Internet Explorer Not Connecting to the Internet
Recently I received an e-mail from someone who was having trouble getting Internet Explorer to connect to the Internet. Various other programs, such as e-mail, were able to connect, however, the browser was having difficulty.
As I always like to do, I decided to see if I can help. It is more difficult via e-mail to solve computer problems, but a few checks and some investigation I was able to determine the issue behind the browser. I provide my findings in this post.
The person having issues explained that Messenger and Outlook were connecting no problem, but Internet Explorer was display a message indicated the Web page could not be displayed. Seeing as Messenger and Outlook were both connecting, I immediately eliminated any connection issues to the Internet Service Provider. I decided to concentrate on the browser itself.
At first, I thought it may me a DNS cache issue. I had the user run ipconfig /flushdns from the command prompt to attempt to clear any local DNS cache. Unfortunately, it didn’t work as the user indicated that the response back was Could not flush the DNS resolver cache: Function failed during execution. This could possibly mean that the DNS Client service has not been started, so I next had the user attempt to start the service.
The user did as I asked, and then replied back to me that the software firewall on the machine displayed a message regarding a program change. The little light bulb went on in my head when I read this. For those who have seen these messages from software firewalls, but don’t know what they mean, allow me to explain it to you.
When a new program attempts to connect to the Internet, the software firewall detects this and stops it from connecting without permission. To get permission, the firewall displays a message on the screen for the user to either allow or deny the program to connect. When you allow a program, such as a Web browser, to connect to the Internet, the firewall allows any requests made from the application to be sent to the Internet.
In the issue discussed here, Outlook and Messenger were given permission, but Internet Explorer was denied permission to connect to the Internet. This was the reason Internet Explorer could not display any Web pages. Once the user granted permission for Internet Explorer to connect, they were able to display Web pages again.
The image above shows ZoneAlarm asking permission for Internet Explorer to access the Internet. Other software firewalls will have a similar message. To grant permission in ZoneAlarm, do the following:
- Click the Remember this setting checkbox. This will prevent ZoneAlarm asking permission every time Internet Explorer attempts to connect to the Internet.
- Click the Allow button to grant permission.
Repeat the above steps for any application you want to access the Internet. Click the Deny button if you don’t want an application to connect.
I recently received an e-mail from an individual who had trouble getting Internet Explorer to access the Internet, even though other applications could access the Internet. After a few e-mails, it was determined that the software firewall installed on the computer prevented Internet Explorer from connecting to the Internet. Once permission was granted to Internet Explorer to access the Internet, the user was able to display Web pages in the browser again.