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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Question XP apps lose Internet connection

    My system is running XP SP3 and connects to the internet via a 2Wire router/modem from AT&T. I am not using wireless mode.
    Last Sunday, June 26, 2011, I accepted all the Windows updates (I generally do this in the last week of each month.) Well, it failed when loading #17 of 19, but I allowed those three to load later in the week. Since Sunday my system seems to be unable to maintain an internet connection. Fails between 40 and 60 minutes, although earlier in the week it would last several hours at a time.
    With the help of a knowledgeable Linux-lover I have assembled this much of the story:

    • When the internet connection drops, email still comes and goes through Outlook with the exception of receiving email from my work's email server.
    • Rebooting the system restores internet connectivity. Closing and restarting Firefox will not restore connectivity.
    • I use Firefox (now 5.0, updated at same time) exclusively as the browser, but Chrome won't connect either when the connection fails.
    • I can ping my own IP address and can ping Google.com successfully during such outage.
    • The event logger shows lots of instances of e1kexpress error ID 33, which I understand is reconnecting to the ethernet.
    • I have tried System Restore to dates prior to the Sunday updates, but after rebooting it always says that it could not restore from that date and no changes have been made. I've tried different days, same result. System Restore is turned 'on' and the calendar does show which days the updates were downloaded.
    • I have tried to run System Restore from Safe mode, but I never get very far as the drivers load and scroll to a point and then freeze on the screen


    I am out of ideas and would appreciate any help in getting this issue fixed. I use the computer to work from home, frequently doing screen-shares with customers. Can't afford for this thing to require a reboot mid-session. Thank you for your assistance!

  2. #2
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    I suppose you have no system backup from before the updates? If not, it's something you should consider, going forward. Macrium Reflect is an option recommended by several users, even if I am a True Image 2010 user myself.

    One way to go back to where you were before the updates that seem to cause this, would be to have a look at your windows update history and uninstall each of them, one by one, checking to see if it each removal solves the problem. I would check if there were no drivers updates, especially network related drivers, in those updates. If there were, that's where I would start.

    Probably I would recommend a backup before starting all this. It's always good to have a known point to go back to if things go south.

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  4. #3
    New Lounger
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    Thanks ruirb.

    Until today I had a software called 'ReStore It' installed on the same drive. Thinking that it was interfering with the XP System Restore making an actual restoration, I uninstalled it today. Other knowledgeable computer people I've encountered thought it completely redundant since XP has System Restore built in. I guess they didn't suspect that the XP System Restore wouldn't actually work.

    I'll look into Acronis or Macrium Reflect to save a copy of this hosed system config before forcing all the updates off the table. Have been down a similar road before only to discover later that what I thought it had promised was not at all what it was able to deliver. Plus my internet upload speed is so slow it took all night to update a few files on the cloud.

    Anyway, having accomplished a rollback somehow...surely the uninstalled will just appear in the updates list again, leaving my system subject to this mess over and over again. Do I need to keep a list of all the uninstalled and uncheck them every time I accept updates in the future?

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Once you have restored your system to a useable state, make the Image Rui has suggested. (If something bad happens it takes less than 10 mins to restore using the Image) Don't shoot the messanger here! I would then install the updates 1 at a time to see if the problem reoccurs. If it does you have solved the problem of what caused your mess. If the problem reoccurs after one of the updates, note which one and uninstall only that one, then continue with the remainder of the updates again 1 at a time. Once all done, create an Up To Date Image!
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

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  7. #5
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    Hi,
    Well I think the first thing is to find out what is causing this - that's why I suggested removing updates one by one and checking the effect on the issue. Hopefully that will allow you to determine the update that caused this, if it was an update.

    I have my Windows update set to download updates but to let me choose whether to install them. This means I can select which updates get to be installed. I suggest that you change your settins to do this too. Once you do it, you will be able to select and update and hide it. This will mean that any identified updates can simply never be installed, or installed only when you want to.

    I don't use the cloud as the place to store my backups. An external drive is what I recommended as the primary backup means. An USB drive is rather cheap theses days, so buying one, connecting it and using it to save your regular image backups is what I would recommend. If you want to use the cloud, I would suggest that with your bandwidth limitations, you use it only to backup essential documents and files.

    I cannot recommend Acronis 2011. I have a license to it, which I do not use, because I found it slow and unreliable, when compared to 2010. I suggest you start with Macrium, the free version is good to create images and it's free.

