A Connectivity and Search Problem - I think

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A Connectivity and Search Problem - I think
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richard37066
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February 24, 2009 - 11:39 am
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OS is Vista Home Premium. Browser is IE7.

Back again with a different problem(s) this time , folks.

Searching is problematic. When attempting to access sites that I regularly visit, it takes forever for the page to load. Often it will only load part of the page. In addition, a Google information box will appear with the message: "Oops! This link appears to be broken!". A refresh or retry will often give the desired results. Happens quite frequently on a "redirect".

Have done a System Restore dating back two weeks. No help. System still freezes up before the Google box or the infamous "Internet Explorer Cannot Display ....."dialogue appears. Most frustrating since this anomaly is happening with increasing frequency. Any and all help will be greatly appreciated.

Some of you will remember that I have HughesNet satellite internet service whose speed varies from dial-up to halfway decent. Have checked the speed many times. Doesn't seem to be a factor.

Please bail me out once again, folks.

Respectfully,

Richard

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Jim Hillier
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February 24, 2009 - 5:17 pm
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Hi Richard - It's nice to hear from you...even if it does mean problems with your computer.
The sort of problems you are experiencing are most likely caused by an add-on.....the best way to determine that is to run Internet Explorer in 'No Add-on' mode: Go to 'Start/All programs/Accessories/System Tools'. In the System Tools menu you will see 'Internet Explorer (No Add-ons)', select that option. Now when you run IE all add-ons will be disabled, if the problem persists we shall have to look elsewhere but if the problem goes away then we have established that at least one of your add-ons is the culprit. The next step would be to identify exactly which one/s....before we go into that, please try the above and report back whether or not the problem went away, we can proceed from there.

cheers mate.....JIM

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richard37066
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February 24, 2009 - 11:31 pm
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A hearty "hey" to ya, Jim!

IE is running without add-ons. Same set of problems - no difference. Thanks for the reply.

Respectfully

Richard

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Jim Hillier
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February 25, 2009 - 3:19 am
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Hey Richard - Well, that really only leaves 2 possibilities I can think of......unless someone else jumps in here with more ideas. The first is that the service through your ISP (HughesNet) is running very slowly and that is causing a break down in communications, so to speak. If you are certain HughesNet is not to blame then that leaves the dreaded 'malware' as the most likely suspect. Can you please advise of your security setup, which programs you have installed for protection against infections and when you last ran a full/thorough scan through them.

If you don't already have 'Malwarebytes Anti-Malware' installed, I suggest you download and install same...it is regarded as about the best at identifying and removing malware. The scanner/remover part of MBAM is completely free....just install, update definition data base and run it through a full/thorough scan. See what is finds/removes and whether or not that fixes the problem. A further option would be 'SuperAntiSpyware' which is also highly regarded...once again the scanner/remover part is free. Download and install SAS and see if it identifies/removes anything and if that fixes the problem.

I know that sounds like a lot of bother but really mate, malware infections are the prime cause of unexplained internet slow-down and intermittent connection...that possibility has to be eliminated.

MBAM can be downloaded from here: http://www.download.com/Malwarebytes-An ... tag=button

SAS from here: http://www.superantispyware.com/superan ... vspro.html
Click on the blue button at the bottom of the page to download the free version.

Please let us know how you get on,
cheers Richard....JIM

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richard37066
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February 25, 2009 - 1:39 pm
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Jimbeaux, my Mate!!!!!! Here's a tale of unimaginable (for me) success!

Since I trust your judgement - and per your suggestion - I downloaded Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware. Hoping to be on the safe side, I selected the "full scan". It took about an hour and ten minutes to complete - BUT IT WAS WORTH IT! It detected 22 infected objects - most of which occurred during the first several minutes. With a little trepidation I instructed it to get rid of the boogers! Spent about ten minutes on the 'net doing my usual things and the difference was staggering! Speed? Like I've not known in a couple of months. Then again, and all things being relative, the speed I saw didn't approach that which you folks who have download speeds of 999Gbps usually experience - but, for me, it was like night and day. My "recalcitrant" "back button" actually works most of the time! A couple of niggling items can mostly be attributed to the Hughes ISP that I'm locked into.

Now, Jim, you know me to be a relative novice at these things so I must ask a couple of plebian questions. Can you give me a succinct explanation of "malware"? I also noticed that there was an opportunity for me to purchase the software. What will it do for this system which seems to sporadically have a mind of its' own and drunkenly veers off on unexplained tangents every once and awhile?

