Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I helped a friend with a Win 7 computer issues. The first was that Windows Update had downloaded several updates that failed to install. The second was that the computer couldn’t connect to internet via a new high-speed cable installation.
I’ve known about the Windows Update issue for some time, but my first attempt to fix it using Microsoft’s support site failed. Before trying again, I did research and had a couple of ideas on how to attack it.
The internet issue was my priority. I’d need it to fix the Windows Update issue, and it was causing problems, not merely being an inconvenience like the Windows Update issue.
As I sat at the computer, I verified that the computer saw the cable router. I tried to connect using IE and it complained that the device refused my connection. Because I was connecting wirelessly, I decided to perform a direct connection with an Ethernet cable. No difference.
I checked ZoneAlarm firewall to ensure it wasn’t stopping the connection, and everything looked fine, though there were some odd network IP addresses beginning with 10.
I verified that Windows Firewall was turned off.
I decided it was time to remove the Earthlink software that was the old method to connect to the internet. I noticed in “Add and Remove Programs” that Norton Antivirus was active. This is a problem because ZoneAlarm also includes an antivirus, and it’s a bad thing to run multiple antivirus products simultaneously.
So, I removed Norton and noticed it’s stamped with an Earthlink logo, which explains how it got on the system since I last worked on it. After a reboot, I was back at “Add and Remove Programs.”
There were two Earthlink entries, one an “accelerator” and the other the main program. I removed the accelerator first, and the system wanted to reboot, so I allowed it.
At this point, Windows updates started to apply. Successfully!. There were 55 and it took about an hour. Now, I was happier than I could describe because I hadn’t had a solid, sure-fire fix for this issue.
But (yes, there’s always a but), I didn’t do anything to specifically solve it. This bothered me, and, frankly, it still does. There had to be a reason why it’d started to work; I just wished I knew what it was.
Anyway, that was hard to explain. I could only venture a guess that the uninstall had replaced a critical file or configuration that’d allowed Windows Update to work again.
After all the updates were installed and configured, I removed the main Earthlink program. This went quickly, and I rebooted again. I tried IE, and it still didn’t work. I was at a loss for what the problem was. I wanted to Google the error message, but I couldn’t get on the internet.
At this point, my friend mentioned that the same thing had happened in Chrome. I ran Chrome, figuring it might be an IE problem. It wasn’t, but Chrome gives me a detailed error message that the proxy server isn’t available along with instructions on how to see the setting.
At this point, I knew that I found the problem. I didn’t need a proxy server for the cable internet.
The setting was in “Internet Options.” Apparently, Earthlink had used a proxy server and hadn’t unset it during the uninstall. That was annoying, but typical. I unchecked the checkbox, and, now, the proxy server wasn’t being used. I started IE, and there’s a web page, Earthlink’s homepage, but that was easy enough to fix.
The day was a success. The best case scenario had played out. I didn’t need to take the computer home to fix it.
I was happy, and my friend was happy. It was a good day.