory has no read/write restrictions and your hard disk is not full or close to full. It is recommended that you exit the application and fix the problem. If you continue to use this session, you might see incorrect application behaviour when accessing security features." Is there any way of fixing this without uninstalling and reinstalling Firefox?
No doubt, your Firefox user profile is corrupt. Unfortunately, to correct it requires the deletion of every file in your Mozilla installation followed by a the installation of the latest version. This is more involved than just using Add or Remove Programs in Windows XP or Programs and Features in Windows Vista.
If you want to keep your bookmarks, you can use a free Add-on called Foxmarks - if Firefox allows you to install it. It supports Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. "Foxmarks is a free add-on for your browser that syncs and backs up your bookmarks across multiple computers and more." Foxmarks is in the process of becoming Xmarks, which was launched on March 9 2009. "Our new Xmarks add-on is Firefox only. Internet Explorer and Safari versions are coming soon."
Now follow these steps:
1. - Download the latest version of Firefox from http://www.firefox.com/ and uninstall the existing version.
2. - This page provides instructions on how to remove Firefox properly - http://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/.... Windows XP/Vista users should reboot the PC.
3. - Install the latest version of Firefox.
4. If you used Foxmarks or Xmarks to back up your bookmarks, install it in the new installation and use it to re-synchronise your bookmarks, making sure that the server-based bookmarks are used to overwrite the local Firefox bookmarks.
This method can also be used to fix other functions that may have stopped working. To avoid problems, with every major release of Firefox you should uninstall the old version before you install the new version. So, if you have version 3.x.x installed, follow that procedure when version 4.0 is made available. Unless Mozilla recommends otherwise, you can just install incremental upgrades on top of the existing installation. The current version was 3.0.7 when this was written, so you would just install version 3.0.8 over it.
If a wireless network works fine but then struggles to connect on another occasion, one or more neighbours within range of the network might have installed a wireless router for web access that is interfering your router's signal. If you are using a cable or ADSL connection via a telephone line, the line's cable may have been damaged. This happened to me after a dog bit the telephone line's cable causing slight damage that caused intermittent connections to the web. You should get your cable provider or a telephone technician to fix the cable, because both cables contain many internal wires that have to be connected to each other properly.
A wireless router can function on one of several frequencies, known as channels. There are thirteen such channels in the 2.4GHz frequency range that is used by the 802.11b and 802.11g standards. If other wireless routers using the same standard within range of yours are using the same channel, interference can take place that slows your transfer speed and may even prevent your computer(s) from connecting to your router altogether.
There are other causes of interference, such as microwave ovens, cordless phones, Bluetooth devices (wireless devices), and even baby monitors. A router's channel settings are accessed via its web-based configuration pages. Open the web browser that you use (Internet Explorer, Firebox, etc.) and enter the router's IP address into the address bar. It has to be in this form: http://192.168.1.1 - with the http:// in front, but the actual figures might be different if your router's manufacturer used a different IP address.
If you don't know what it is, its user manual should provide it, or your Internet service provider (02, Orange, Virgin Media, Sky, Plusnet, TalkTalk, AOL, etc.) has that information on its Internet-support website. The router will require you to enter a username and password. If you have never changed these, enter the default settings provided by the router's user manual. For security purposes, you should change the default entries to ones of your own, because hackers know that the default entries are.
Many routers use the default IP address: 192.168.1.1, which allows you to set manual IP addresses for the other computers in the network in that range, such as 192.168.1.2 - 192.168.1.3, etc. Note that there is no full stop after the last digit in an IP address, which always consists of four blocks that can have up to three characters each. None of the blocks can go higher than 254, because each block of three figures can only go up to 255, and 0 is counted as a figure, so 254 is the highest number that is possible. Therefore, you can only go as high as 192.168.1.254 in that range of IP addresses. In my router's setup webpage, it says Network range: 192.168.1.254.
In Windows XP, the IP address for a particular computer can be found by clicking Start => Control Panel => Network Connections and then selecting your network device. The information appears in the left-hand column under Details. The Default Gateway is the router's IP address, but it is not provided there. To find what it is, enter the letters cmd in the Start => Run box to bring up the Command Prompt, and enter the command ping [your computer's IP address]. If the IP address is, say, 192.168.1.2, enter ping 192.168.1.2. The Default Gateway IP address should be provided. You should be able to change the Default Gateway IP address to one of your own in the router's setup configuration settings. You should also be able to set DCHP server as automatic so that the router hands out IP addresses to the computers that log on to it automatically. The setting on my router reads: DHCP Server: Enable. If you disable it, you have to assign IP addresses to the computers on the network manually. The first computer should be connected to the router with an Ethernet network cable, because the wireless cannot transmit to an unknown computer; it has to be connected to it physically.
Access to network settings is different in Windows Vista, but the settings are the same. You access them via Start => Network, and you enter cmd in the Start => Start Search box to bring up the Command Prompt.
Your router's user manual should tell you where the channel setting is located on the setup page that gives access to many other setup pages. On my router's relevant setup page it says Auto Channel: Enable Disable and Wireless Channel that becomes active if you choose Disable for the Auto Channel setting and provides a drop-down box containing the thirteen channels. (Allowed Channels: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13.)
Of the thirteen wireless channels, only numbers 1, 6 and 11 don't overlap with any of the others. If you have the Auto Channel setting enabled in the router's setup, you can set the channel from within Windows X/Vista from the entry for wireless adapter in the Device Manager or via the network settings.
In both Windows XP and Windows Vista, you can open the Device Manager by entering devmgmt.msc in the Start => Run box in Windows XP and the Start => Start Search box in Windows Vista. If you double-click on the wireless adapter under Network adapters, the window that comes up opens on its Advanced tab, which contains a drop-down menu with the channels that you can select for an 802.11 b/g wireless network.
Your router is no doubt already set to one of those three channels - probably channel 11 - so try the other two channels to find out if they improve your connection.
If you have a Draft-N router (at the time of writing this, the 802.11n wireless standard still had to be ratified), using channel bonding in 2.4GHz mode may be problematic when there is plenty of interference from other networks. If all of your networking hardware supports the Draft-N standard, try the 5GHz setting (Draft-N routers used both the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz frequency ranges), because there is likely to be far less activity at that frequency.
To see the channels that other wireless networks are using within range of your wireless network, download and use NetStumbler. At the time of writing this, many users were unable to use NetStumbler with Windows Vista. If that is the case, you can try using NetSurveyor instead, which is also free.
If there are many wireless networks within range of yours, you may have to meet with and come to an agreement with your neighbours.
I am having trouble getting file and printer sharing to work on a mixed wired/wireless network containing a desktop PC and two laptop PCs. The desktop runs Windows XP Home, one of the laptops runs Windows XP Professional and the other laptop runs Windows Vista. The desktop PC is wired by Ethernet cable to an ADSL modem router and the two laptops connected wirelessly to the router. All three computers can share an Internet connection. File sharing works from one computer to another, but not the other way around. For example, one of the laptops can access shared folders on the desktop, but I can access the laptop's files from the desktop and the printer doesn't work from the laptop. Moreover, I know that having file and printer sharing weakens the security of the network, but I have no idea of the traffic on the network - which computers are using it, etc. Is there any free or inexpensive network tool that can solve configuration issues of this sort and allow me to monitor network activity?
Firstly, your network router's firmware should be up-to-date, the router itself should be recent enough to support WPA2 encryption, and you should install one of the versions of Network Magic from http://www.purenetworks.com/ on each computer on the network. The program supports versions of Windows from 98 SE to Vista as well as Mac OS X and Linux, which means that it can handle your network's cross-OS issues. Network Magic displays networking tasks on one simple interface, so there is no need to use the Windows file-sharing and network-configuration tools, which are confusingly different between the different operating systems and versions of Windows. It is available as a Free, an Essentials and a Pro version. If after the 7-day trial period you choose not to purchase Network Magic Pro or Essentials, you can continue to use the Network Magic Free Version.
Visit the Network Magic Product Comparison page for comparative details.
Instructions are provided here - http://www1.purenetworks.com/support/faq/4.html - on how to configure various firewalls to work with the product.
Here are some of the features that are available:
"Discover how easy it is to connect all of your devices together so you can be more productive in your home and work lives. Instantly add devices to your network. Share Internet connections, printers and files. Protect your wireless network from intruders. Troubleshoot and repair problems. Monitor your kids and employees online activity. Integrate Windows, Vista and Mac into one network."