    Finally, re-reading your post I see that you got your system to work as desired. I would now suggest a patient and slow update procedure - one update at a time, evaluate the result and if it's ok, proceed to the next. It's slow, but probably worth it... unless there were some driver updates and that's what got you in trouble. Were there any driver updates? I don't really like to allow Windows to update my drivers and many Loungers think likewise. It's always better to get your drivers from your hardware manufacturer.

    HTH

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  9. #6
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    Thank you Rui and Ted.
    Yes, discovering the culprit is preferred. The complete rollback is not yet accomplished. Some of the updates cannot be removed. Several warn that others will break if this one is removed. I have clicked 'repair' anywhere I saw it offered. Hope it did something. None of the descrips mentioned the word 'driver'.

    I did learn an additional clue overnight: I did not have Outlook open and it maintained an internet connection all night long! As soon as I get an external image of what I have, I will begin with removing the three Outlook updates.

    I have a portable drive I use for file backups. Hoping it has enough space on it to handle a system image. Thank you both for your advice. If I can determine which update was the culprit I'll post it here.

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    Hope everything goes well and you can restore your system to its normal behavior .

  11. #8
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    Have you thought about seeing whether using Internet Explorer solves the problem?

  12. #9
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    This Reply Won't Help, But You Have Company

    Quote Originally Posted by Tigerlily39 View Post
    Thank you Rui and Ted.
    Yes, discovering the culprit is preferred. The complete rollback is not yet accomplished. Some of the updates cannot be removed. Several warn that others will break if this one is removed. I have clicked 'repair' anywhere I saw it offered. Hope it did something. None of the descrips mentioned the word 'driver'.

    I did learn an additional clue overnight: I did not have Outlook open and it maintained an internet connection all night long! As soon as I get an external image of what I have, I will begin with removing the three Outlook updates.

    I have a portable drive I use for file backups. Hoping it has enough space on it to handle a system image. Thank you both for your advice. If I can determine which update was the culprit I'll post it here.
    I have the same problem with internet connectivity using a 2WIRE USB wireless adapter (Zydas1211 IEEE 802.11b+g). It happened to me precisely after a Microsoft Update about 8 weeks ago. I haven't been able to run it down. I made sure the latest Zydas driver was installed and noticed it has not been updated since 2006. I think this is probably the source of the problem.

    Sometimes after losing the connection using the context menu "Repair" option on the network connection will work, but only about 1 out of 10 tries. Removing and reinstalling the device and driver and creating a new connection with the Windows software. No good. Using the CD supplied 2WIRE Network Manager instead of the Windows Network Manager? Nope.

    What does always work for me is unplugging the USB device then replugging and letting Windows reacquire the device and reestablish the connection. Like I said, I think the device driver probably needs to be updated.

  13. #10
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    Oh, I forgot to mention. After the Microsoft Update about 8 weeks ago, I began getting a bubble popup on the zydas USB device that says something like "This device can perform faster if plugged into a USB 2.0 port. Unplug and plug into a USB 2.0 port." Thing is, it is plugged into a USB 2.0 port. I have only one USB hub with six ports and they are all 2.0. I did a driver update on all USB controllers and hubs using the device manager and they actually did update themselves. But the problems (bubble message and dropped connection) still occur. Maybe I need to uninstall/reinstall the device and create a new connection again since I did these updates. That may fix the problem.

  14. #11
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    If you have USB device problem (like a balloon pop-up saying your USB2.0 becoming USB1.0), you may have USB loading problem. Some heavy load USB devices may also behave marginally as well (such as a USB hard drive).

    Try plug the USB device in a different USB connector. It may solve this problem.

    Reason:
    USB supplies 5V/500mA to USB devices on each connector. The 500mA limit is not hard and fast. Some connector may supply as much as 600mA to 650mA before short circuit protection shut-down. Each USB connector behaves slightly different on handling load.
    Your USB device may draw current close to 500mA limit, and may exceed it when getting old (or getting hotter). The connector itself may have too long internal wiring that causes too much wire resistance at the load limit. All these may causer digital logic not functioning well, slow down, or creates too much error.

