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Author Topic: Where's my TCP/IP?  (Read 3338 times)
Lashiec
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« on: July 08, 2008, 10:04:51 AM »

During the past days, I've been having connection problems, suddenly the pages are inaccessible, IM is disconnected, and file transfers drop to 0. I swear these problems use a timetable, because during the afternoon, everything is rock solid, but at night or in the mornings, it's a nightmare. I have to punch my ISP, but first I want to fix this particular problem, and see if it's connected somehow.

The thing is that the other day, while I suffered one of the first disconnections, I went to see the status of the connection, and I encountered this:


I went like crazy, because clearly something was not right there. First, the entry for the TCP/IP protocol is nowhere to be found; second, the dialog is not showing which Ethernet port is providing the connection; third, I can't uncheck any of the entries (and I unchecked the first two when I installed Windows). I thought it was because of the disconnection, but no, it stays the same when things go back to normal. Clearly, there is a connection, otherwise I could not be posting this, and everything is working as usual.

I tried to install the protocol, but I get an error box: "Can't find the file". What file? There is no prompt to search for one, and putting the installation CD in the drive does not get me anywhere. I tried to configure the hardware from that dialog as well, but I can't solve anything like that. I searched Google, and there lots of results, but no solution, since everyone recommends what I've already tried (including resetting the TCP/IP protocol per this Microsoft article), and the people with these problems can't solve them after applying the fixes as well.

I can't remember the last time that dialog showed what it should, but I did not see anything wrong in the computer that might suggest something is at work (no viruses, trojans or anything similar). I wonder if maybe I broke something in the registry, or some tweak or change in the system caused this. Any ideas?
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2008, 11:24:43 AM »

Try uninstalling all network adapters in device manager and remove any connections from the Network Connections folder and then reinstall the network adapters again with known good versions of drivers (don't just reinstall what is in the Windows folder) and allow the system to rebuild the Network Connections.

You could also try removing all the network components in Add/Remove Programs > Windows Components and then reloading them from the installation disc.

If that doesn't work try creating a new user account in case it is your user profile that is screwed up.

My initial reaction to that screen was have you got a virus or some other malware taking over network traffic in some nefarious way?
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lanux128
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« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2008, 01:01:36 AM »

i'm not sure how serious is your problem but if the disruptions are persistent, then try this: LSP-Fix.

Quote from: website
Repairs Winsock 2 settings, caused by buggy or improperly-removed Internet software, that result in loss of Internet access

LSP-Fix is a free Windows utility to repair a loss of Internet access associated with certain types of software. This type of software, known as a Layered Service Provider or LSP, typically handles low-level Internet-related tasks, and data is passed through a chain of these programs on its way to and from the Internet. However, due to bugs in the LSP software or deletion of the software, this chain can get broken, causing the Internet connection to become inaccessible.

http://www.cexx.org/lspfix.htm
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Josh
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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2008, 04:57:44 AM »

or, from the dos command line, try typing "netsh winsock reset catalog" then restart
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f0dder
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[Well, THAT escalated quickly!]

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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2008, 07:00:15 AM »

or, from the dos command line, try typing "netsh winsock reset catalog" then restart
There's no DOS in the NT-based windows versions. "Shell", "Command Prompt", "cmd.exe", "Console Window"... but please, no "DOS". I know, I'm anal about this, and I don't even really know why - it just bothers me endlessly smiley
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- carpe noctem
Josh
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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2008, 07:12:13 AM »

potato potato
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wr975
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« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2008, 07:48:12 AM »

I'd also say possible malware infection...

Did you try another network card / cable?

If it's a registry/Windows issue, this tool could help: http://wiki.lunarsoft.net/wiki/Dial-a-fix.
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f0dder
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[Well, THAT escalated quickly!]

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« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2008, 07:52:46 AM »

potato potato
Not really, no - to make the distinction clearer, what do you think a linux user would say if you asked him to open a DOS prompt? Wink (and yes, the scenarios are comparable).
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- carpe noctem
40hz
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« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2008, 09:45:11 AM »

potato potato
Not really, no - to make the distinction clearer, what do you think a linux user would say if you asked him to open a DOS prompt? Wink (and yes, the scenarios are comparable).

I'd smile and say "OK." Then I'd open up a bash terminal session.  Wink
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Don't you see? It's turtles all the way down!
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« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2008, 10:09:51 AM »

Speaking from the darker side of practical...the last think any EvilWare want's to do is cut itself off from the outside world.

WinSOCK & friends being borked won't stop TCP/IP from being listed, it just renders it useless.