By the way, I have the virus protection provided by Vista and also McAfee.

I cannot thank you enough for steering me in a direction which has apparently cured most of the maladies I've experienced lately. What a joy it is to click the mouse and actually have something happen immediately!

Once again, my friend, my most heartfelt thanks.

Respectfully,

Richard

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Nightowl78
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February 25, 2009 - 4:37 pm
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Hi Richard:

In your post you made the statement: "By the way, I have the virus protection provided by Vista and also McAfee."

I'm not sure what "virus protection" you are referring to. To my knowledge Vista does not have a virus program, however, it does provide a "firewall". If that is what you are referring to that is fine. FYI, you should not run two(2) anti-virus programs at the same time, as they tend not to play well together because they think each other is a problem.

McAfee is fine as long as it is the only virus program you are running. Hope this helps.

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Jim Hillier
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February 25, 2009 - 7:27 pm
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Richard, me ol' mate...what can I say, cept.....Well done Sir!!!!!!

'Malware' is a pormanteau of the two words [b:13u1bl0a]mal[/b:13u1bl0a]icious and sof[b:13u1bl0a]tware[/b:13u1bl0a] and is a general term encompassing all the known types of infections; rootkits, trojans, worms, spyware, adware and, of course, viruses. At the outset, viruses were the main source of infection and were purely destructive, often rendering the host machine unusable. Then the smarties realised that they could hack machines for purposes other than vandalism. They could advertise products, spy on your activities, glean private/personal details and more....so new forms of malicious software began to appear and they rapidly expanded. These days it is generally accepted that the threat from destructive viruses has diminished while the risk of infections from the more intrusive malware has expanded exponentially. Most of the 'name' anti virus applications are now concentrating more and more on preventing spyware, rootkits, etc.

The virus protection you mention as "provided by Vista" would be Windows Defender which is in fact an anti [i:13u1bl0a]spyware[/i:13u1bl0a] program. There are better commercial anti spyware programs available but Defender compares favourably with other freeware offerings....it is the one I use!!
McAfee is providing you with very good protection from viruses and some spyware too....between the two, you are pretty well covered. So how does your machine get infected then?? Well, unfortunately, no one program can protect you from all malware variants....one may excel in certain areas, while another may offer superior protection in a different arena. Why then don't we install and use many different types of preventative software? There are two main reasons; 1) Different anti virus applications have a distinct tendency to conflict with one another and cause system errors/problems. Having more than one anti virus program installed may well [i:13u1bl0a]decrease[/i:13u1bl0a] the level of protection. 2) All programs employing 'real time protection' use valuable system resources (memory). Having too many installed can slow down the computer considerably. The answer is to find a happy medium.....unfortunately, this will almost always let some malware through and that is where applications such as MBAM come in very handy.

One of the main causes of infection is 'user habits' and one of the best methods of prevention is the adoption of a 'safe surfing' policy; be careful which sites you visit (something which I know you already do), don't be a 'compulsive clicker'...read the information carefully and make sure any link or banner you click on is the right one (the one you are after). There are a number of browser add-ons available which offer ratings and advice for both search results and sites visited...McAfee Site Adviser is one the best (it's the one I use) and is a very useful and lite addition to the arsenal.

At this stage mate, I would not advise you to buy the commercial version of MBAM, just retain the free version as a back-up to your other protection, i.e. keep it on your machine and perform a scan say, once a month.

Some will say to install a free firewall as extra protection but I am of the opinion they often cause more problems than they are worth and definitely can slow a machine down considerably. One 'extra' product I can recommend is 'Threatfire' which adopts a different approach to protection than most and consequently works nicely (does not create conflicts) with traditional anti virus programs.

On both my machines at home I use; Avast (free) Anti Virus, Windows Defender, Threatfire and McAfee Site Advisor.

[b:13u1bl0a]Links for download:[/b:13u1bl0a]
Threatfire: http://www.threatfire.com/
MacAfee Site Adviser: http://www.siteadvisor.com/dow.....ad/ie.html

cheers mate.....JIM

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richard37066
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February 25, 2009 - 8:59 pm
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My most heartfelt thanks Jim and Nightowl. Life on the 'net is much easier now even though the problems I outlined in my original post will occasionally rear their ugly heads. Perhaps the most telling aspect of this experience is that I don't sit down at my PC with a deeply furrowed brow. I'm at least half a happy camper now.

Once again - many, many thanks - this old goat truly 'preciates it.

Respectfully,

Richard

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