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Windows 10 Internet problems

Posted by on July 26, 2016.

I should, of course, have known better, but, running ahead of the deadline, I “upgraded” to Windows 10. (I *did*, at least, do some research before I started, and turned off the worst of the privacy issues.)

I ran smack into the intermittently reported problem of intermittent Internet connection problems. Some sites I can reach, others I cannot. Some sites I can reach sometimes, and not at others.

Yes, I have tried Google, thanks. I can reach Google (most of the time). Unfortunately, an extremely high proportion of the sites purporting to have answers are among those I cannot reach. (Including, interestingly, answers.microsoft.com.)

Yes, I guess I did leave out rather a lot in that bit, did I not? I was getting a bit frustrated at that point.

I actually upgraded two machines, the desktop from Win 7 Pro, and a laptop from Win 8.1. (This means one machine runs Win 10, and the other Win 10 Pro. There are differences.) Both have SSD drives as C:/boot. The laptop is connected to the router via ethernet, and the laptop via wifi. The ISP is Shaw.

Retrying various sites I did, eventually, get through to a Microsoft page. I had to bounce around in their system a bit, but eventually got to:
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/10741/windows-10-fix-network-connection-issues

A lot of the suggestions are simplistic, or otherwise unhelpful. But, about halfway down the page, it gets into networking commands. Apparently Win-R is not good enough anymore. You have to use “the search box on the taskbar”–that is, Cortana. “type Command prompt, right-click (or press and hold) Command prompt, and then select Run as administrator > Yes.”

Then:

Type netsh winsock reset and press Enter.
Type netsh int ip reset and press Enter.
Type ipconfig /release and press Enter.
Type ipconfig /renew and press Enter.
Type ipconfig /flushdns and press Enter.

Then reboot.

So far that seems to have fixed most problems, but some issues remain. But intermittently. (Argh.)

The Microsoft suggested network resets do work, but don’t seem to work for long. At the moment, the connection seems to degrade over several hours (as well as having intermittent sites that aren’t reachable on a sporadic basis). Doing the network resets again seems to (mostly) rectify the situation. I’m wondering if I am going to have to put the reset package into a batch file. And possibly reboot the computer every day. Or maybe more often. (I got a suggestion about using Win-X to get an admin command prompt: very useful.)

Any and all suggestions gratefully received. (Except “upgrade to Linux.” There are reasons I can’t. I am hoping not to have to revert to Win 7.)

Slight update: I have created a batch file with the five network resetting commands, and running it *without* rebooting does seem to work well as a temporary fix. Bit of a pain, though.

Most of the Web surfing is Gloria’s, though, and I was a bit concerned that she’d have to switch to my desktop to run the batch file with admin privileges (I left the admin command window open on my desktop so that she could), and then switch back to hers. (Currently we seem to be hitting the problem about every ten or fifteen minutes.) I was pleased, therefore, to find that Win-X works on her desktop, that the admin command prompt option is there as well, and (since she knows my password on this machine) she can sign on and run the net flushing batch. (Actually, since we need to use it so often, we are leaving the admin command window open on her desktop as well.)

This seems to provide a fix. It hasn’t exactly solved the problem, though. It does indicate that the blame lies squarely with Microsoft, since those operating system commands don’t touch anything upstream (except possibly getting another IP address from the router, and that isn’t likely). And, yes, I got the basics of the fix from Microsoft, but it doesn’t seem to address how to resolve the problem on anything like a permanent basis.

(Writing and updating this post has been an interesting experience. Usually between the time I start an edit and when I hit the “publish” button Win 10 has lost connection again. I’m now getting used to flushing the net before I hit publish.)

By the way, for all of those who have recommended that I should have made a backup before I started all this: yes, I know that. I have backups. I have one constantly running (although I think it only polls every fifteen minutes or so), and I regularly make other backups. I’m fine for backups. You don’t get to be a greybeard in this business without knowing the value of backups. Don’t worry: I haven’t lost any data (and neither has Gloria). I just want to get my computer working again without having to revert to Win 7. (Or Linux.)

I did get one very interesting comment on another forum:

These days, winsock is rarely, if ever, and issue and renewing the IP lease is unlikely to resolve issues with some sites and not others.  This leaves the “ipconfig /flushdns” command as most likely helping, though this is a guess and not definitive.

