View Full Version : XP, WIred & Wireless Connection Good; Can't Browse

08-22-2008, 02:34 PM
HI -- I am a new member and am not sure where to post this...

I've seen this topic discussed a few times in other forums, but haven't yet seen it resolved. I am working on a relative's older laptop (running XP Home Edition SP2 Ver. 2002 -- and I don't think he's got a Windows disc); he originally could not get the machine to boot a while back and I got it working, but never tested the network connections as he initially only wanted to retrieve a few files (but did run virus & malware checks and install Avast & Spybot). Now he needs to use the laptop as his sole computer and he was having trouble getting a borrowed notebook wireless card to work (mine) so I began troubleshooting his wireless internet connection. He's using a Belkin Pre-N card that I've used on another laptop in my home (with our encrypted wireless router) with no problem. On his machine I get a good signal, it accepts the encryption key, etc. -- but cannot surf in IE or Firefox.

I've checked ipconfig -- initially I was getting a question mark for one of the items (sorry -- can't remember which) and was told that DHCP was not enabled, but according to the WIndows network connection info it actually was. I tried checking firewall settings and adding HTTP, FTP & HTTPS port info -- no change. I tried disabling the firewall -- no good either.

Then I tried hooking an ethernet cable directly from our cable modem to his laptop -- bypassing our router -- still can't surf (but shows a working network cable connection).

I've deleted network adapters and reinstalled them. I've removed network connections and added them back. I've removed and reinstalled the wireless card driver.

(Although it seems weird to me that I've got a solid connection on both wired and wireless -- would lead me to think that a driver issue is not involved...)

He uses AOL (which I am not familiar with), but I think I disabled any anti-virus stuff associated with it. After reading somewhere that Zone Alarm can cause trouble (associated with an XP update that he does not appear to have installed). I looked for Zone Alarm and see the name mentioned in "start, programs" but only something that says 'install" -- nothing in the add/remove list that mentions it. This Zone Alarm install feature is associated with some HP printer software he had installed -- I uninstalled those. I disabled some Symantec/Norton software and startup items as well.

I also checked Services and set pretty much everything to automatic.

This machine was having issues when I originally "fixed" it; I was able to get it to boot after using my Windows XP disc to run chkdsk & clean some viruses -- but am not sure if any of the original problems could be related. I have to admit I'm running out of ideas...

I just ran the XP SP3 updates last night and have no improvement. I suppose my next step is reinstalling XP, but was trying to avoid that because he's got a lot of software installed but doesn't have disks...

I've seen several references to this problem across the internet, and am hoping that someone has come across it before and found a solution. Any ideas out there?

Thanks very much. mcaren

08-22-2008, 02:52 PM
You should be able to surf directly connected to the modem. This should be the simplest connection to make. If you flip the modem upside down, most have a reset button. Hold the reset button in and the lights should start flashing as it reboots itself. Connect a patch cable from computer to modem and assign an IP address to the computer statically. Usually modems are either or so give the PC or You should then be able to access the modem via There is a login ID and password that must be put into the modem for it to connect to the internet. Check and see if its connected, if not, either get the ID from the client or their ISP.

08-22-2008, 03:29 PM
You've got a number of variables here and you've started in the right direction by eliminating wireless from the equation.

The likelihood is that whatever virus caused the original problem inserted itself into the TCP stack which is now broken as the virus has been removed. So the first thing I would do is run WinsockXPFix. Google that phrase on a working PC, download the exe and run it on the problem system, reboot and hopefully Bob's your Uncle.

If Bob actually turns out to be your Aunt Roberta in drag, come back to us and well troubleshoot the connection from scratch.

08-22-2008, 03:56 PM
This might be a no brainer, but i figured I would ask anyway!

You say he uses AOL. Does he TCP/IP into aol through another provider (such as AT&T, comcast, time warner, etc...) or does he log straight into AOL (remember that some companies such as Time Warner offer AOL as a service and it is separate than Road Runner - This requires an AOL direct log on)?

If he logs straight into AOL, then you must open AOL and sign in before IE or Firefox will work (When not using a router).