  15. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbrad View Post
    Oh, I forgot to mention. After the Microsoft Update about 8 weeks ago, I began getting a bubble popup on the zydas USB device that says something like "This device can perform faster if plugged into a USB 2.0 port. Unplug and plug into a USB 2.0 port." Thing is, it is plugged into a USB 2.0 port. I have only one USB hub with six ports and they are all 2.0. I did a driver update on all USB controllers and hubs using the device manager and they actually did update themselves. But the problems (bubble message and dropped connection) still occur. Maybe I need to uninstall/reinstall the device and create a new connection again since I did these updates. That may fix the problem.
    The USB interface drivers have no effect on a device whose hardware or driver are only good for USB 1 or 1.1. The slowest USB tier supported by any device attached to the USB bus (which is supporting more than one USB port on your computer) will slow performance of all devices attached to the same bus. A typical PC with 4 USB ports has 2 USB buses. So two of your ports might slow down, while the other two are at USB 2.0 speeds. Again, this comes from the device and its driver, not from the USB interface or its drivers. Update your device driver, but don't expect miracles from older USB devices.

    Getting back to the original question, I am sorry that a rollback to a real (externally stored) System Image is not available. This is how I have solved MS Updates related issues in my Windows XP Pro laptop through two Service Pack upgrades. I use True Image, but Macrium is perfectly acceptable. Just not as many recovery options, which would be useful here.

    In this case, Windows XP can perform a Repair operation from the genuine original installation disk or Hidden Recovery Partition. Just be SURE to choose the nondestructive or Repair option in the Console. You don't even have to use the install disk for your own Product Key Code, as this operation should not trigger Windows Activation Technologies. All you will be seeking to do is to restore every System File to its original condition. Then, some previously installed MS Updates may be reoffered, but usually only the most recent ones will need to be applied one at a time, ignoring the rest until this issue is pinpointed.

    As soon as one of the updates hoses the Internet Connection, that is the one to set aside by choosing to hide it from MS Updates in the future. I'd be willing to wager that this case is due to an Office or Outlook update, not a MS Critical or Important Windows update. Or maybe a .NET Framework update, if you did any of these recently.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2011-07-08 at 14:18.
    -- Bob Primak --

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  17. #13
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    USB info bubble appearing

    Quote Originally Posted by scaisson View Post
    If you have USB device problem (like a balloon pop-up saying your USB2.0 becoming USB1.0), you may have USB loading problem. Some heavy load USB devices may also behave marginally as well (such as a USB hard drive).

    Try plug the USB device in a different USB connector. It may solve this problem.

    Reason:
    USB supplies 5V/500mA to USB devices on each connector. The 500mA limit is not hard and fast. Some connector may supply as much as 600mA to 650mA before short circuit protection shut-down. Each USB connector behaves slightly different on handling load.
    Your USB device may draw current close to 500mA limit, and may exceed it when getting old (or getting hotter). The connector itself may have too long internal wiring that causes too much wire resistance at the load limit. All these may causer digital logic not functioning well, slow down, or creates too much error.
    Thanks so much for that information scaisson. That is interesting to know and I will remember this. The USB device is only a 250 Mb thumbdrive, so it is not designed to draw a heavy load. I think you may be right in suggesting that it may be getting old and not drawing power properly any more. I usually keep it plugged in so it may be overheating as you suggest. I have tried the other 5 usb ports on the machine, but the problem remains. Thanks again.

  18. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    I'd be willing to wager that this case is due to an Office or Outlook update, not a MS Critical or Important Windows update. Or maybe a .NET Framework update, if you did any of these recently.
    Bob, interesting that you should mention updates to .NET Framework. You wager well.

    I still don't have a system image (though I'm working toward it), so the only updates I have successfully removed were two updates to the .NET Framework. The next day I tried leaving the system running all night, but did not open Outlook at all. Still had internet connectivity in the morning! But then I wasn't sure if it was Outlook or the updates that were responsible. Now I've had 4 whole days free from this mysterious loss of connectivity, using Outlook the whole time.

    So now that I am warned off the .NET Framework updates....what does .NET Framework do for me? Do I really need it? I've read the technical description, but it's meaningless to me.

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    The .net framework is a software platform developed by Microsoft mainly to allow a different way to develop applications. From a developer's point of view, it brought numerous advantages over all the previous options to develop software in Windows. In order for software developed with the .net framework to run in a computer, that computer must have at least the client profile of .net framework (3.5, 4) or the full framework in previous versions.

    Most likely you have the framework installed because you installed a program that required it. If you do have programs that require the framework, you cannot uninstall it or those programs will stop working. Many recent windows apps, even some developed by Microsoft, require the .net framework.

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