When you next run into the problems, can you try running only “ipconfig /flushdns” to see if this alone makes things work again (however temporarily)?  If this alone is fixing things temporarily I would be interested in a couple things:

  • What is listed as your DNS servers when you run “ipconfig”?

  • When things are running well, try a ping to one of the impacted sites and save the IP

  • When things stop working, do the pings look different to that same host?

ipconfig gave me:

Windows IP Configuration

Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection:

Connection-specific DNS Suffix . : vn.shawcable.net
Link-local IPv6 Address . . . . . : fe80::8839:acbd:84a9:9c90%4
IPv4 Address. . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.0.100
Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.0
Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.0.1

Tunnel adapter isatap.vn.shawcable.net:

Media State . . . . . . . . . . . : Media disconnected
Connection-specific DNS Suffix . : vn.shawcable.net

Tunnel adapter Local Area Connection* 10:

Connection-specific DNS Suffix . :
IPv6 Address. . . . . . . . . . . : 2001:0:9d38:90d7:4a6:3925:cdbb:dff2
Link-local IPv6 Address . . . . . : fe80::4a6:3925:cdbb:dff2%11
Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : ::

Since http://itsecurity.co.uk is one of the sites I most frequently can’t reach, I tried pinging it, and got:

“Ping request could not find host http://itsecurity.co.uk. Please check the name and try again.”

… even though I could reach it in the browser at the time.

Since I’m behind a router (as most are), I ran the F-Secure router checker
( https://campaigns.f-secure.com/router-checker/en_global/ ) and got the following:
DNS IP 64.59.144.91
AS number 6327
… which I believe corresponds to Shaw.

OK, given the problem seems to be related to DNS, we start to think about routing. We also start to think about using someone else’s DNS, since ISP’s DNS machines are legendarily ill-behaved, or, at least, odd. I’ve got a D-Link DIR-655 B1 ver 2.10NA. I’ve tried doing the Internet setup now two or three times, setting various DNS servers, and it always seems to come back with “Primary DNS Server : 64.59.144.91 Secondary DNS Server : 64.59.150.137” which, I think, belong to the ISP, Shaw. Using the Manual Intenet setup, I get to a page that, under DHCP connection type, has a box for two DNS addresses, but they are 204.194.232.200 and 204.194.234.200 and unchangeable (and greyed out). For the moment, at least, until I can get some more info on the DIR 655 commands, I need to think of a workaround.

OK, back to Windows. I Googled a bit (if I may be forgiven for verbing a noun), and then tried the Windows network interface (rather than attempt the netsh commands). Win-X, Network connections, right-click the correct network, “Properties,” select TCP/IPv4, “Properties” again, and then use one of OpenVMS’s servers (208.67.220.220) and, hedging my bets, one of Google’s (8.8.4.4), and OK/Close all the way back. ipconfig /all now shows:

DNS Servers . . . . . . . . . . . : 208.67.220.220
8.8.4.4

Mind you it also shows:

Primary Dns Suffix . . . . . . . :
DNS Suffix Search List. . . . . . : vn.shawcable.net

so I’m not *quite* sure that everything is correct, but I’ll give it a try for a while.

It’s been running for about three hours now without flushing the DNS, and *seems* to be working OK. I’m able to get to most sites, and ones that I have been using as testers (previously frequent failures) I have been able to get to eventually without flushing the DNS again.

The “eventually” part is a bit interesting. itsecurity.co.uk, one of my blog sites (as you might have noticed), was one that I could use as a connection canary: it went down first. It still seems to lose connection, every once in a while, but now it comes back after a minute or so. Intersting thing is that, from the command line, I can ping sites like twitter.com (fairly solid) and cbc.ca (partly flaky), but, even when I’m posting to itsecurity and can get pages from it, I still can’t ping it.

Also, I haven’t really fixed the problem. In one sense, it’s out of my control. The problem seems to lie in some weird interaction or incompatibility between Windows 10, and Shaw’s DNS. Someone better at parsing raw network traffic could probably find more clues, but I’ve put six days into this problem already, and I don’t feel like putting in more.

Microsoft did, after all, promise that my computer setup was completely compatible. (Which was a bit of a lie already, as I’ve lost an old version of Eudora and two versions of Word Perfect that have been running for decades.)


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Submitted in: Expert Views, Rob Slade, Uncategorized | Tags: ,