Additionally, if he logs straight into AOL and does not TCP/IP in, then the router must be configured to log into AOL for him, not his computer as mentioned above. To do this, follow thecoldone06's advice by accessing the router at

once you are on the router, you will need to configure the following to set it up using PPPoE

Internet Connection Type = PPPoE

The Following settings are set to automatic or get automatically from ISP,
On some routers you may have to leave these fields blank:
IP Address
Subnet Mask
Default Gateway
Domain Name Server (DNS) Addresses

MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit): 1450

Username: your Screenname@aol.com
Password: your password

08-23-2008, 03:24 AM
I just got in and haven't had a chance to do more than read your replies, but thank you for your suggestions.

Thecoldone06 -- are your steps necessary if I've got other machines successfully using the same modem? (i.e., is this step to check the modem or does it check something on the laptop side?) Pardon me if this is obvious -- I've never gotten the hang of IP address stuff -- seem to have a mental block... If it makes a difference, I've got 3 other machines running from the same modem (but through a router).

Seedubya -- I actually had found the WinsockXPFix the first night I discovered the network connection was acting weird (sorry -- had forgotten that I'd tried it), but have not tried it since installing SP3. (Not sure if it will make a difference, but will try again -- I REALLY don't want to reinstall XP!)

Geekhelp4u - Actually, nothing having to do with IP or AOL is a no-brainer for me, so I'll take all the suggestions I can get! I have no idea about his AOL limitations (I'm assuming it's a bit late to call him tonight -- I'll see if I can remember his password...). But, on the other hand, shouldn't I be able to add a separate network connection that bypasses any AOL sign-ons? Will give it a try tho...

Well, thanks again and wish me luck! mcaren

08-24-2008, 02:11 PM
geekhelp4u -- I'm confused about how to make the changes you suggested to the router. I use a dynamic connection type for our router currently. I looked at the router configuration and I don't see the ability to change a specific connection or login to the PPPoE setting -- would I have to make this change for everyone going through the router? If so, would it not mess up the rest of our connections? (We use Cox Cable as our provider.)

Thanks. mcaren

08-24-2008, 03:34 PM
I looked at the router configuration and I don't see the ability to change a specific connection or login to the PPPoE setting -- would I have to make this change for everyone going through the router? If so, would it not mess up the rest of our connections? (We use Cox Cable as our provider.)

Are you using a personal router such as a linksys or are you using a router that is provided to you by cox cable?

If you are using a router provided to you by cox cable, then it is probably not going to work on your router.

You should be able to get his computer connected to your router and working on your ISP (forgetting about AOL for the time being). Once you do this, you can check to see if IE is working at this point.

09-08-2008, 05:50 AM
XP, the default interface metric for all network adapters is set to Automatic, which causes the adapter to use the fastest available connection. But for some reason, the wireless card installation program had set the wired interface metric to 1 and left the wireless interface set to Automatic. This change had the effect of setting the wireless metric to 0 (although you can't actually set the metric to 0, XP gives priority to an interface metric set to Automatic over an interface metric set to 1). The OS uses the lowest-numbered interface (in this case, the automatically set wireless interface) for all default network traffic. Resetting the interface metrics for all network adapters to Automatic returned the default behavior and gave priority to the fastest network. Check your current configuration, perform the following steps:

1. Open the Control Panel Network and Dial-up Connections applet. Right-click Local Area Connection and choose Properties.
2. Select Internet Protocol and click Properties.
3. Click Advanced.
4. Make sure that the Automatic metric check box is selected. (If you want to force a particular connection to be primary, clear the Automatic metric box and enter interface metric numbers, from lowest to highest.)

09-08-2008, 01:33 PM
At this point, I would use a Live Cd - UBCDWin, Puppy etc. and try to reduce the variables.

Also, what happens when you ping from a command prompt?


09-08-2008, 02:00 PM
Have you tried plugging in your laptop and trying to access the web? It could even be a bad NIC card. I might also back up the server config, reset the router and see if there is a setting in the router causing the connection to be blocked (i have seen it before) if not, reload the router config.