If you experience slow performance with certain activities, such as using Outlook Web Access via a browser to access email, in Windows Vista (particularly the 64-bit (x64) editions, the problem does not necessarily have to be Vista's fault, as Bill Hobson discovered with his desktop PC running the 64-bit edition of Windows Vista Business:
"I have a Dell Precision Workstation running Vista x64 Business [Edition] with a Broadcom integrated NIC [Ethernet Network Interface Card or network adapter]. [Bill obviously has his PC wired by an Ethernet cable to a router.] I noticed that Outlook Web Access was taking 15-20 seconds to bring up the login screen. I tested with both IE7 and Firefox 3 and got the same results. So I went to Dell's site and got the latest NIC drivers from there. Still poor performance. Then I went directly to Broadcom's site and downloaded version 10.1, upgraded, and still had the same poor performance. I disabled that NIC, installed an Intel Pro 100 [network adapter], and now the page loads in less than 1 second. I have a Dell tablet with Vista Ultimate and a Broadcom NIC, and it suffered from the same poor performance, but fortunately there is a better [32-bit] driver available that fixes this speed issue. I am hoping that Broadcom gets their act together and puts out a decent-performing x64 driver soon. Bottom line: it may not be Vista that is the problem!"
I have a Dell XPS laptop/notebook PC that has 2GB of RAM memory and runs Windows Vista Home Premium. I am having serious problems with Windows Mail, which is the replacement for Outlook Express. I can't read or delete some emails, and an error message that reads: "Message could not be displayed. Windows Mail encountered an unexpected problem displaying this message. Check your computer for low memory or low disk space and try again." There are a few hundred emails in the Deleted folder that I can't remove. Moreover, I can no longer send messages, because they just sit in the Outbox, and I can't use the Calendar function. Dell has provided a special XPS support line that I rang. The support person told me that it was a common problem that will be fixed by updates. Microsoft said that Dell has pre-loaded an OEM version of Vista that it provides the support for.
Microsoft only provides support for retail copies of Windows Vista. Dell should be providing the support you need, because it provides a special support service to CPS owners that has dedicated support staff.
Windows Mail is the new email program that comes as part of Windows Vista. It is buggy. Almost every user of the program experiences a major bug in it that corrupts its message database. When that happens and the program attempts to read messages, it deems them to be much larger than they are and it produces the "Check your computer for low memory or low disk space and try again" message. However, there is nothing wrong with the computer's memory (the XPS has 2GB of RAM), or the amount of hard-disk-drive space.
The fixes for the various problems are somewhat involved, so you could just try using another email program, such as Mozilla Thunderbird, which is a free download from http://www.mozilla.com/. It corrupts its database far less frequently than Windows Mail.
The problem usually involves a group of files in one folder. Users can discover that deleted messages can't be removed, or the problem involves the Inbox so that the user can't read some or all new messages. If the Outbox is affected, email can't be sent.
First, make a backup of the Windows Mail directory, which is usually located at C:\Users\yourname\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail. If not, the easiest way to locate it is to click on Tools => Options => Advanced => Maintenance. When you can see the path, click Change. Doing that allows you to highlight the whole path. Pressing the Ctrl-C keys copies it.
Now close Windows Mail and use Windows Explorer (right-click Start => Explore) to copy the Windows Mail folder and all of its subfolders to a new location of your choice. Now you can try using a special utility that is run from the Command Prompt called essentutl created by Microsoft to repair damage to the Windows Mail database. Using it involves entering a long command at the Command Prompt that is brought up by entering cmd in Vista's Start => Start Search box. But it is easier to use a free utility called WMUtil to do it.
WMUtil - "WMUtil is a small utility to allow users to compact and repair the Windows Mail database in Windows Vista...The Windows Mail database periodically needs compacting and defragmenting to function with maximal performance. Currently there is no manual method to compact the database in Windows Mail, unless one tinkers with the values set at Tools | Options | Advanced | Maintenance. WMUtil allows the user to manually compact the database to remove any wasted space from it..." - http://www.oehelp.com/WMUtil/
Windows Mail has to be shut down completely to run the utility. The program often continues to run in the background even when all of its windows are closed, so press the Ctrl-Alt-Del key combination to bring up the Windows Task Manager. If WinMail is shown under the Processes tab, highlight it and click End Task. Now run WMUtil. Click the Remove Blank Files button, followed by Repair.
Doing that might not fix the problem if it involves the Deleted folder or the Outbox. If so, you can try deleting all of the .eml files from the affected folder under Windows Mail. Then run WMUtil again. If the problem involves a folder that you have created yourself, it can usually be fixed by moving all of the good messages to a new folder and then deleting the affected folder. However doing that does not work for the special folders. Namely, the Inbox, Outbox, and Deleted folders.
To deal with those special folders, navigate to the Windows Mail folder. Locate a large file in it called WindowsMail. MSMessageStore. Make sure that Windows Mail is closed and then delete that file. Deleting it does not delete the messages because they are stored in folders under the Windows Mail folder.
Next, go to Windows Mail's Backup\New folder and delete the copy of WindowsMail. MSMessageStore that is in it. When Windows Mail is restarted, it will take up to an hour to rebuild the database. With a bit of luck, it will do so without errors. Your mail will be in the Recovered Folders folder, from which it can be moved to the correct folder.
If the problems still exist, try exiting Windows Mail and rename the Windows Mail folder, giving it an apt name, such as Corrupt Mail. Restarting Windows Mail makes it create a new Windows Mail folder. Now you can use the import feature to import the messages from all of the unaffected folders in the Corrupt Mail folder. The imported messages will be in the Imported Folder, from where they will have to be removed to the correct folders.
I am using Windows Vista with Windows Mail as my email program. When I have my laptop/notebook PC at a wireless hotspot, or when use someone else's wireless connection, I can receive emails but I can't send them. Can you explain this and tell me what I can do to resolve the problem?
Originally most Internet email systems were using a POP server, from which incoming mail was collected, and an SMTP server through which outgoing email was sent. The POP server required users to log in with a user name and password, but SMTP servers usually allowed the user to send email without logging on. Unfortunately, because there was no need to log in, spammers found that they could send as much email as they wanted through any SMTP server in the world. Internet service providers (ISPs) therefore had to prevent anyone except their customers from sending email through their servers. The best way to do that would have been to require senders to sign into the SMTP server in the same way they had to sign into the POP server to collect their email.
At that time, many email programs did not have an option to provide a user name and password when sending email, although almost all of them use one now. Many ISPs now set their outgoing mail servers to accept mail only from users who had dialled up or otherwise connected using the ISP's own services.
The Office of Fair Trading in conjunction with the US Federal Trade Commission are encouraging all ISPs to stop spam-sending 'zombies' - computers that have been infected by a virus that has brought them under the control of the hackers. They recommend preventing the use of port 25 (of the computer's Internet connection) for any outgoing SMTP mail except that sent through the ISP's own SMTP servers. Most UK ISPs have complied with this requirement, which probably explains why you can send email from home using your ISP, but not from other locations that use different ISPs.
This problem has affected so many laptop/notebook computer users that many ISPs now offer an alternative way to send email. Some email servers, such as the BT smtp.btinternet.com server, allow the user to select 'log in to authenticate' It then accepts email sent from almost any Internet connection. You might have to change the SMTP port from 25 to 587 in your email program if you are not connected through a BT connection. Some ISPs provide a separate outgoing email server that requires a secure connection. These servers usually use the same user name and password as the POP3 server, but a different port number. Virgin Media is an ISP that suggests using web-based email to send messages when you're away from home.
A good alternative solution is to create a free Google Mail account and use that to send your email.
Note well that since March 2012 Google has unified its privacy policies to cover all of its products and services (Gmail, YouTube, the Chrome browser, an Android-based smartphone, its search engine, etc.), allowing it to harvest the private data you have provided it with in any of them and make use of it to track you across the web and on your Android-based phone and provide you with customised ads via its ad network. In effect, every service or product that Google provides is spyware designed to provide it with information it puts into your own personal profile held in a database containing millions of personal profiles. That information is used to provide you with customised ads within its products and services and from any website that runs Google ads. There is currently (April 2012) no opt out. Furthermore, if you create a new Gmail account, you will have to sign up to Google's facebook-style social network called G+ or you won't be able to create the account. Google clearly want to be able to boast about how many people have G+ accounts, whether they wanted to or were obliged to, in order to compete with Facebook and Twitter. Moreover, independent websites are being made to feel obliged to sign up to G+ in order to maintain or improve their search ranking, which determines how high up in the search results a particular website comes for a particular search query.
