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Old 03-28-2005, 10:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
Insane
 
Redirection problem

This has been bugging me for about a month or so. Whenever I click on one of the google Sponsored Links or when I go to shopping.com, find a product and click Buy it!, I get the page cannot be displayed error. Everything else seems to be fine. Tried using firefox and ie and the results are the same.

Here are my specs:

Behind a router (with DMZ set for this computer) and a software firewall (McAfee).

Running Windows XP SP2 (don't remember if the problem occurred before or after installing sp2).

Messed with settings (a lot): custom set services, security level for ie, other ie settings, also used TuneUp Utilities to set up other system settings.

No spyware/adware/viruses/trojans


I tried this on another computer on the network, running Windows 98 SE, and I was successfully redirected, so I figured it would not be the router problem or a problem with the site blocking my IP address.

That looks like just about all the relative info that I could give. Any suggestions what so ever are welcome. Thank you.

EDIT: I just noticed that not all google Sponsored links are giving me a Page Cannot be Displayed error. if I google for "ram", two sponsored links appear at the top of the page. The top one (www.ArchMemory.com) does not work, but the bottom one (www.4allmemory.com) does, so maybe it's not my computer's problem. The shopping.com problem is though.

Last edited by vinaur; 03-28-2005 at 10:37 AM..
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Old 03-28-2005, 10:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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i am not sure but if i remember correctly, having your DMZ on is bad news. your basically opening your computer up to potentional harm. i would turn it off and do some IP forwarding instead and/or just open the ports for software you are using. You may want to ask around but im pretty sure having DMZ on is bad. Probably not related to your problem though.
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Old 03-29-2005, 03:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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why is your computer in the dmz? do you have it hosting ftp/http requests?
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Old 03-29-2005, 03:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I've gotta say it sounds like you're talking about a DNS problem more than it would be a firewall/router problem. You might want to compare the two computers DNS settings and see if they're different, try manually pinging the addresses and see if they correlate and if you're running Win2K or WinXP try the command ipconfig /flushdns from a command window to clear the DNS cache on your computer.
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Old 03-29-2005, 04:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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One or more of your antivirus/firewall/ad-filtering programs may be preventing access to those commercial sites. Links in shopping directories and search engine ads are often associated with companies or datacenters that practice offensive marketing: popups, spam, etc. The result is that they often find their way onto block lists used by filtering systems.

The problem is likely a feature you need to disable. What protection software are you using besides McAfee?

I'd tell you to turn off all your firewalls & filters and try the problem links but that DMZ means McAfee is your last line of defense. How about using specific port forwarding and lose the DMZ like the other guys suggested?

If nothing else I'd be compiling a list of the links that aren't working. Then try various protocols to those locations and log the results.
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Old 03-29-2005, 08:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
Insane
 
Thanks for responding everyone. The reason why I have DMZ set is because I'm way too lazy to do port forwarding for every app that needs it. I feel confident that McAfee can protect my computer well enough. I wouldn't mind doing some port forwarding for a system that has a constant set of apps, but I do so much installing and uninstalling of different software, that it would really be a hassle to configure port forwarding every time.

I'll try doing all the stuff that you suggested. I reformatted one of my hds, installed windows on it, and am in the process of configuring it right now, so I hope I'll figure out the problem very soon.
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Old 03-30-2005, 06:40 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I wouldn't feel comfortable with McAfee protecting me from a slight breeze.
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Old 04-01-2005, 10:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
Insane
 
Tried ipconfig /flushdns, but it didn't work. Still working on reconstructing the same error on the other hard drive, but so far can't find the setting. One thing to note - I tried using anonymizer and the page redirected with no problem. BTW, don't remmeber if I mentioned this before, but the error that it's givving me it is "Cannot find server or DNS Error". Any more ideas???
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Old 04-01-2005, 10:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Still need to know what other net "protection" products you're using.

Are you trying to duplicate the error with a fresh install or trying to stop the error with the old install? Both? Try to limit the number of things you're fighting. If nothing else it'll simplify what you have to explain to us.
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Old 04-02-2005, 05:06 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Besides McAfee I'm not using anything "active". Nothing that runs all the time scanning files or anything. I have adaware SE pro, SpyBot S&D, MS Anti-spyware beta, Hijackthis, WinPatrol, and TuneUp utilities installed and run them frequently, but none of them start up automatically or run all the time. Only McAfee does.

I look through all the settings that I have ever messed with on the computer with the problem and couldn't find anything that would fix the problem, so now I'm sort of trying to recreate the error on a fresh install on the other hard drive (unsuccessfully so far though).

I was thinking of transferring all the settings from the fresh install onto this hd and maybe that will fix the problem. Would File and Setting Transfer Wizard mess with any of the program settings?? I wouldn't think so, asking just in case.

Well, I guess that's about it for now, tell me if you need even more info.
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Old 04-03-2005, 04:36 AM   #11 (permalink)
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As liquid said earlier, check your DNS settings vs. the system that works.

Any chance you've customized your hosts file? (\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts)

Are you logging the sites that don't work? If you remember a couple, try opening up a cmd window and doing an nslookup on them. Resolve?

Unless you prefer sacrificial remedies I'd pause on the reinstall. Troubleshoot a couple destinations that aren't working. Reinstalling will fix any local settings problem, at least temporarily, but if it comes back it'll be the same mystery. It doesn't sound like you have much trouble duplicating the problem on the old system, so keep it up.
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Old 04-03-2005, 09:48 AM   #12 (permalink)
Insane
 
BINGO!!!! I haven't edited the hosts file myself, but obviously some program did. Found stat.dealtime.com in there, deleted it and it works now. Is it safe (or suggested) to delete all the entries in the hosts file??
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Old 04-03-2005, 11:17 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Blowing away everything in hosts won't hurt the average system using DNS servers. You may notice an unpleasant increase in junk marketing.

At this point you found the weapon but not the culprit. The original hosts file only includes comments and one entry for localhost:

Code:
# Copyright (c) 1993-1999 Microsoft Corp.
#
# This is a sample HOSTS file used by Microsoft TCP/IP for Windows.
#
# This file contains the mappings of IP addresses to host names. Each
# entry should be kept on an individual line. The IP address should
# be placed in the first column followed by the corresponding host name.
# The IP address and the host name should be separated by at least one
# space.
#
# Additionally, comments (such as these) may be inserted on individual
# lines or following the machine name denoted by a '#' symbol.
#
# For example:
#
#      102.54.94.97     rhino.acme.com          # source server
#       38.25.63.10     x.acme.com              # x client host

127.0.0.1       localhost
At some point you ran software that added the other host file entries, probably in an attempt to protect you from marketing or malware. That software is probably still around. So, clean up the file. Have a ball. Just remember the file, and try to think of what you may have installed that would modify it. If the software was nice then it may have left a clue about its identity up in the comment section. Compare with what I pasted above.
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Old 04-03-2005, 11:30 AM   #14 (permalink)
Insane
 
It didn't leave clues, but I think I know what it was. I'm using Resplendent Registrar for registry editing (very nice and convenient software with lots of features, one too many) and when I first launched it, I remember it saying that it was applying some tweaks or something, so I think it might have added all this stuff in there. Thanks a lot cyrnel.
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