My web browser stops working after a while until reboot but internet connection is still alive
June 1, 2005 3:54 PM   Subscribe

I have Windows XP Pro with BrightHouse Cable connected to Belkins Pre-n router. I always have my computer on 24hours a day. I constantly download files from p2p type website. The problem is after I get home, my Internet Explorer seems to Not find or disconnect until I reboot.

I remember seeing some sort of remedy for this but could not find it.

The funny thing is my download still works fine. I can actually see my downloading files getting larger. No other problems except my web browser will not work.

This seems to happen when I am inactive with web browser for long time. I do have zonealarm but it says i am connected. My LAN status says I am connected. but I can not surf the web until i reboot.

my cable company says it is probably the spliter from cable out put... but as i said before, other downloading program works with out a hitch.

Also my new Dell desktop, a fresh xp install no tweaks.. which is connected to the same router works find even after running a week. I can surf the net without problem. I am thinking it must be some kind of setting that i caused in my xp... can anyone help. I hate to keep rebooting my computer after i get home. I usually loose my download lists and other things.
posted by curiousleo to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Very interesting. I would like to know the answer to this, too.

When I get home from any extended absence, I can't seem to find my home page or any other until I've made a few attempts. I've got every protection and tracking software I can think to get, and yet had worried about hijacking thinking that maybe someone else was using my connection.

Curious to see what you get for answers.
posted by dreamsign at 5:29 PM on June 1, 2005

Huh. I seem to have a very similar problem but I connect to the net via a wireless connection. If I let my computer sit downloading a file for long periods of time I also cannot connect until I reboot. (And my wireless connection says that it is still connected.) I also use XP and was thinking this was just a quirk in my wireless card. I guess not... What's the deal?
posted by ebeeb at 6:48 PM on June 1, 2005

What P2P client are you running? Some of these Windows P2P applications are especially bad about leaking sockets when left running for extended periods of time, and the Windows TCP/IP stack is pretty fragile as it is without poorly behaving applications.

You say Internet Explorer doesn't work on that system in these circumstances. That's a very narrow piece of information. Do other (non-IE based) browsers on the system work? An email client? IM software? Ping? Telnet?

If nothing else works at all, it's a pretty fair indication that your P2P client sucks.
posted by majick at 7:17 PM on June 1, 2005

I would check your computer for ad/spyware. I've seen IE stop responding after about 10 minutes because of ad/spyware programs trying to pop-up ads. (Happened to my sister's computer. After about 10 minutes IE would literally crash).

There are a variety of programs out there, I would recommend AdAware ( and SpyBot Search & Destroy ( After running both programs a few times to clean out all of the junk, my sister's computer runs just fine.

If you decide to download either program, make sure to update it after you run it. Both programs have pretty big "Check for Updates" buttons.
posted by yasny_jp at 11:40 PM on June 1, 2005

I have a related problem with XP. Every reboot (almost!) requires me to re-run the Network Setup Wizard before my computer will connect with the router. It didn't always do this, and I don't know of anything I did that would have this effect. Its not a wireless connection.
posted by Goofyy at 12:35 AM on June 2, 2005

I have seen this, and I think (but don't have proof) that this is due to your *upload* bandwidth being maxed out by downloaders from you (assuming you're configured to share out files, too--BitTorrent forces this). If this is the case, the initial HTTP GET is not able to get out because of the torrent (Ha! I kill me!) of other traffic. Come to think of it, you'd first have problems getting the DNS request out, too.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 12:40 AM on June 2, 2005

Yeah, I'd check a) spyware and b) upload limits. That's my first suggestion.

What with running XP 24/7 over broadband and downloading P2P and using IE, you're kind of setting yourself up for problems. I auto-sleep my system after 2 hours to save power; that will also limit other people's ability to connect to your system (as long as "wake on LAN" is disabled). When downloading this is an issue - if your system doesn't see downloading as activity it will stop in the middle. With a torrent this is mildly annoying but OK, I just resume when the system wakes up again.

I disabled access to IE using the system preferences menu and run Firefox exclusively (use ieview extension or run "iexplore" from run menu if you really need to open IE for something). That eliminates about 95% of your spyware issues once the system is clean. Auto-patching security holes helps too.

As far as constantly downloading goes, the network you use and the files you download will affect your system as well. Some networks (KaZaa and clones, for example) and some types of downloads (ie, software & cracks, etc.) are much more prone to also include viruses and malware. Run Ad-Aware and Spybot regularly, and keep the Microsoft AntiSpyware in the background. It really does seem to do a pretty good job. If you don't have a solid antivirus program you really should drop the $20 for a real copy.

And of course the obligatory warning: Constantly downloading certain things via P2P makes you a more noticable target for prosecution than if you do it once in a while. Give your system a rest now and then. Listen to the music / play the game / watch the movie that you have for a while, and then think about picking up something new.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:24 AM on June 2, 2005

hmm. It seems like this is a problem for others too.
I do have adaware and ssd. But didn't help.
I don't think it is upload bandwidth problem either, because the fresh new Dell computer I got, did not have this problem while doing the similar download.

I do notice one time the connection became alive when I went to Tools-->options-->connection---->LAN Setting and let computer Detect Proxy again. But it didn't always work. Trying to REPAIR connection never worked either since it was never broken for other downloads other than Internet Explorer.

I do suspect some type of Firewall time out problem... maybe.. (Zone Alarm or Windows Firewall) I don't know.

If anyone has some sort of other suggestion. please help
posted by curiousleo at 6:27 AM on June 2, 2005

I have a (related?) problem. After downloading for several hours, I am able to surf fine, but I am *not* able to upload text. (I can't, say, leave a comment on MetaFilter or fill out a form online and submit it). It's like the traffic never gets out - I get a "page cannot be displayed" error eventually. If I power-cycle the modem (which interrupts the torrent of data) the problem goes away for another couple of hours.

Here's the weird part. I'm using NetLimiter to limit my upload speeds to 10k. My DSL connection is capable of much more than that - I know because if I uncap the upload traffic, it can go much higher on a consistent basis. And also, I am able to get web pages, so my upload bandwidth isn't totally saturated.

Anyone know what's going on?

(Oh, and I don't use IE, and I regularly run both Spybot and Ad-aware. My only firewall is in my dsl router).
posted by gd779 at 11:50 AM on June 2, 2005

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