You can send email through Google and still use your ISP's address (e.g., email@example.com, where btinternet.com is the ISP). In fact, if you switch to Google Mail for your email, you don't have to worry about changing your email address if you switch to a different ISP. Google can also collect mail sent to your ISP's email address.
You can sign up for a free Google Mail account. When you have logged into your account, click the Settings link at the top-right of the screen and then click Forwarding and POP/I MAP. Enable Enable POP for all mail because doing so enables SMTP access. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Save Changes.
Next, while still on the Settings page, click on Accounts. You can add another email address and specify your usual email address. To verify that you own this account, you have to enter a confirmation code that Google will email to your email address. After you have entered the confirmation code, you can make your email address the default. Email that is sent through Google will then appear to come from your email address.
Now open Windows Mail, click the Tools menu and choose Accounts. You might find that the settings are complicated to get right, so I suggest that you first add a new email account and then enter your Google Mail account details, following the instructions provided by Google at Windows Mail - http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=86383. Then try sending and receiving some test email messages.
After you have this working, click Tools and Accounts again. Select your (non-Google) email address and click Properties. Click on the Servers tab and then change the outgoing server to smtp.gmail.com. Where it says Outgoing Mail Server, you need to choose the My server requires authentication option, and then click the Settings button next to it. In the window that appears, choose the Log on using option and enter your Google user name, which is the part of the email address before the @ sign. Enter your password, then click OK. Return to the Properties window and click the Advanced tab. For outgoing mail, enter the port number 465 and tick the box next to This server requires a secure connection (SSL) and then click OK. All of your outgoing email will now be sent through Google's servers, but will still have your current email address on it, which means that email can be sent from any Internet connection.
Consolidate Multiple Email Addresses with Gmail - http://lifehacker.com/376367/consolidate-multiple-email-addresses-with-gmail
You can also redirect Google Mail email messages to another email address.
How do I forward my mail to another email account automatically? -
Post Office Protocol version 3 (POP3) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post_Office_Protocol
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol [SMTP] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simple_Mail_Transfer_Protocol
I have a Windows networking problem. My two desktop PCs - one running Windows XP Professional Edition and the other Windows Vista Business Edition - are connected to an ADSL router. Both PCs are connected to the web. However, for some reason, they can't see each other. The workgroup, default gateway, and subnet mask are the same for both PCs - as they should be - and each PC has a unique computer name. The network used to work when both PCs were using Windows XP Pro.
The network setup in Windows Vista has been improved to make it easier to use with Vista machines. However, these improvements can be the cause of problems when connecting to previous versions of Windows (Windows 98/Me/XP).
For each IP-address range that Vista discovers, a location type has to be chosen - Home, Work, or Public. You are advised by Windows to choose Public if you are not sure of which option to choose. However, you are not given any warning that choosing Public disables network file sharing over that network. Only Home and Work are regarded as private networks over which files can be shared.
Moreover, file sharing is disabled by default. To enable file and printer sharing in Vista, open the Start => Control Panel => Network and Internet => Network and Sharing Center.
On the Network and Sharing Center there is an option called Password Protected Sharing, which is enabled by default. Only users with a user account and password on that computer can access shared files, printers connected to the computer, or the Public folder. It's best to turn this off and turn it back on after you have file sharing working. You can then set up any user accounts.
Windows Vista has a new graphic feature called Network Map, which shows only your computer, the gateway device, and the Internet by default, but if you open View Full Map, it shows other devices, including other Vista computers. However, the map cannot include computers that run older versions of Windows and other operating systems, such as Linux. To be recognised, a computer has to have a new Microsoft protocol called Link Layer Topology Detection (LLTD) installed and enabled.
Microsoft has released an LLTD responder for Windows XP PCs that can be downloaded from this MS Knowledge Base article:
Network Map in Windows Vista does not display computers that are running Windows XP - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/922120
It is required to show the pictures in Network Map, but does not enable file sharing.
File sharing must be enabled on the Windows XP PC. To do that, open the Start => Control Panel and run the Network Setup Wizard. When asked for a workgroup name, choose WORKGROUP, or the workgroup name used by the Vista PC. Don't use the default suggestion of MSHOME.
File and Printer Sharing in Windows Vista - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb727037.aspx
You can find out what the workgroup name is on the Vista PC by clicking Start, right-clicking Computer with the mouse, and then clicking Properties. The name appears beside the Workgroup heading. Use the Change Settings option to make changes to the computer and workgroup names. Each computer on a network must have the same workgroup name and a different computer name.
If you are using the Windows Firewall (accessed from the Control Panel), the networking wizard will have set it to allow file sharing. However, if you are using a third-party firewall, consult its Help files to find out how to enable file sharing. If file sharing is still not working, the problem probably has to do with a third-party firewall. The Network Diagnostics provided by Windows Vista doesn't provide much help to fix the problem.
The firewalls in versions of McAfee and Norton Internet security software that are pre-installed in many Vista computers, are well-known for preventing file sharing when the user has not set the network type correctly. You usually have to open the firewall's setup screen to make sure that the local network's IP range is set as a trusted network (or similar terminology), which is equivalent to the Windows Firewall's Private network.
If you are still experiencing the problem, try uninstalling the third-party firewall and use the Windows Firewall instead.
I have a home wireless network using D-Link DI-524 router with D-Link WDA-1320 wireless 802.11g adaptors. Recently I acquired a desktop PC that had previously been used in another network. How can I reset/change the WEP/WPA key on the desktop PC to match the keys of the other workstations? All I can see is Wireless network setup wizard on the Windows XP Professional's My Network Places. Please do not suggest that I call D-Link support, because I'm never sure whether they are in Utah, Uganda, Uruguay or Uzbekistan.
The usual procedure is to double click the wireless network icon in the System Tray/Notification Area by the clock. Click on "View available wireless networks". Wait for the list to refresh or refresh the list. Select your WLAN and connect. Enter the key when requested.
If that doesn't work, because the new workstation has a different key than the other integrated workstations in the WLAN, and you have clicked on every networking icon but nothing prompts you to enter the network key (network password), then follow these steps:
1. - Right-click with the mouse on My Network Places icon on the Desktop and select Properties.
2. - Right-click the wireless icon and select Properties.
3. - Place checks in both check-boxes at the lower part of dialog box.
4. - Double-click the Windows wireless icon in System Tray near clock.
5. - Click "View available wireless networks".
6. - Click "Change order of preferred networks".
7. - Place a check at top - "Let Windows manage wireless..."
8. - Click the OK button.
9. - Repeat steps 1 to 3, select your WLAN, press Connect button and enter the password key when prompted.
If you don't get prompted for a key and/or if you already have a saved key but it is the incorrect key, perform steps 1 to 3 again and remove your WLAN from the list. Then repeat steps 4 to 9 again.
Some wireless adapters come with the manufacturer's connection software that loads when you start Windows. The rule of thumb is let Windows built in wireless network software manage the connections. If the manufacturer software loads when starting Windows you can disable it by entering msconfig in the Start => Run that brings up the System Configuration Editor. You can disable it under the Startup tab. However, you will need to know what the actual wireless networking program file is. Some are obvious, such as abcwlan.exe, etc.
On my laptop the entry is: Zcfgsvc (under Startup Item) and "C:\Program Files\Intel\Wireless\Bin\ifrmewrk.exe" (under Command). That is the correct entry because the computer has an Intel wireless adapter.
I have a network consisting of Windows XP computers connected to the Internet via a 20Mbit/s Virgin Media broadband connection that uses a Netgear RT314 Gateway Router. I make regular use of the BBC iPlayer that allows you to view recordings of television programmes online, so the speed of the connection is important. Using some of speed tests available on the Internet, I can't achieve more than about 6Mbit/s, regardless of the time of day, even in the middle of the night. Virgin Media recently replaced my modem, which connects to the network via an Ethernet connection. On the Netgear site this router is listed as an 'end of life' (EOL) product. I am wondering if this is causing a bottleneck? I know that the advertised ADSL broadband speeds are typically only half the speeds achieved in practice, but a 20Mbit/s connection that only gets up to 6Mbit/s seems a rip-off to me. I would therefore be grateful if you could put me more fully into the picture so that I can be sure of my ground when I take Virgin Media on about this state of affairs.
