How to determine what is blocking iTunes from connecting to the Store?
May 12, 2017 12:26 PM   Subscribe

Ever since I updated iTunes for Windows to 12.6, it has been totally unable to connect to the iTunes store and other networked services from Apple like the Apple ID server. iTunes works fine for accessing local content, but every time it tries to connect to the store or the Apple ID server, it chunks along for about five minutes and then throws an error about being unable to connect; it also locks up completely for about five minutes every time iTunes starts.

Other devices on the same local network are unaffected, as are other Apple programs on the same computer such as iCloud (which I never actually use on this computer, and in fact installed specifically to see if it would be able to connect to Apple ID or not). iTunes behaves similarly from both my own Windows login account and a guest login I created to test this.

The computer is running Windows 7 64 bit, without aftermarket security, firewall or antivirus software installed - we're talking Microsoft Security Essentials and Windows Firewall. I have checked my hosts file, checked the inbound rules on my firewall, and got on the phone with Apple support, who basically had me check all of those things as well, and then uninstall and reinstall all of the Apple software on my computer, at which point the second-level support threw up their hands and said it was probably some kind of security program on my computer and not within their ability to solve.

What I'm most interested in are knowing what log files I should be looking in to determine what the culprit might be blocking connections this specifically.
posted by strangely stunted trees to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
I've been seeing weird problems with iTunes locking up for the past two days or so, just in case it's a trend. I have an earlier version than you (11 something), also on Windows 7 64-bit.
posted by amtho at 1:41 PM on May 12

If you open a command shell window, right after it tries to connect, type "netstat -no". The last column is PID, which you can use Task Manager to figure out what traffic is coming from iTunes. If it says "SYN SENT" for the traffic from iTunes, it is very likely an outgoing firewall that is blocking you.
posted by Candleman at 1:43 PM on May 12

Good call, Candleman. So, when I log "netstat -no" as iTunes is choking, none of the connections with the iTunes PID have a "SYN SENT" state: there are about half a dozen, all in an "ESTABLISHED" state, and for all of them, both the local and foreign addresses are a variety of ports on
posted by strangely stunted trees at 3:56 PM on May 12

The address is your local loopback address - it's iTunes talking to itself. If it's actually connecting out to the internet, it'll have something like the addresses in this example. So it sounds like something is blocking it from connecting to the internet at all. You might doublecheck the Windows Firewall settings, specifically making sure that the zone information permissions are set properly for the app. You can try turning on the Firewall logs (I'm not sure if this applies to all versions of Windows) to see if it's the culprit.

You can also look in the Windows application and error logs to see if there's anything in them that might shed light as to what's going on.
posted by Candleman at 10:25 PM on May 12

Thanks again. So, I wasn't able to find any smoking guns in the Firewall settings or error logs, but I upgraded to iTunes 12.6.1 today, and whatever was going, that fixed it. The root cause may be fated to forever remain a mystery.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 7:33 PM on May 18

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