Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Web browsing stops working; ping, skype, nslookup etc. still fine

I believe I have got another Vista hate item on my list: Every now and then, particularly after some time of heavy browsing, the web browser suddenly stops working. Ping, nslookup and Skype still works, but neither Firefox, Internet Explorer, Thunderbird or FTP (from CMD) work any longer.

Investigation: A net trace using Ethereal Wireshark reveals that using IE or Firefox, no packets are ever leaving the browsers when I try to make a request for a web page. Obviously, there's something wrong in the internal OS parts that prevent packets from ever being created. OS parts because the problem applies to both IE, Firefox, Thunderbird and FTP (and more?) - OS is what they all have in common.

Possible solution: There's a lot of rubbish advice out there on different forums and blogs that advice to reset routers, disabling firewalls etc., which does not address the problem at hand. My best clue yet is Microsoft KB937168, which describes a problem pertaining to those with ICS (internet connection sharing) enabled. I happen to have just that.

Microsoft has a rigorous process for downloading the needed update, however The Hotfix Share seems to provide what is needed (if you can afford the risk of downloading from another site than Microsoft itself).

I will update this post when I have some certainty as to whether the problem is really solved - i.e. after hours of successful browsing without any hickups.

UPDATE 14.1.08: Problem is still gone - I am terminating this as an "under research" topic, assuming that the solution is found.

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