Most broadband services use ADSL technology over copper telephone wires that were designed to carry voice calls and which have a limited speed that depends on the distance from the telephone exchange and the quality of the phone lines. However, the Virgin Media connection in your case is a fibre-optic connection, which is state of the art and should provide significantly higher speeds than cable or ADSL connections.
Even if your actual fibre-optic connection is fast, there is no shortage of congestion areas online that can slow down your downloads. For example, perhaps a particular website you are downloading from limits the bandwidth that can be used. Perhaps congestion in Internet routers, particularly the Virgin Media routers limit bandwidth. Moreover, there could even be restrictions imposed by your own equipment.
You can start by testing speed by connecting your main computer directly to the Virgin Media modem without using the Netgear router. After connecting the computer to the modem, you must turn the modem off and on again before it recognises the computer.
That computer also needs a new IP address. Usually Windows XP or Windows Vista will detect that the Ethernet has been disconnected and reconnected and will then automatically obtain a new IP address. However, you might have to right-click on the Network Connection icon in the taskbar and choose Disable and then Enable to force it to obtain a new IP address. Now you should then be able to test the real speed of the connection.
A common problem with older routers is that the WAN port on the router that connects it to the Internet uses only the old 10 Base-T Ethernet standard that limits its speed to a little under 10Mbit/s. That speed was adequate until broadband connections began exceeding it. The WAN port of the Netgear RT314 router has this limit, although the LAN ports of the router that connect the network run at 100Mbit/s.
Therefore, with that Netgear router, you won't be able to take advantage of the full speed of the connection. A new router should improve speeds significantly. However, take care when choosing a new router. Even if a router has a 100Mbit/s WAN port (that connects it to the Internet), the speed of the physical interface and the throughput of a device (the router) are two different things. In other words, you can have a fast WAN port on a router, but still not be able to pass more than 10Mbit/s through it. For example, Netgear's FVS318 and FVS114 routers cannot handle a 20Mbit/s throughput.
The Virgin Media 20Mbit/s connection first became available end of July 2007. The D-Link DIR-655 Draft 2.0 802.11n wireless router has been reviewed as a router that provides the fastest speeds over that connection. You may be able to find others by making use of a search engine. Use a search query such as router + 20mbit/s + throughput (as is).
If the speed with a new router remains much slower than when connecting one computer directly, the whole network has to be checked. A bad network card or network switch can slow traffic down significantly. You should connect a particular computer directly to the modem to ensure that there is no external problem, then try connecting the router, but connect it only to one of the router's LAN ports. Then reconnect other devices one at a time. If the speed slows down after a particular device is connected, it is the cause of the problem.
I use a D-Link DSL-2640B ADSL2/2+ modem with wireless router to connect a desktop PC and a laptop PC to the Internet. Both PCs run Windows XP Home Edition. The desktop PC is wired to the router, and the laptop is connected to it wirelessly. The first time I started the laptop, it almost set the connection up itself and was working. Now, although the wireless connection shows in the Notification Area of the Windows Desktop, and I can access the administration screen on the router from it and change the router's settings, the laptop won't connect to the Internet. Moreover, I can see the Internet connection from the laptop and see when the desktop PC is transferring data, but the laptop can't monitor any data being sent to the Internet. It only shows data being sent and received by the router.
This is how D-Link describes your router on its website: "3-IN-1 DEVICE The D-Link ADSL2/2+ Modem with Wireless Router (DSL-2640B) is a 3-in-1 device that combines the function of a high-speed DSL modem, wireless G access point, and 4-port Ethernet router. The DSL-2640B supports the latest ADSL2/2+ standards to provide higher performance (up to 24Mbps* downstream and 3.5Mbps* upstream) and longer reach from your Internet Service Provider's (ISP) Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer (DSLAM)."
I take it that you have set the router up with your broadband provider's PPPoA login information and that the desktop PC is set to use dynamic IP settings, which the router provides. Don't use any kind of PPPoE/PPPoA login application or connection icon because that function is handled by the router. A broadband provider can sometimes provide a CD that installs this software, which you should not use with a router.
Computers on a network (the Internet is just a huge network), need a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address, which is equivalent to its phone number. Computers on a network have to know each other's IP addresses in order to be able to communicate with each other. You have to know what you are doing to configure IP addresses manually. Fortunately, a broadband can make the configuration automatic by providing a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server, which provides the IP addresses to the network's computers automatically.
To find out what a computer's IP address is, connect a PC to the router that is set up to use dynamic IP settings, click Start => and enter cmd in the Run box. When the Command Prompt's window appears, enter ipconfig. You should see a screen that shows the computer's unique IP address. An IP address consists of four numbers separated by a full stop, such as 192.168.1.100. If you move to another computer on the network and do the same, you'll notice that the first three numbers of its IP address that are separated by a full stop stay the same, but the last number changes to something like 192.168.1.101. The DHCP server keeps the first three numbers the same and increases the last number sequentially (192.168.1.101, 192.168.1.102, etc.). The maximum is 254 and the minimum is 1, but the actual range assigned depends on settings on the router's control panel, which can can be found in the router's manual. For example, if there is a limit of thirty IP addresses and a starting address of 192.168.1.100, the router will provide every address in the range 192.168.1.100 to 192.168.1.129.
If the desktop PC is using a dynamic IP address provided by the router, you can have a look at its IP settings by entering cmd in the Start => Run box. In the command-prompt window that opens enter the command: ipconfig /all and make a note of the IP address, Default Gateway, and DNS servers. Now try entering the command: ping www.pcbuyerbeware.co.uk. The IP address that is returned should be 188.8.131.52.
Now use the laptop computer. Open a Command Prompt window (as you did on the desktop PC), and enter the ipconfig /all command. The rests should be the same except for the IP address, which should be unique, but in the same range. If both computers are set to obtain them automatically, the DNS servers should be the same as the desktop PC's. It is sometimes possible that getting the DNS servers automatically malfunctions and you have to set the DNS servers yourself. Note that setting the DNS server to the router's gateway address is usually a safe option as long as the router knows the correct DNS servers on the Internet, because it will be able to find out that information.
The laptop computer can connect to the router and display a webpage - the router's configuration settings - so, either the DNS is not functioning (is not converting site addresses (http://www.pcbuyerbeware.co.uk) to their IP addresses (184.108.40.206), or a software firewall is blocking access to IP addresses outside the network.
Now try opening a Command Prompt window and enter the ping www.pcbuyerbeware.co.uk command. If a message comes up saying "Host not found", you have either not entered the command properly or the DNS service is not working. If it gave the same IP address - 220.127.116.11 - as the desktop PC, but produces a message that says "Request timed out", a firewall is blocking access to the web.
If the laptop PC is using the same DNS servers as the desktop PC, but isn't finding websites, the installation of Windows XP could be corrupt. The best way to repair it would be to reinstall Windows XP over itself. If you don't know how to do that, read Reinstalling Windows XP over itself on this site.
If the problem is caused by a damaged firewall installation, you can try changing the settings, but you might have to uninstall and reinstall it. Note that just disabling the firewall via its Control Panel in a security package - such as the Norton and McAfee security suites - might not work if if the installation is damaged. Note that it is also possible that a damaged installation won't be removed completely enough by its own installation option to remove the problem after the software is reinstalled. Fortunately, the major providers of security software provide special removal tools from their websites. Visit symantec.com for Norton software and mcafee.com for McAfee software.
There are several suggestions posted in the following computer-forum thread on this problem that are worth reading because most of them are worthy of consideration. However, the surprising answer to the problem was discovered by the poster himself, which is as follows:
"Problem Solved! Would you believe that there was a typo in the WEP Key? I went into the router to review all the parameters and found the router's WEP key was one digit off from the one I entered. I had been using the WEP key that the Verizon tech had e-mailed to me after he helped me configure the router. How's that for help? I can now see the Internet and the router shows my laptop and all the computers on my network. Whoopee! Thanks to all you Loungers for your suggestions. I've learned a lot from this thread."
No wireless [Internet] on laptop - http://windowssecrets.com/forums/showthread.php/130579-No-wireless-on-laptop
My desktop PC is a Dell XPS 710 running Windows XP Professional, which connects to the Internet wirelessly through a Netgear wireless adapter to a Netgear DG834Gv3 wireless ADSL modem router. Norton Internet Security provides the firewall and antivirus protection and the ISP is AOL. The laptop/notebook is a Dell Inspiron 9400, running Windows Vista Home Premium and Norton Internet Security. When I try to connect wirelessly to the Internet the laptop finds the wireless network, but does not connect to it. Windows Vista on the laptop produces an error message that says: "Wireless association failed because Windows did not receive any response from the wireless router or access point."
