Domain names won't work, IP addresses will (sort of)

niro5

Junior Member
Jun 30, 2009
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A friend brought me her computer to fix, but I am stumped by this problem. It is a Dell Inspiron B130 running windows XP

She was able to connect to her home wired and wireless connections. Typing in the domain name will do nothing, but when she types in an IP address directly, the page will load, but she is unable to do anything once on the page.

She brought the laptop into work and I tried it on our network here. Again, the symptoms are the same. I tried it to equal effect on both IE and Firefox. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I should proceed from here?
 

Harvey

Administrator<br>Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
35,052
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Right click My Computer, and check Device Manager to see if the network adapter is shown and working correctly. Does she have the right driver installed?

Did she recently update the network driver? You may also want to uninstall and re-install the driver. If you have any questions, search Google for possible reported problems with the currently installed version.

Check the properties in her network connections, and compare them to a known working machine on the same network.

Could it be virus/spyware/hijacker infected? If possible, run some good checkers. Spybot and SuperAntiSpyware are good, but you won't be able to load the latest definitions if you can't get the machine online.

Does she have the Restore Disk set? Sometimes, a rebuild from the ground up is the quickest way to fix a radically squirreled setup.

Good luck. :)
 

niro5

Junior Member
Jun 30, 2009
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Thanks, I'm trying those now. After talking with her, I started to get the idea that a virus might be the problem. I'll try that first.
thanks
-N
 

niro5

Junior Member
Jun 30, 2009
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OKay, all the drivers seemed fine, and she hadn't been messing with any of them. I installed a new virus scanner and didn't find anything after a full scan.

As an intermediate step, i did a system restore, though that did not do the trick. Someone suggested checking the Hosts File. Any other suggestions? Once she has backed up all her music photos and papers (and found her restore disk) and do a fresh install.
 

Eeqmcsq

Senior member
Jan 6, 2009
407
1
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If IP address work, but domain names don't, I'd suspect some sort of DNS lookup problem. Have you tried going to the command line and doing an "nslookup" test? Example: nslookup www.google.com
 

jlazzaro

Golden Member
May 6, 2004
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Originally posted by: niro5
She brought the laptop into work and I tried it on our network here.
for future reference, don't plug strange squirrely computers into a corporate network.


Originally posted by: niro5
I installed a new virus scanner and didn't find anything after a full scan.
depending on the infection (if that is the case) virus scanners installed after the fact can be useless.

sounds like a reformat is in your future.
 

ScottMac

Moderator<br>Networking<br>Elite member
Mar 19, 2001
5,471
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Chack that there are no hard coded DNS addresses in the network/NIC properties

Ensure that the "Obtain DNS Server Addresses Automatically" is set to "YES"
 

niro5

Junior Member
Jun 30, 2009
5
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Well, unfortunately, she called DELL and the dropped the reformat bomb on her deleteing all her photos and music, at least she saved her papers.

Thanks for all the help!
 

Eeqmcsq

Senior member
Jan 6, 2009
407
1
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Well, unfortunately, she called DELL and the dropped the reformat bomb on her deleteing all her photos and music, at least she saved her papers.
You know how the reply editor gives you a list of emoticons to select from? They need to add one for face-palm, because that's exactly what I thought of when I read that. It's waaay too early to call for a reformat for what appears to be a DNS problem.