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Subject: I need Internet browsing help rss

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Josh
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For the last two months I have had a nagging computer problem, and would be very grateful if someone could tell me how to fix it.

Once I get on the Internet, I get only a finite amount of browsing time before getting an error message, and then I must restart my computer to go online again. I might get 5 minutes of browsing, and rarely get more than an hour. I run Windows XP, and generally use IE, but the same thing happens in Firefox. I will get an IE error saying something like "IE cannot connect to that page" and Firefox will say "Firefox cannot connect to the server." This glitch seems to happen only when moving between sites. For example, it won't happen if I play an online game for two hours. At times I've thought it seemed to happen more with pages that have embedded video/animation, but I'm not sure. It's not my Net connection or cable modem (I think), because if I restart my computer it works every time.

I scan assiduously for viruses and spyware, and this glitch did not obviously develop after any specific Windows/IE/antivirus/antispyware update.

Any help would be appreciated, and it's worth some GG to me to have this fixed.
 
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Josh
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Oh, and maybe this is a helpful clue. Say I'm goofing around on BGG, and everything's fine. The problem be noticeable when I open another window to go to another site. Often, the first hint is that some of the embedded images on the other site will be replaced with those null boxes. Then I'll get the error message if I try to keep surfing. However, all the while, I'll still be able to surf BGG without problems, but it means that the error message is coming for BGG, although on a seeming random schedule.

Note that this occurrence is not BGG-specific, but rather that whatever site is already OK stays OK after the problem involves other sites.
 
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Rob
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It's possible you're running out of available disk space on your PC to cache pages. Check IE: Tools, Internet Options, Temp Internet Files, Settings... As I understand it, this really only needs to be set to around 50 - 100MB. In any case, if this number is bigger than your remaining disk space, that could be causing a problem.
 
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Josh
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Dex, looks like you are on the right track. The cache was set to 1024 MB, and when I went to check it I got a warning message that it was set too high. I'll test drive the change for the rest of the day, and report back.

 
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Josh
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Unfortunately, the browser cache idea did not pan out. After screwing around with my computer for much of today, I am increasingly convinced that it's some sort of problem with the way that images are imbedded into webpages (but the avatars on BGG do not seem to cause problems). Any other ideas?
 
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Rob
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I don't have any other suggestions, for now. But I'll post here if I think of something.
 
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Hopefully becoming a restaurant owner soon! Peter Melanson
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Try clearing out your cookies and your offline content.

That is what I would start with.

This is a very odd error, have never heard of it before.

Are you on wireless or a wired connection? It could be your NIC is being shut off.

That can be found if you go start->settings->network and right click on your network connection and choose properties. Then choose the properties of your network card and there should be a power management tab. Take the check mark out of that box.

Hopefully those help the problem.
 
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Dom L
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If you use any persistent programs (AIM, IRC), do they drop connection after pages stop loading? If not, it could be DNS issues. The whole "games stay connected" piece of the puzzle fits with that. Once an online game has established a connection, it communicates by IP address rather than hostname, which is what web browsing relies on (and that the DNS server looks up the IP for).
 
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Josh
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First of all, many thanks to all those who have offered suggestions. Tips for everyone, although the problem does not seem to be solved.

Peter, it's definitely not a cookie issue, and I've tried that many times before. I do indeed use wireless, and I have tried your suggestion about the power management. Time will tell if it works.

rocketkiwi wrote:
If you use any persistent programs (AIM, IRC), do they drop connection after pages stop loading? If not, it could be DNS issues. The whole "games stay connected" piece of the puzzle fits with that. Once an online game has established a connection, it communicates by IP address rather than hostname, which is what web browsing relies on (and that the DNS server looks up the IP for).


Dom, I don't use persistent programs, so I don't know. However, it sounds like you are on the right track here. How can I take this idea further? Very nice to meet you yesterday, BTW. Hope to see you at the next Unity.
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Dom L
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If you go to "Network Connections" in the Control Panel, you can right-click on your Local Area Connection wireless connection and click "Properties." You'll get a window that says "Connect using:" that has your network card. Under the "This connection uses the following items:" find "Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)" and click Properties. Instead of "Obtain DNS Server address automatically," change it to "Use the following DNS server addresses" and fill in 4.2.2.1 for your "Preferred DNS Server." Click OK. If "Show icon in notification area when connected" isn't checked, check it. Click OK. Find the connection icon in your taskbar, right click on it and select "repair." Then play the waiting game (go about your business as usual browsing). If your problem doesn't recur, it's DNS. If it does, it isn't.

Edit: Oh hell, wireless.
 