If I use an Ethernet cable to connect the laptop to the router I get instant Internet access. I took the laptop to a relative's house. He has a similar wireless network protected by McAfee Internet security. His desktop PC also uses Windows XP Pro. When I turned my laptop on it located his wireless network. By entering his network password I was able to access the Internet without any problem. I thought that the problem was due to the different versions of Windows on my two computers, but this is obviously not the case.
This page - http://kbserver.netgear.com/products/DG834Gv3.asp - provides Popular Knowledgebase Documents, Troubleshooting, Security, and Other Useful Documents for the Netgear DG834Gv3 router.
Norton's firewall is often the cause of this kind of problem. However, since the Norton firewall doesn't prevent you connecting at your relative's house, the problem is probably due to the security settings of your wireless router.
Most ADSL routers provide two different types of security. WEP or WPA encryption requires the PC to supply a network key or pass-phrase to connect. The other, less common option, is to create a list of MAC addresses (a MAC address is a unique identifier that every piece of networking equipment has) that identify authorised wireless systems. That list is then entered into the router.
Netgear user manuals tend to say that the access lists option is the easiest to use. However, you should know that they provide no protection against someone that is monitoring unencrypted data being sent over the network. The MAC address of computers in use on the network can easily be viewed, thereby allowing someone to set up a computer that spoofs (fakes) one of the permitted MAC addresses, which will allow access to the network.
To gain access the router's setup information, on the desktop PC, enter the IP address of the router into your web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.) and check you have not enabled the MAC access list feature.
To find the couture's IP address, enter cmd in the Start => Run box and then enter ipconfig in the Command Prompt window that comes up. The Default Gateway is the router's IP address.
If you use access lists, you need to enter the MAC address of the laptop in the list. To find this, right-click on My Computer, choose the Hardware tab, and click the button to open Device Manager. In Device Manager click the plus sign beside Network adapters and then click on the wireless card to show its Properties page. The MAC address at the bottom of the Advanced tab. The address is string of 12 characters using the numbers 0 to 9 an the letter A to F (hexadecimal, which is base 16), written in pairs separated by colons, such as 00:15:A0:66:14:B1.
If you have wireless encryption enabled, check the type of encryption being used. You are likely to see the old WEP option, which comes in 64- and 128-bit versions, and/or WPA, which also has versions, the best of which is called WPA-PSK, because it is the most secure, but be aware that it may cause problems with older computers that either don't support it at all or that may have bugs.
The WEP security key is a string of hexadecimal characters (0 to 9 and A to F). Each character represents four bits of the key. The key length is 24 bits less than the encryption type, so a 64-bit WEP only uses a key of 40 bits or 10 hexadecimal characters, while 128-bit WEP uses 104 bits or 26 hexadecimal characters.
To avoid typing such a long string, many router manufacturers have added a key-generator feature that generates a long key from a short password. The problem with this feature is that it is not part of the wireless standard, so a given password cannot be guaranteed to generate the same key unless all of the network adapters are of the same make as the router.
A common mistake when setting up a wireless network is to choose to use WEP encryption and then use the key-generator to generate a key. Laptop PCs with built-in adapters usually don't work unless you type in the full 10- or 26-character generated hexadecimal key. If you must use WEP encryption, only use the 128-bit version, because the 64-bit version can easily be cracked by hackers. Enter your own 26-digit hexadecimal key, such as 0123456789ABCDEF01234567890, which just repeats the hexadecimal characters ( the numbers 0 to 9 and the letters A to F), or perhaps a telephone number repeated until it makes 26 characters, such as 78535578535578535578535578. You don't have to use the letters.
Both of your computers are new enough to support WPA-PSK encryption, which is the most secure version, so you should use it. This makes use of a pass-phrase - a long password that can be made up of several words, which part of the wireless standard, so it should work on any wireless equipment.
If that doesn't fix the problem, try disabling the Norton firewall on the laptop. (A Netgear router can be configured to protect its network. For details about several security features used by Netgear routers see: Security: Comparing NAT, Static Content Filtering, SPI, and Firewalls.) If doing that works, then the Norton firewall is blocking traffic. You can also want to update the router's firmware with an update from the manufacturer's website. The latest European version for your router is V4.01.37.
Whenever I go to work in my company's US office, the network technician there reconfigures my laptop PC's network settings so that I can access the Internet by using its network. However, when I get home to the UK, I can't connect to my home network. Is there a way to save my home settings so that I can restore them whenever I get home?
In Windows XP enter this command in the Start => Run box:
netsh -c interface dump > C:\tcpip.txt
In Windows Vista enter the command in the Start => Start search box.
Doing that saves the network configuration to a text file called tcpip.txt. You can use it to restore the settings by entering this command:
netsh -f c:\tcpip.txt
You can create a shortcut on your desktop that runs the restoration command when it is clicked. To do that copy netsh -f c:\tcpip.txt, then right-click an empty space on your Windows desktop and click New => Shortcut. Paste the command into the relevant box and click Next. Enter a name for the shortcut, such as: Restore Network Settings, then click Finish. If you want to change the icon for the shortcut, you can right-click with the mouse on it on your desktop, click Properties, and then click on the Change Icon button.
I need advice with regard to the best place to place an ADSL modem/router for the wireless network that I am setting up. I live in an old Victorian house. The BT telephone line has its connection box/socket in the hallway, which has no electrical sockets, probably because the thickness of the walls and the distance from the nearest mains socket makes installing one a difficult and therefore costly operation. I have extended the telephone line upstairs by making use of a splitter into a bedroom, which does have electrical sockets. Is possible to connect the modem/router to the telephone line extension, and, if so, is any other equipment required?
You won't need in additional equipment unless you still have a poor signal to the computers in your wireless network. In which case, you will have to buy a router that allows you to relace the antenna with a high gain antenna or make use of a repeater. There is no need to place an ADSL modem or modem/router near your main telephone socket. The best place for it would be near your main computer. You can use an telephone extension cable to do that.
If the BT socket has an ADSL faceplate, which gas two sockets on the front, then the hardwired connections are filtered. However, if the master socket does not have an ADSL faceplate, a filter must be connected between the telephone line and all the telephone equipment, except the ADSL modem/router. Two filter units are usually provided with a modem/router that allow you to connect the modem/router and a telephone to the same connection. Voice calls and ADSL broadband use different frequencies and can herefore be separated by a filter. An ADSL faceplate has built-in filters with separate sockets for voice and ADSL signals, so there is no need to use the plug-in filters. Using an ADSL faceplate is the superior option because the connection of plug-in adapters can worsen with time, and poor contacts reduce the signal quality severely.
Thick brick walls reduce a wireless signal severely, therefore place the wireless modem/router in a central location with regard to all of the wireless equipment. If, say, you want to use a laptop computer with a wireless connection in the back garden, a back-facing bedroom would be the best place. If it turns out that the best place for the router provides a poor or non-existent connection to some of your computers, buy a router that allows the built-in antenna to be replaced with a more powerful model, such as a high gain (hi-gain) antenna.
One of the major problems with many wireless networks is the poor range of standard access points and routers. The problems can be solved by using a single-direction or omni-direction high gain antenna that attaches to the connector of a wireless access point or network adapter. By increasing the strength of the signal, the wireless-network range, signal strength and performance are improved significantly.
You can buy a high gain antenna that extends the range of a wireless network or router in one direction or an omni-directional high gain antenna that extends the range in all directions. The Hawking [HAI6SDP] Indoor Hi-Gain 6dBi Directional Antenna is designed to extend the range of a wireless network in one direction. "Installation is simple. Hawking Hi-Gain Wireless antennas are designed to work with most Wireless Access Points, Wireless Routers and Wireless Network Adapters. By using the popular Reverse-SMA connector, the Hawking Hi-Gain Antennas can be used on most Wireless Devices." The Hawking [HAI6SIP] Hi-Gain 6dBi Omni-Directional Wireless Antenna also has the requirement of a "Wireless Device with Reverse-SMA Connector (Access Point/Wireless Router/Wireless Network Adapter/Wireless Bridge)."
