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Sometimes we do funny things... and they just have to be blogged.
In my precious spare time this weekend I've been trying to help my Dad get his Internet connection working. He has an old PC (originally had Windows ME on it, so that gives you an idea) running Windows XP Home. Over the years he's had various Internet connection types - dial-ups, DSL, and various cable modems. He purchased a new cable modem on Friday, and the friendly Comcast support person attempted to help him get it set up; but they had no luck whatsoever getting the browser to connect. Comcast has an initial spoofed DNS trick they use to get you to the page where you can download the configuration application - but my Dad's machine wasn't able to get it, even though everything else about the connection looks fine. Naturally, the Comcast support person blamed Microsoft and IE 7 specifically. There was nothing more he could/would do.
So Dad called me. I came over and did some troubleshooting. It wasn't IE 7 (to prove it, I installed FireFox and got the same result). It appeared to be a DNS issue. No addresses were returning - even though I can ping the DNS servers that DHCP handed out. So I'm thinking the issue is more along the lines of a corrupt TCP/IP stack. So to his credit, the Comcast guy was right in the sense that the problem wasn't on their end. (and to verify that, I attempted the same connection from my laptop, and was successful).
Fortunately there is good documentation out there about how to reset the TCP/IP stack in Windows XP using the NETSH command.
"Hey Kevin.. let me interrupt you right here and just remind you that you were going to tell us something FUNNY. So far, this has been as funny as a trip to the Dentist."
Okay.. here's what I found.
Go to this KB article - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/299357
Notice that along with describing how to reset TCP/IP, it also gives you the option to use Guided Help. Cool! And if you don't have Guided Help, you can download it.
Wait-a-sec... Huh? I can download it? NO, I CAN'T! That's the problem!
And that's what I thought was funny.
Now... In defense of the KB writer, and the creators of the Guided Help tool.. they do give you a "for another computer" option that allows you to download the transportable and installable .exe onto a non-networked computer.
"So... did resetting the TCP/IP stack work?"
Unfortunately, no. I'm still working on it. I'll either have it fixed, or have XP reinstalled (worst case), by the end of the day today.