I can't get online
April 27, 2009 12:22 PM   Subscribe

Norton detected a virus (?), Downloader.MisleadApp, on my laptop. According to Norton, the problem has been "fixed." But ever since then, I cannot access the Internet. How do I get back online?

So, here is the story:

Some fishy computer activity made me think my laptop was infected. I ran Norton, which detected the Downloader.MisleadApp (which I think is some kind of generic term?). Norton says the security threat is "high" but doesn't seem to be able to resolve the issue. I download updates to Norton and run the scan again. I click "fix" on Norton and it seems to successfully take care of it. Ever since then I have not been able to access the Internet.

I have wireless internet, and according to my computer, the connection is excellent. I called my Internet Service Provider and they suggested that Norton caused the problem in resolving the virus issue by making my security settings extra high. They said I should "turn off" Norton and then turn it back on. I happily said "OK," thinking my Internet troubles were behind me and that birds would sing again. But after I hung up, I realized I didn't know what they meant by "turn off." Uninstall? I didn't do that, but I did turn off certain things for a few minutes. For instance, there is the option of turning spyware protection off. I tried that but still couldn't get online.

Argh. So, I'm frustrated and obviously naive about all this stuff and not sure what to do next. If it is relevant, I have a sony vaio and use Windows XP. What do I do now??
posted by ihavepromisestokeep to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
I think it's time to get your XP install disk and boot it to run a "repair" (NOT a reinstall).

If you didn't get an XP install disk, then your XP install will be in a special partition on your drive, and you'll have to play with the BIOS in order to get into it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:48 PM on April 27, 2009

Anytime I ever got a virus like that in my Windows days I would spend a lot of time trying to fix it but in the end it would always come down to a fresh install.
posted by GleepGlop at 1:39 PM on April 27, 2009

i have had good luck with winsock xp fix
posted by phil at 2:04 PM on April 27, 2009

There are lots of different places a network connection can go wrong! Here's a few things to try...

Start Menu > Run > "cmd" (without quotes). Then type "ipconfig" (w/o quotes) at the prompt and look for the part that says something like "Default Gateway . . .". The numbers and dots (IP address) may be different for your configuration, though.

Next, type "ping" (w/o quotes, use the IP address from your configuration). If you see "Reply from" this means that your network connection to the wireless router is up, and that the problem is somewhere else upstream.

In that case:

a) Power cycle your router
b) Reboot your computer
c) Access your wireless router's config page, make sure it's getting an IP from your ISP... exact instructions depend on router. Sometimes they have an "internet" light that indicates the same thing.

Good luck!
posted by lalas at 2:46 PM on April 27, 2009

Grab malwarebytes It's the current king of anti-spyware stuff.

Run that (full scan) see if it helps.
posted by defcom1 at 3:51 PM on April 27, 2009

I've found that Norton will do this if you're not current with your paid subscription or if you disable some of it's features. They really like you to use their products and will make you think you absolutely have to have them by disabling your internet.

I'd remove Norton (Remover Tool) and follow up with CCleaner for good measure, and then use a freeware option for your antivirus software.
posted by messylissa at 5:44 PM on April 27, 2009

Yeah. My first question, when presented with any kind of bizarre network behavior on a customer Windows box, is "Do you have, or have you ever had, Norton Antivirus installed on this computer?"

About 70% of the time, the answer is Yes. The remaining 30% would be split evenly between McAfee, Trend and problems unrelated to security software.

I will spare you my standard impassioned rant against NAV. Suffice it to say that the only Symantec installer I carry with me on my diagnostic USB stick is the Norton Removal Tool. Once you've removed NAV, make sure the inbuilt Windows XP firewall has turned itself back on before installing anything else.

In stark contrast to the Norton products, AVG 8.5 Free is a mostly useful antivirus and antispyware tool.

When you run the AVG installer, you will be offered the choice of Standard or Custom installation. Pick Custom, then turn off the checkmarks next to the Link Scanner/Security Toolbar and Email Scanner subcomponents. These are intrusive, annoying and unnecessary. All you really need is the Resident Shield and (if you have Microsoft Office installed) the optional Microsoft Office plugin.

Once AVG is installed and running, go to its Tools->Advanced menu and open up the Schedule item. Set the scheduled scan to occur every day at 4am (yes, in the wee small hours) and make sure that the option to run the scan at startup if the schedule is missed is turned off.

Since it's going to scan every file in the process of opening it in any case, doing a full machine scan regularly is not necessary, and certainly not worth the responsiveness it costs you if you're trying to do it while trying to get actual work done. If you want to do a scan anyway, you can either set one going by hand or just leave the computer on overnight.

Set the scheduled virus database and program updates (two separate items) to occur between 2am and 4am, and make sure they are also set to happen at startup if missed, and when an internet connection becomes available. That way, AVG will just keep itself up to date without you having to worry about it.
posted by flabdablet at 7:35 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

AVG is what I use too...much more useful than Norton, and free to boot.
posted by messylissa at 9:09 PM on April 27, 2009

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