Here is a review of a more powerful Hawking Technologies high gain single-direction antenna that is not yet listed on the manufacturer's site (April 2008).
Hawking HA12W Hi-Gain 12dBi Directional Window Antenna - http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/reviews/index.cfm?reviewid=1750
Entering a search query such as wireless network antennas in a search engine should provide you with links to other examples. You can also use it to locate information and vendors for the two products listed above or for wireless repeaters.
A wireless repeater is used to boost a wireless signal if it is too weak to reach where you want it to reach.
When a wireless signal is first broadcast it is very strong. As it continues to travel away from its source, the signal strength weakens. The further from the source it travels, the weaker it becomes, until it loses its integrity entirely. This condition is called attenuation. A wireless repeater picks up the weakened signal, regenerates and rebroadcasts it, thus extending the range of the wireless network. Only fairly recently have affordable wireless repeaters became available. For example, the D-Link AirPlus 900AP+ is a Wireless Access Point (WAP) that can also be used as a wireless bridge between networks. A recent firmware update has added repeater functionality to it as well.
You should be able to find information about other makes/models of repeater by making using the search query wireless repeater in a search engine.
There are some other considerations, such as using different channels to the ones being used in your areas, updating the router's firmware, or your network adapters' drivers, upgrading 802.11b devices to 802.11g (or 802.11n, the next standard which still has to be ratified), replacing card-based wireless network adapters with USB network adapters that use external antenna, all of which are dealt with in the following article:
10 tips for improving your wireless network - Extend the range and the strength of your wireless network -
Click here! to go to the information on the wireless 802.11n standard on this site. It is in the process of being ratified (April 2008), but pre-n equipment is available that is superior in its range and data-transfer speeds to the current 802.11g equipment.
I am having an intermittent problem when visiting websites. Major sites, such as microsoft.com, are not available all of a sudden, but later the same day or after a router reboot they are accessible. I use Windows 7 with both Internet Explorer 9.0 and Firefox (which is changing versions every 6 bweeks at the moment, with only the latest version being updated with security patches). However, I find that I can access the sites when using IP addresses (e.g., 18.104.22.168) when the website address (e.g., http://www.wikipedia.org) is not working. Any idea what is happening here and if the problem can be fixed?
Domain Name Server (DNS) problems are the cause of many Internet connection issues. I suggest using the OpenDNS service from http://www.opendns.com/.
"OpenDNS protects millions of people a day across hundreds of thousands of schools, businesses and homes. We block phishing sites, give you the power to filter out adult sites and proxies among more than 50 categories, and provide the precision to block individual domains."
Anyone can use it free of charge. You just have to set the DNS server addresses in the Windows Network Connection Properties, or in your router's configuration settings page, instead of checking the box that enables the DNS server information to be collected automatically from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) - AOL, BT, Tiscali, etc. Read your router's user manual if you need to know how to access its configuration webpage. If you don't have one, it should be available for that make/model from its manufacturer's website.
The OpenDNS service is superior in many ways to the standard DNS system. For example, because it can filter out websites that should be avoided. Note well that you should use a DNS server that is as close to you as possible as measured by a low ping response time, because your computer, when online, will be making many DNS access requests to convert website addresses (www.wikipedia.org) into their IP addresses (22.214.171.124). If a website address is entered into a browser (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox) it has to be translated into its IP Address by a DNS server or by a service, such as OpenDNS, and then be sent back to the browser. (If you know what a website's IP address is, you can enter it directly into a browser to access it.)
To find out its ping response time, measured in milliseconds (thousandths of a second), you ping the site by opening a Command Prompt. In Windows XP, open the Start => Run box and enter cmd in it. In Windows Vista, enter cmd in the Start => Start Search box. In Windows 7, it's the Start => Search programs and files box. Doing that brings up the Command Prompt. If your ISP's DNS server is overloaded or is experiencing other problems, using OpenDNS might be a better option. You can use the command ipconfig /all at the Command Prompt to see your current DNS server settings for its IP addresses. You can then try pinging them. Depending on the speed of your broadband connection, a respectable ping response time should be under 20ms. (You obviously won't get such a response time with a dial-up narrowband connection.) Then try to ping the OpenDNS servers at 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52 (enter the command ping 184.108.40.206, etc.), which are the IP addresses of its servers provided on the site's home page. If the OpenDNS servers are faster to access than your current servers, then try using its service. You may prefer using it in any case, because it fixes your problem and because of the extra protection it offers.
I can access my home page as usual, but, all of a sudden, nothing happens when I enter a web address into the Internet Explorer 7 address bar, on the same tab as the home page or on a new tab. Also, I can't save sites in Favorites. When I click Favorites => Add to Favorites the box appears, but the saved address never gets into the Favorites folder, which is empty. I am using Windows XP Professional and Norton Internet Security.
It's possible that something in the system has become corrupt due to an attempt by spyware to attach itself to Internet Explorer 7 (IE7). The address bar problem could be caused by a conflict between the Phishing Filter in IE7 and other software. Users that have experienced the same problems report on the web that removing and reinstalling IE7 doesn't fix them, it' unlikely that IE's files have been corrupted.
If the problem is fairly recent, you could try using System Restore to restore a restore point that predates the problem. The problem has to be recent, because System Restore only stores five day's worth of restore points.
The problems could be caused by an IE7 add-on module. You can start IE7 without add-ons to test this.
To do this, click on Start => All Programs => Accessories => System Tools => Internet Explorer (no add-ons). Alternatively, click Start => Run and enter "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe" -exoff (as is). An IE screen should appear saying that add-ons have been disabled.
If the address bar works correctly now, the problem was caused by one of IE's add-ons. To find out which one is responsible, close IE and restart it. Click Tools => Manage Add-Ons and select the Enable or Disable Add-ons option. Under Show, choose the Add-ons that have been used by Internet Explorer. You can now try disabling different sets of those add-ons to see if doing so fixes the problem. In that way, you should be able to isolate the add-on that is responsible.
There are reports of the address bar problem occurring when a set of motherboard utilities from nVidia have been installed, including the Network Access Manager firewall. The problem occurs even if the nVidia firewall is disabled, so, you'll have to uninstall it and then check nVidia's site for an update that addresses the issue.
This issue has also been caused by an interaction between Verclsid.exe, which is a security feature that Microsoft introduced in April 2006, and certain third-party software. A new unproblematic version of the file was released on 25 April 2006. However, it could be that a new conflict is the cause of the problem. For more information read this MS Knowledge Base article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/918165.
If you are unable to fix the problem, a good way out would be to use the Mozilla Firefox browser from http://www.mozilla.com/.
I had no problems with my Belkin F5D7630-4A router since I got it six months ago, but all of a sudden I can't get an Internet connection. The settings have been checked, but I reloaded them, reset the router, updated the router's firmware from the manufacturer's site, and changed all the leads and cables. Belkin's support say that it's a line problem, but the line works fine with a dial-up modem. My Internet service provider (ISP) told me that the router had tried to connect twenty times over a ten-minute period. I searched the web for problems with this router. The problem has been reported. One person opened its case and added a fan, which solved the problem, so it could be a heating problem. The router does get very hot. However, if I leave it switched off for a long period, I can get a connection for a few minutes. The ADSL light should have been on all the time, but it flickered on and off during the connection.
Because you can connect briefly while the router is cool, the problem is likely to be caused by overheating. If the router is still under warranty, you should be able to get a replacement. Under the Sale of Goods Act in the UK, you should be able to get a replacement or a refund out of the warranty period if the machine is not fit for the purpose for which it was purchased when it should have had an expected useful life of say four years. A router would be expected to last at least four years, so, if it fails before that period is up, you would be entitled to a replacement or a refund under the Sale of Goods Act. Alternatively, if you have electrical knowledge, you could also try improving the router's cooling.
However, there are still some other considerations that should be taken into account. Many ISP's are making changes to the equipment installed in telephone exchanges, and these changes could affect a router but not a dial-up modem. You should ask your ISP if there have been any changes to its equipment. If there have been changes, find out the make of the DSLAM equipment on your line and then check with Belkin's technical support if there are any compatibility issues with the router and the new equipment. You have already updated the router's firmware, so there is no need to do so again.
3Com and SMC have marked the same router with cosmetic and firmware differences. All of the versions get very hot, but there are definitely some issues that are firmware-related, such as some Belkin users having complained that the router crashes when running peer-to-peer applications with many connections.
