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Search Engines not Working in IE or Firefox

This is a discussion on Search Engines not Working in IE or Firefox within the Networking Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. A few days ago, all search engines stopped working on my computer on both IE and Firefox. Everything else works


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Old 02-27-2011, 05:12 AM   #1
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A few days ago, all search engines stopped working on my computer on both IE and Firefox. Everything else works fine and I can surf the net using specific URLs but I can search for anything. I have tried a number of options and various anti-virus, spyware and malware scans but no infections are ever found. I have used, AVG, windows defender, and Malwarebytes. If anyone has some insight into this problem, there help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Evan

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Old 02-27-2011, 06:56 AM   #2
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Which search engines are you using?

Are you searching from the browser's search box, from a toolbar, or by visiting the sites using the address bar?

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Old 02-27-2011, 03:34 PM   #3
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I mostly use Firefox and sometimes use Internet Explorer. I've tried searching using the toolbar and from the websites themselves.
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Old 02-27-2011, 04:20 PM   #4
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Go to these 4 websites and enter a search term, then post back and tell us what happened for each one (eg. error message, blank page, redirect, advert popup, etc) -

Google
Bing
Yippy
Yahoo
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Old 02-28-2011, 02:44 AM   #5
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The only site I was able to visit was Yippy. A search actually worked on it as well. The other pages simply didn't load and said "Connection has timed out".
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Old 03-04-2011, 01:38 AM   #6
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Repost
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Old 03-04-2011, 06:38 AM   #7
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To see if it's a DNS problem, open your browser and instead of typing www.google.com into the addresss bar, type http://74.125.230.112 and hit Enter. Does this take you to google or do you still get a connection error?

Check your 'hosts' file to see if the search engines are listed. The hosts file is used to block internet access for particular websites (eg. at work the IT dept might want to block chat sites, and at home parents might want to block file-sharing sites). See here for instructions on how to open the hosts file.

If you don't see 127.0.0.1 www.google.com listed in the hosts file, then it could be that your computer is infected with something that's been missed by your malware scans. If you'd like our security team to have a look, please follow the instructions here and start a new thread in the Virus Removal forum.
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Old 03-06-2011, 01:30 AM   #8
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Hey Koala, I tried http://74.125.230.112 and this worked. I can go to it and search. However, I followed the instructions for checking my "hosts" file but it doesn't appear in the C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc folder. Let me know what you think.
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:40 AM   #9
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If entering the IP number instead of the google URL into the address bar works, then it sounds like a DNS problem.

This article gives full illustrated instructions on how to change your DNS server in Vista - https://store.opendns.com/setup/device/windows-vista. The process is completely safe, won't damage your internet connection and is reversable if it doesn't fix your problem. I use this setting on my computer.

It's looking less likely that the hosts file is causing your problem, but for future reference......... Hosts is a hidden file. In Windows Explorer, go to Tools > Folder Options > View tab, then click 'Show hidden files, folders and drives' and remove the checkmark from 'Hide protected OS files'. Click Apply and OK. You should now be able to see the hosts file. Revert the 2 Folder Options settings back to normal after you've finished.
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Old 03-07-2011, 11:41 PM   #10
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Hey Koala,
I have now reconfigured my DNS however the problem still persists. Let me know what you think.
Thanks
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:24 AM   #11
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I'm out of ideas, sorry. Since no-one from the Alt-Computing team is posting any suggestions, I'll move this thread over to the Networking forum to see if they have any ideas.

Also, see the last line in post#7. The problem could be caused by an infection that is blocking access to search sites, so you might want to let our security analysts have a look.
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Old 03-08-2011, 06:10 PM   #12
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Hi evanmaclean,

Thanks Koala....

In your Profile, I see that you're have Vista SP1, you should download and update it to SP2 immediately followed by Windows Updates.

Check your browser's settings, remove or uncheck any proxy settings if found here's how.

Verify that you have DHCP enabled in your TCP/IP and DNS settings. Here's how.

Please give us an update.
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Old 03-08-2011, 11:47 PM   #13
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Thanks for your help Koala. I'll check out if I have a virus using the info from post #7. 2Gx, I actually have service pack 2 but it's appearing as service pack 1 for some reason. I have set my browsers to no proxy and checked that the DCHP was configured correctly. Despite these changes, the problems still persist. Thanks.
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Old 03-09-2011, 06:20 PM   #14
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Restart your computer, Tap F8 and select Safe Mode with Networking, see if you can connect here.
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Old 02-21-2012, 01:00 PM   #15
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I had the same problem. Tried Yippy as someone suggested and that search engine worked fine. Google and yahoo would time out, but I could ping Google and get 4 replys.

I could not find a hosts file problem or DNS problem. After changing a bunch of settings, my anti-virus (avast!) started telling me it would not allow me to access google. I reset the Avast settings to its factory settings and turned off my firewall and restarted the computer, now it works. I turned the windows firewall back on and it still works.
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Old 02-21-2012, 03:15 PM   #16
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okay, my search engines stopped working again. This time I deleted my hosts file from C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc and replaced it with a clean one. Actually, this program did it for me: How can I reset the Hosts file back to the default?

after rebooting, the internet is working again for me, for now.
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Old 02-21-2012, 05:13 PM   #17
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Hello....If you need assistance please create your own Thread. Thanks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by judithrenee View Post
okay, my search engines stopped working again. This time I deleted my hosts file from C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc and replaced it with a clean one. Actually, this program did it for me: How can I reset the Hosts file back to the default?

after rebooting, the internet is working again for me, for now.
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