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Windows 7: Erratic browser behavior (links not working) - DNS problems?

30 Dec 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
Erratic browser behavior (links not working) - DNS problems?

I have a weird problem that has been plaguing my Dell Studio 1555 for the last couple months. Most of my web browsing seems to work just fine, but i have certain links or pages (or elements within a page) that don't work. I have tested these sites on IE, FF (my default) and Chrome, and the same thing happens in each browser. I also don't think this is a router issue, i have another desktop on the same network (wired, while my laptop is on wifi) and it works just fine.
Bing image or video results usually just show a gray rectangle thumbnail, or on Bing, where it shows the thumbnails for trending searches, the thumbs are just "pipes (|)".
On my facebook home feed, lots of the links to external pages don't work and give me an error screen like i'm not connected to the internet. This has led me to believe that i might have a dns issue, but i don't really understand why some stuff would work and other stuff doesn't.
My IP address is static, and i'm using the google dns servers. here's what the "details" screen brings up on my wireless network connection: (the relevant information at least)

Connection-specific DNS Suffix: (my ISP, automatically obtained?)
Description: Intel WiFi Link 5100 AGN
IPv4 Address:
IPv4 Subnet Mask:
IPv4 Default Gateway:
IPv4 DHCP Server:
IPv4 DNS Servers: (automatically obtained from the ISP)

IPv4 WINS Server is blank, and there's some IPv6 info there, and the IPv6 DNS Server is blank as well. i don't know if any of that stuff matters, but i don't really understand IPv6 that well.

Does anyone have any ideas on what my problem is? And if it matters, i'm using a Vizio xwr100 Dual-band N router. And i don't think it's relevant, but i recently upgraded to a SSD with a fresh install of win7, but the browsers were fine for a few months afterwards before the problems started. I appreciate any help i can get

My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jan 2013   #2

W7 Pro SP1 64bit

Welcome to the Seven Forums.

Do you have another computer on your network that you can test these sites with?

Another member with a thread like this found out that the tech support at their ISP had the same issues with the same web pages. So - if you could test with another computer, or call your ISP's tech support - that would rule that out.

Another member had this same issue - but only when using a PPPoE type of connection to the NET. Do you happen to use that type of connectivity?

If it is neither of those - perhaps the default HOST file has been changed. Maybe it is blocking stuff. Here is a link to putting that file back to normal: How can I reset the Hosts file back to the default?

Getting further away from likely causes - you can try this:
How to reset Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)

You can also scan your computer with Malwarebytes, MSE and WDO.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jan 2013   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

thanks for the suggestions! (and btw thanks for not just directing me to my firewall, it occurs to me that i forgot to mention it in the original post ) speaking of erratic, the strange thumbnail issues on bing are gone, even though (my homepage) takes a long time to load. the external link on my fb is still the same, and yes, i do have a desktop computer with a wired connection on the same network, and all the problem sites/links are working fine on that one. (winxp if that makes a difference). i'll try the Host file thing and see if that works. i'll let you know either way.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

02 Jan 2013   #4
Saurabh A

Windows 7 64bit

Hi weecho77,

You may try using the system in 'Safe Mode' to see if that changes the current pattern.

If the issue persists, try using the laptop with an 'Ethernet cable' plugged into it; this would help us isolate if the issue is related only to a 'wireless connection'.

I would also recommend you to temporarily disable the 'firewall' in the 'router' and observe changes. The issue looks weird, as it shows up with all the browsers; resetting the 'router firewall' has helped me similar situations in the past. You may want to give it a shot.

The firewall is set to 'On' by default. Select 'Off' to disable firewall protection. To makes changes, connect the laptop to the router with an 'Ethernet cable' > Log in to access the 'router configuration page' > Click 'Advanced' > A new menu will be displayed showing the advanced options available for the 'Firewall setting' > Disable the firewall and save settings (You may enable the router firewall after checking the results). Please refer to the 'user guide' for the router, if needed:

I would also suggest you to use a different 'browser version'. Either 'update the browser' or if you have the latest version installed, try with the previous one; and check results. Also ensure that 'Java' is installed and 'Enabled'. You may find this document useful: Mozilla Firefox Web Browser

If you still experience issues, please try to find out if the issue occurs with any other application/program/website (apart from Facebook).

Hope this helps. Do reply with the findings; would be glad to assist.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2013   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

yes indeed Saurabh, when using Safe Mode the problem goes away.
UsernameIssues - i tried resetting the Hosts file, and resetting the TCP/IP, neither one made a difference.
I should also note, that i use Microsoft Security Essentials, and i have tried disabling it along with the windows firewall, and couldn't get it to work right. but i guess this shows that the problem is definitely with the computer itself and nothing to do with the router, or whether or not it's a wireless connection right?
I'll try using Malware Bytes and rule that out. on another note, I thought i had windows defender, but maybe not after all. is it not a part of MSE?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2013   #6

W7 Pro SP1 64bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by weecho77 View Post
.......on another note, I thought i had windows defender, but maybe not after all. is it not a part of MSE?
Windows defender and windows defender offline (WDO) are two different beasts. WDO seems to be MSE on a bootable media. WDO uses the same list of things to look for as MSE and even the same user interface, but WDO can look for nasties that hide themselves from anti-virus tools by loading into RAM before the operating system does.

Windows defender is a part of the W7 OS. Installing MSE should disable parts of windows defender. See this Q&A Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials on Windows 7, - Microsoft Community

You might want to scan with WDO - if you can boot to a USB stick, then a WDO scan can be done from that.

You might also want to try this:
Troubleshoot Application Conflicts by Performing a Clean Startup
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2013   #7
Saurabh A

Windows 7 64bit

Hi weecho77,

Thank you for the reply.

Though we are dealing with a 'fresh Windows re-install', proper functionality in 'Safe Mode' points at a software issue. Good that you've disabled the 'anti-virus' and 'firewall'; however, a corrupt software may still be responsible.

As suggested by 'UsernameIssues', try a clean Startup; that may help you to isolate the root cause. In addition, you may also try to create a 'new user account' to see if that makes any difference: Create a user account

You are correct; since it works in 'Safe Mode', it is unlikely that 'router firewall' is the culprit.

Was also wondering if you tried using the laptop with an 'Ethernet cable' plugged in; may prove to be a useful input.

Do reply with the findings; glad to assist.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2013   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Thank you both for the help - i got it fixed! i ran malware bytes, mse, wdo, all to no avail. then i tried the "clean startup" and was able to narrow down my issue - one of my startup programs that had an ad-blocker in it. i totally forgot about it while i was checking my antivirus and firewall initially... well i feel silly, but i suppose i learned a valuable troubleshooting tool. thanks again!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jan 2013   #9

W7 Pro SP1 64bit

I've forgotten stuff like that too. :-(

Glad to hear that it is working now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jan 2013   #10
Saurabh A

Windows 7 64bit

Hi weecho77,

Glad that the issue is fixed :)
Do reply if you have any further questions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Erratic browser behavior (links not working) - DNS problems?

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