There could still be a problem with your line, because a dial-up modem could be more tolerant of poor line conditions than the router. You can use the modem to provide you with a report of the line conditions. Click here! to go to information on dial-up modems on this site if you need to know how to use a modem to provide such a report.
My brand new PC runs Windows XP Home Edition SP2 and the version of Internet Explorer that it installed (version 6.0.2900.2180). I have recently changed my Internet Service Provider (ISP), but when I tried to change my home page under Internet Explorer's Tools => Internet Options => General tab => Home page, a message is produced that says: "The operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer. Please contact your system administrator." Unfortunately, I am the system administrator and I haven't got a clue what to do to remove the restriction.
The message is meant for the administrator of the systems in a company that has used a utility called the IE Administrator's Kit (IEAK) that the administrator can use to control Internet Explorer's settings. Some ISPs use it to create a customised version of Internet Explorer. However there are now some other ways in which such a restriction being imposed that have nothing do do with a system administrator.
You use Windows XP Home Edition, but, for the benefit of the users of Windows XP Professional Edition, it's possible to use the Group Policy editor to impose similar restrictions as the IEAK and restrict the kind of software that can be run. Someone may have used it to restricted your computer as a prank or maliciously. Look up Group Policy under Help and Support to find out how to use it to find out if that is the case.
The spyware removal utility, Spybot Search & Destroy, has an Immunize option that can restrict access to Internet Explorer's options that can prevent its user from making changes such as changing the home page. If you're using Spybot S&D, it's default settings do not impose such restrictions on Internet Explorer, but you may have enabled and the forgotten about them. To check (if you're running the latest version of Spybot S&D), open the program, click its Mode menu and select Advanced mode. If Default mode is select the additional items called Settings and Tools are not shown in the bottom left-hand corner of the program's window. Click Tools and then click IE tweaks. If the setting called Lock IE control panel against opening from IE is enabled it will cause the problem you are experiencing. If it's enabled, disable it, change your home page, and then re-enable it so that spyware can't make changes to that option. If it gets into your system, some spyware is capable of altering Internet Explorer's settings, so it's a good idea to enable all of the three settings under IE tweaks. Just don't forget about what you've done, because they block your own access to them.
You can also explore certain settings in the Windows Registry that impose restrictions on Internet Explorer. It's advisable to create a restorable restore point in System Restore before you try editing the Registry in case you make a mess of it and Windows doesn't work properly. To do that follow this path: Start => All Programs => Accessories => System Tools => System Restore. Run the wizard started by choosing the option called Create a restore point.
To open the Registry, enter regedit in the Start => Run box. The Registry keys have + signs beside them that you click on to open them.
Several keys have the ability to impose such restrictions:
HKey_Current_User and Hkey_Local_Machine => Software => Policies => Microsoft => Internet Explorer => Restrictions. If you see a key in either of those two locations called NoBrowserOptions, delete it or change its value from 1 to 0 to disable it. The figure 1 enables a value and 0 disables it. To delete or modify a value, right-click on it with the mouse and the options come up.
HKey_Current_User and Hkey_Local_Machine => Software => Policies => Microsoft => Internet Explorer => Control Panel. If you see a key in either of those two locations called Homepage, don't delete it, just change its value from 1 to 0 to disable it. The figure 1 enables a value and 0 disables it. To delete or modify a value, right-click on it with the mouse and the options come up.
If the restrictions return after you've removed them in the Registry, there is probably spyware at work in the system, and you should try running spyware removal tools to get rid of it. See the Security page on this site for information on the most popular free utilities.
Alternatively, one or both of the following files might not be in the C:\WINDOWS\system32 folder might be missing: inetcpl.cpl (350KB) and inetcplc.dll (108KB). The files should be in the C:\WINDOWS\System folder in Windows 95, 98, and Me.
Use Start => Search => All files and folders to locate them.
If they are missing and you have installed an update for Internet Explorer, you'll find Internet Explorer under Add\Remove Programs in the Start => Control Panel. Right-clicking on it provides access to a Repair option that you should run in order for the files to be replaced. If the original version of Internet Explorer that Windows installed is the only version you have, the Repair option won't be there, because it is only added when you update IE.
If either or both of those files are missing and you can't use the Repair option, try registering with a computer forum such as the one at the Tom's Hardware website and post a request for the files for your version of Internet Explorer, which is version 6.0.2900.2180. You find out the version by opening Internet Explorer and clicking Help => About Internet Explorer. When you use the mouse to right-click on those two files the version listed under the Version tab should match your version of Internet Explorer. If you can only obtain a version with a lower or higher version number than yours, try using it, but it must have at least the 6.0.x part in the version number.
No matter what I set as the Home page in Internet Explorer, it is only kept as the Home page for that session. Another page automatically becomes the Home page the next time the system is booted. Even changing it via the Windows Registry by using the Windows Registry Editor doesn't stop it from being reset. The offending page is located at http://www.global-finder.com. How can I get my Home page back?
Plenty of websites are able to hijack your browser (in this case Internet Explorer), and point it to their home pages. No computer that is connected to the Internet is likely to be free of spyware that has been covertly installed by offending websites. To remove the spyware use these excellent free programs Microsoft's Security Essentials - Spybot S&D - Ad-Aware - AVG Anti-Virus. What one of them misses the other may detect. Make sure that the latest updates have been installed for both programs before you run either or both of them.
Note well that you may have to run the above-mentioned spyware removal tools in Safe Mode in order to remove some spyware and adware, so you might as well start these programs in Safe Mode. You can do that by pressing the F8 key just before Windows 98 or Windows XP starts to load at start-up. A boot menu presents itself with several boot options, including Safe Mode.
Some spyware includes a rootkit component that hides itself from Windows and removal tools in normal mode, but the removal tools can detect it in Safe Mode.
CoolWebSearch (CWS) spyware comes in several varieties, all of which are difficult to remove. Some variants use two components that can run even when the computer starts in Safe Mode. Each component reconstitutes the other component if a spyware removal tool removes one of them. And, recently, a variant that has three components. Together they use stealth techniques that hide them from the system and from spyware removal tools.
Global-Finder is a variant of CWS, which is a particularly tenacious hijacker of browsers. The creators of this spyware keep changing its code in order to bypass spyware-removal software. That is why you should always update any such software before you use it.
If none of the above programs get rid of it, visit http://free.antivirus.com/cwshredder/ for the latest version of CWShredder.
Your browser (Internet Explorer, Mozilla, etc.) should only be using the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) made by Sun [now owned by Oracle], obtained from http://www.java.com, because Microsoft no longer supplies or supports its version. Software of this kind most commonly finds its way into a system by exploiting a particular security bug in Microsoft's version of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM).
If you are using Microsoft's JVM, there is a security patch available to defeat this bug. Look under the Tools menu item in Internet Explorer to find out which version your browser is using.
Read the relevant Knowledge Base article 816093 by clicking this link: http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=816093.
Note that I haven't added the date to the following information, because, just in case of developments of this sort, you should always obtain the latest updates for any kind of malware tool before you use it.
"If you have ever downloaded HijackThis or CWShredder, it is urgent that you upgrade to the latest versions before using them again. If you mirror these programs on your own site, it is extremely urgent that you update the files.
"Due to a new variant of the CWS Trojan, using either HijackThis or CWShredder on an infected Win98 or WinME computer may lead to severe damage to that computer. You must update to the very newest versions of these programs before using either of them again.
"I don't know what the details of the problem are. I haven't been following the latest postings at the message board. The problem is serious enough that people have had to reinstall Windows on their computers.
"To upgrade these programs, you merely delete the old files and replace them with the new."
You can obtain the latest update for CWShredder here: http://free.antivirus.com/cwshredder/.
If neither Microsoft's Security Essentials nor Spybot S&D nor Ad-Aware nor AVG Anti-Virus remove a malware problem - in an extreme case only - you should download and run HijackThis by using the link above. This program lists all of the changes that have been made to the standard configuration of Internet Explorer, and it allows you to restore them to the default configurations. The program needs to be used with care, because it can easily remove settings that you want or need to keep.
Here is the best way to use the program. Download HijackThis! Unzip the downloaded file into a new folder that you should create before you start the download. Don't install it on your Desktop. Don't use any of the Temp folders that are presently in your computer. Double-click the HijackThis.exe file and click on Scan. When the scan is finished, the Scan button will change into a Save Log button. Click Save Log (doing this generates a hijackthis.log file) Next, click => Config [button] => Misc Tools [button]. Click Generate StartupList log [button], which generates a startuplist.txt file.