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Scott Alden
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Are you using a linksys wireless router? Those things are a hunk of junk. When I used one for a bit - I would experience the same issues you are. Try upgrading the firmware... that may fix things.


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Josh
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Dom, I'll try your suggestion and report back.

Aldie, I have an ancient (5yrs?) Dell TruMobile router. Maybe against a router problem is the fact that my wife uses her own laptop off of it and never has problems, and I've used both the router and my laptop for 18 months until problems emerged about a month ago. But maybe I need a new router for no other reason than age. I'll see if there are any firmware updates (had to look up the definition of firmware blush ).
 
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Hopefully becoming a restaurant owner soon! Peter Melanson
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Might be a silly question but did you perchance happen to purchase a new telephone? Or maybe a neightbor? Cordless, in the 2ghz range? If so that as well may be the root of your problem.

You may need to play with the wireless channel settings in your router.

Then again if the wife's is working fine, that might toss my theory out the window... hmmm

What happens if you connect via an ethernet cable? Would it be possible to try that and see if the problem persists? If it does, then we know it's not wireless or the router and we can go from there.
 
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Josh
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Hobbespm wrote:
What happens if you connect via an ethernet cable? Would it be possible to try that and see if the problem persists? If it does, then we know it's not wireless or the router and we can go from there.


No new phones that I know of.

I shoulda thought of that (i.e. connect directly to the cable modem). Great idea. I'll try tonight. I'm no longer on my laptop, but I haven't seen what (if any) changes Dom's idea has caused. Don't want to change too many variables at the same time.
 
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Hopefully becoming a restaurant owner soon! Peter Melanson
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JoshBot wrote:
Hobbespm wrote:
What happens if you connect via an ethernet cable? Would it be possible to try that and see if the problem persists? If it does, then we know it's not wireless or the router and we can go from there.


No new phones that I know of.

I shoulda thought of that (i.e. connect directly to the cable modem). Great idea. I'll try tonight. I'm no longer on my laptop, but I haven't seen what (if any) changes Dom's idea has caused. Don't want to change too many variables at the same time.


Sometimes the simplest things escape us when we're fustrated with a problem. Deal with support every day and some of the things I've seen... could write a book...

Hopefully I see the answer before heading to work tomorrow. And if the power holds out. Extended period of freezing rain. Oh joy.
 
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Josh
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Again, thanks for all the suggestions everyone. Changing the DNS didn't pan out. At first I thought it was working because I got a good smooth stretch there, but the problem is back. Although I probably won't be able to do it for a few days, I'll try connecting to my cable modem directly. I have this strong suspicion that the problem occurs when opening a new browser window to pages that are graphics-heavy (and thus is a software problem(?)). Maybe I'll disable graphics (sigh). It'll be like 1993 all over again...
 
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Josh
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OK, bypassing the router made everything perfect. If it's a router problem, I have no idea why 1)My wife's laptop works without a hitch, and 2)Why the problem would start glitching embedded images while leaving everything else temporarily OK. It's beyond my skills to guess. I'll pick up new router sometime soon. Again, I appreciate the help.
 
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Hopefully becoming a restaurant owner soon! Peter Melanson
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before getting a new router do a couple of things:

Reset the router back to factory, most routers have a small reset button on them that you have to hold down for 30-45 seconds to clear all the data out of them. Most will have you have to unplug the router, hold in that button, then plug it back in and hold the button for 30-45 seconds. Do that and reconfigure it.

Also see if there is a new firmware update. You'd be surprised that an issue like yours gets found and they put out a fix.

If those work and they save you some $$, that's a new board game!

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Josh
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Just to make things more embarrassing, I'd merely assumed that my wife's connection was fine because she hadn't said anything. I asked her, and she was having the same problems. Also, I connected to one of the unsecured wireless networks floating around the neighborhood, and the surfing was fine, so that localizes the problem to the router.

Looks like Aldie called the problem first, but it was Peter who got me to actually check the router. Peter, I'll take your very wise suggestion to try a router reset.
 
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Josh
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So, I reset the router, and now it's completely crapped out. Even when connecting to the router with a LAN wire it won't allow me to get to the Internet. After several hours of screwing around with it, it's obviously time for a new router for me. Oh well, five years for a router that I got for free isn't bad.
 
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Josh
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OK, for those playing along at home, the new router is working beautifully. It's funny that tech crashes are often blessing in disguise. I now connect at 4 or 5 times my prior speed. I get better security. Like every other time I've held on to decaying tech, I'm now asking myself "why?". Thanks again to all those who offered help. Your kindness is a sign of good character.
 
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