I'm inclined to think this is a hardware malfunction, as in the NIC is half dead and either doesn't claim to need TCP/IP any more or has Phantom Deviced itself and the protol is being bound uselessly to it's "shadow" (I've seen both happen).

Use this to start Device Manager, make sure show hidden devices is selected, and see if the NIC is listed twice.
@echo off
Echo Find Phantom Devices
set DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES=1
start devmgmt.msc
exit

...Granted this was more of a Win2k (era) issue, but that doesn't mean it can't still happen.
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Lashiec
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« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2008, 06:38:14 PM »

Well, the issue is sorta fixed, I'll explain myself :D

So, I did what Carol suggested, rebooted, and when I came back in, Windows tried to install the drivers. I could not stop it, but the OS threw an error box telling me they could not be installed. Fine, I disabled the ports again, Windows threw another error, it needed a reboot to disable the Ethernet ports. Rebooted, and the same situation repeated. Then I opted for reinstalling the drivers directly from the CD, with the result of the error I mentioned above, Windows could not find a certain file. OK, I said to myself, I shall delete it altogether. Uninstalled the nForce package, rebooted, and... a black screen.

Windows loaded, but nothing appeared in the screen, I could see and hear the drives loading the system, but nothing was shown. It was very weird, because I saw all the booting process with my eyes. OK, let's try with safe mode. It reached the logon screen, and when I grabbed the mouse, shivers went down my spine. The cursor didn't move. I tried with the keyboard. Nothing. I checked the batteries, and they were charged.

So I grabbed the nearest Linux Live CD, copied all data to the secondary drive, and formatted. Everything is fine now, no "scheduled" hiccups, and the TCP/IP protocol is where it should be. What's more, everything seems to run smoother now, I don't know if it's because of SP3 (which I didn't install before), the lack of all the cruft of more than 150 individual updates, or that something was really broken, either by my hand, software misbehavior or malware action.

I think it's difficult the TCP/IP absence was caused by malware, because I did not saw anything with the analysis tools, and all scanners did not detect a single thing as well (apart from tracking cookies). Maybe I caught something new, and borked everything, which could be the case, as the other day I found myself without administrator rights (solved by a reboot).

Funny enough, in other of the forums I hang around, people were complaining about this same problem, in this caused by the action of Microsoft updates, which was not my case (as I did apply that particular update after everything went berserk). Most probably something was wrong with the LSP, as lanux suggest, so I'll bookmark the thread for future reference. Thanks guys :)

EDIT: Rephrasing, typos, etc.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2008, 09:06:04 PM by Lashiec » Logged
Carol Haynes
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« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2008, 08:39:29 PM »

Bummer ... but I suppose at least you have a system that is working and running smoothly. Have you managed to retain all your useful data?

Uninstalling a netwiork device really shouldn't have that effect - something seriously screwy was going on. If it wasn't malware I wonder if you had a corrupted registry. If you remember a while back I had a problem with my system constantly rebooting - swapping motherboards, memory and CPU failed to fix the problem - I reinstalled and all was OK again I can only conclude there was a registry or driver corruption. Sounds like you got hammered by the same thing.

I sometimes wonder if this sort of thing happens when a drive block goes bad in a critical area of the disc. Windows is really crap at reporting that sort of thing (I have never understood why MS can't put a disc error message up when a disc block becomes dodgy - and sometimes not even CHKDSK picks up the problems.

Anyway you have had a bad experience but hopefully you can relax again now!
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Lashiec
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« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2008, 08:58:00 PM »

Bummer ... but I suppose at least you have a system that is working and running smoothly. Have you managed to retain all your useful data?

Yep, I copied all the important data, so everything it's there, and an extra 99% of files I don't need, since I did not even bother to make selective copies.

Quote
Uninstalling a netwiork device really shouldn't have that effect - something seriously screwy was going on. If it wasn't malware I wonder if you had a corrupted registry. If you remember a while back I had a problem with my system constantly rebooting - swapping motherboards, memory and CPU failed to fix the problem - I reinstalled and all was OK again I can only conclude there was a registry or driver corruption. Sounds like you got hammered by the same thing.

Mmmm, that could be a cause yeah, it would explain many of the problems. In theory, the registry was all right, or at least things like PageDefrag compacted it without problems, but in my infinite wisdom I once used jv16 PowerTools to do that job, and God knows despite using the Windows APIs, Macecraft Software is able to screw things up, and without giving a proper explanation or fix.

Quote
Anyway you have had a bad experience but hopefully you can relax again now!

I hope I can do that after I finish installing and setting up things, time consuming, but you get this fuzzy feeling of a fresh system smiley
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