For more information on this subject, please visit: http://www.merijn.org/htlogtutorial.html.
If you are a relatively experienced computer user, first try copying and pasting your HijackThis log file to this web-based HijackThis log-file analyzer - http://www.hijackthis.de/.
You shouldn't rely exclusively on the log-file analyser (US: analyzer), but if you have a reasonable level of technical knowledge, it should help determine which items should be removed.
Sites that have expert volunteers that interpret HijackThis log files are:
SmitFraud Remover - http://www.anti-spyware-101.com/remove-smitfraud/ - can remove many types of spyware that promote phoney virus and spyware scanners. If that link doesn't work, to find others, enter SmitFraud Remover as the search query in a search engine.
Winsock XP Fix - http://www.majorgeeks.com/download4372.html or http://www.snapfiles.com/get/winsockxpfix.html - can fix the Windows Winsock if spyware corrupts it. It is necessary to go online, so if spyware makes it impossible to go online, running this program could put you back in business. If those links don't work, to find others, enter winsock xp fix as the search query in a search engine.
There is an easy way to use Spybot S&D to protect your Home page and other settings in Internet Explorer.
The Spybot Search and Destroy utility can disable several changes being made to the settings under Internet Options, such as changing the Home page, which is shown under the General tab (shown in the image below). This is useful because some spyware can make undesirable changes to Internet Explorer that can be difficult to remove once they are in place.
There are three settings available in the latest version of the free spyware removal tool, Spybot S&D. It's advisable to enable them all, but just remember that if you want to make changes yourself and can't, it's because you have to disable one or more of these settings first. To find the settings, run Spybot and go Mode => Advanced mode. Options appear in the bottom left corner of the window that don't appear if Default mode is enabled. Click on Tools followed by the IE tweaks icon. The following three settings have check boxes beside them that you have to place a check mark in with the mouse to enable:
1. - Lock Hosts file read-only protection against hijackers.
It is possible that changes to your operating system's Hosts files are redirecting traffic to websites commonly used as home pages to malicious ones. You will need to rule out this possibility as well. Visit http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm for more information.
2. - Lock IE start page settings against user changes [current user]
3. - Lock IE control panel [Internet Options] from opening within IE [current user] - [You can only access Internet Options from the Control Panel.]
Alternatively, you computer's antivirus or security software might have options that lock Internet Explorer in the same ways. Remember that you will have to unlock the settings if you want to make use of these features yourself.
My desktop PC runs Windows Vista Home Premium Edition. Unfortunately I have visited a suspect site via a search engine and now my computer produces a Windows pop-up every minute warning me that my computer is making unauthorised files and that I should scan to detect and remove viruses. The pop-up itself doesn't look legitimate. I have run my AVG Anti-Virus scanner, which discovered a Trojan. I used the scanner to quarantine it, but the pop-up is still coming up.
It appears as if your computer has been infected with one of the numerous variants of SmitFraud. The Trojan backdoor program that it delivers is probably called Zlob. Other hidden code will keep reinstalling the Trojan when one of its parts is removed.
Many Windows Vista systems have been infected with SmitFraud in spite of the much-improved security improvements over Windows XP, which were designed to prevent spyware and viruses from installing themselves without permission. It is not yet apparent if this is because SmitFraud's programmers have found ways around Vista's security measures, or whether users have become so accustomed to having to click OK on the security warnings that present themselves whenever third-party software tries to make changes to the system that they do so automatically no matter what the message is, or find out how to turn the warnings off.
The SmitFraud software, which is spyware, keeps changing in order to avoid being detected by scanners, so you should use several anti-spyware scanners that have been fully updated online by running their update features. If you don't have any spyware scanners, you can find links to the best free ones in the Security section of this site.
Install and update the anti-spyware scanners, but don't scan the system in Windows normal mode. Restart the computer in Safe Mode. To do that, press the F8 key repeatedly as the computer starts up, but before the first Windows splash screen appears. The Windows boot manager comes up. It has a list of boot options, one of which is Safe Mode. When Safe Mode has booted, run SmitFraud Fix, followed by the spyware scanners, one at a time. You must scan the system in Safe Mode to avoid reinfection, because the spyware will not have installed itself in that mode. SmitFraud consists of several parts that can rebuild any of the parts that are removed in normal Windows mode.
To avoid this happening again, it is advisable to download the free version of Web of Trust from http://www.mywot.com/. It marks search results with symbols that warn you of sites that should be avoided.
|Click here to go to Google Groups where the MS KB articles are discussed in newsgroups|
|Click here to go to the MS Knowledge Base|
|For access to an article click on the Ref. Number or copy it into the search box at the destination pages of either of the two links placed in the top two rows of this table.|
|How to set up a small network with Windows XP Home Edition (PART 1 of 8)|
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|How to troubleshoot Bluetooth detection and connectivity problems in Windows XP Service Pack 2 - After you install Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), a Bluetooth device that previously functioned correctly in Windows XP SP1 and that supported Bluetooth wireless devices may not function correctly. This article discusses how to troubleshoot:• Bluetooth device detection issues. • Service detection issues. • Device detection and connectivity issues.|
|The Computer Browser service does not start and event ID 7024 is logged when you restart your Windows XP Service Pack 2-based computer|
|Windows XP IPConfig Syntax|
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|How to Reset Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) in Windows XP|
|How to Troubleshoot TCP/IP Connectivity with Windows XP|
|HOW TO: Enable or Disable Internet Connection Firewall in Windows XP|
|HOW TO: Install NetBEUI on Windows XP|
|Overview of the WPA Wireless Security Update in Windows XP - This article discusses the Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) update in Windows XP - Home and Professional|
|The Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2)/Wireless Provisioning Services Information Element (WPS IE) update for Windows XP with Service Pack 2 [This update allows Windows XP SP2's wireless networking software to use WPA2 data encryption provided by a Wireless Access Point (WAP) or router]|
|HOW TO: Configure Internet Connection Sharing in Windows XP|
|How to Configure a Static Client for Windows XP Internet Connection Sharing [How to configure a host, such as a server, with a static IP address rather than allowing the host to be configured with a dynamic IP Address, which is different every time.]|
|How to Configure Windows XP ICS for an Internal PPTP Server|
|You Cannot Access Shared Files and Folders or Browse Computers in the Workgroup - Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional|
|HOW TO: Edit the Boot.ini File in Windows XP|
|Safe Mode Boot Switches For The Windows XP Boot.ini File|
|How To Configure Windows XP to Automatically Log On a User Account|
|HOW TO: Configure or Disable Solicited Remote Assistance in Windows XP - also see "306586" - "306757" - "306971" - "306800" for Remote Assistance information.|
|Error message when you use a Windows XP-based computer to share files over a network: "Error: Server service not started" - When you use a Microsoft Windows XP-based computer to share files with another user over a network, you receive the following error message: Error: Server service not started Additionally, when you try to start the Server service, the service does not start. Instead, you receive the following error message: Error 126: The specified module cannot be found. - This problem occurs if the Srvsvc.dll file is missing or corrupted.|
|You receive an error message the first time that you try to use the Remote Assistance feature to offer assistance to a user whose computer is running Windows XP - This problem occurs if the following conditions are true: • The Remote Desktop feature is not enabled on the user's computer. • The connection attempt times out before the Remote Desktop Help Session Manager service on the user's computer starts.|
|NetBEUI Is Unable to Restore Network Connections When Returning From Hibernation or Standby Mode - Windows Me|
|Network Browsing May Not Work Properly Over 1394 [FireWire] NDIS Network - Windows Me|
|Automatic Windows 98/Windows Me TCP/IP Addressing Without a DHCP Server - How to Use Automatic TCP/IP Addressing Without a DHCP Server|
|Using the Microsoft L2TP/IPSec VPN [Virtual Private Networking] Client with Windows 98, Windows Me, and Windows NT 4.0|
|Shows how to speed up a network connection: Delay Viewing Shares on an Windows 98 Based Computer from a Windows 2000 Based Computer|
|Dial-Up Networking 1.4 Upgrade Is Available - Windows 95/98|
|How to Troubleshoot Basic TCP/IP Problems - Windows 95/98/Me|
|How to Remove and Reinstall Dial-Up Networking and TCP/IP Files - Windows 95/98|
|How to Use Winipcfg to View TCP/IP Settings - Windows 95/98|
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