A Day of Absolute Madness (DNS errors, 2 hour call to AT&T, new modem en route, Network Issues, etc)...

SCutshall

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Dec 14, 2015
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I am a rank beginner neanderthal with computers so please excuse any and all misappropriated terminology and the like...

About five hours ago while looking around the Net on our desktop (Windows 10 64-bit), I went to a page within Google and it loaded slowly, being impatient I clicked the X to stop it and hit refresh. I got the page with the dinosaur saying that I needed to check cables, modem, etc and that the website had moved possibly or that something else had gone wrong -- a page I have seen before when my internet had crapped out or been slow.

We use AT&T fiber optics, have since July of this year and it's been flawless.

I started going to other open tabs and refreshing and got the same dinosaur page. Went to my Win10 button and looked, it said we were connected (the computer is connected both via wireless with a wireless card mounted in the motherboard and via an ethernet cable that goes directly to our fiber optic wall mounted box).

Throughout this entire fiasco we have had wifi on our phones as well as our two laptops in the house... Google, searches, everything, had worked fine on all other devices except this PC.

Started searching out potential issues and fixes on my phone via Google which then lead me to IPv4 windows and Google free IP addresses (I think that's the correct term)... followed all tutorials to no avail.

Next up, the dreaded call to AT&T. Soft reboot, hard reboot, passwords, unplug this, unplug that, wait 5 minutes, wait 12-14 minutes, command prompts for this and that... hard reset from them to our modem, reboot the TV, reboot the modem, small talk, two hours later "Sorry, maybe it's the modem/router combo, we'll send you a new one overnight, have a nice day, thank you for being an AT&T customer, Goodbye"

And then, came across an old post here at Toms whereby someone suggested to someone else opening the command prompt window and typing in some sort of ipconfig juju... I followed it to a T, rebooted just as they suggested, no dice. Throughout all this I am also running Windows troubleshooters on both the ethernet icon and wifi icon in Change Adapter Options within Settings (I think I have those labels correct)... seemed like each time Windows would find a new and different issue with no way to solve it... "DNS Server Issue", "Networking Issue", "IP Protocol issue", something about a "Network" needing "Renamed"... nothing worked.

In my brain, I kept thinking, "There just doesn't seem to be any way that a new modem/router is going to solve this tomorrow... too many things do not add up".

Finally while drinking beer and fuming mad (wife and daughter steering clear of me) I started surfing through various searches out in our living room on our AppleTV (which also curiously had no issues either--just like our phones and laptops) and YouTube when I found a four year old video outlining pretty much the same thread I had found here at Toms with the ipconfig thingy... other than it was in a different order and also showed the guy doing the video leaving the command prompt window open whilst restarting his rig.

So I got up and went to our PC and did it EXACTLY like the guy in the video did, and I don't know if it was happenstance or supposed to happen, but when I went to restart our computer it didn't say Restart it said Update & Restart... I proceeded forward. Seemed like Windows took a minute to shutdown and then on the restart I got the circular dotted spinner thingy telling me to sit tight and be patient. Anyway once it was all done, it seems like everything is back to normal. I am typing all this from the PC in question BUT I do have some questions (finally, sorry about the length of all this but it feels like I need to be detailed because I am not too good with computer hardware/software terminology)..

1. What happened?
2. The AT&T gal never suggested anything like what (hopefully?!) has solved this... but she did have me, multiple times, in the CMD window typing all kinds of things... why wouldn't she have had me do the whole ipconfig sequence -- I can't even remember right now but it ended with ipconfig/flushdns (I think, or it might have been ipconfig/renew?).
3. Now that I am back up and running, do I or should I hook up this modem/router that's coming tomorrow?
4. In the past when I've looked, I have always seen BOTH my ethernet and wifi connected in Windows... but after this fix it is only showing my ethernet as connected whereas wifi has a red X with a "Not Connected". Any ideas as to why?
5. When I click on "Change Adapter Options", besides wifi having that red X, if I click on my ethernet icon and open status the IPv4 says "Internet" but the IPv6 says "No Network Access"... is that normal?

and finally,

6. Besides the mystery of all this and why it suddenly happened out of the blue today, any thoughts on how our phones and laptops are receiving wifi perfectly but this PC isn't, yet AT&T thinks the solution is a new modem/router? Assuming they are incorrect, what would be the possible solution to getting this PC back up to speed with being able to receive a wifi signal?

Sincere thanks to anyone brave (or bored) enough to have read all this and/or taken the time to reply...

Best regards
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
General observation - a full and proper "post mortem" likely to be lengthy and cumbersome.

The PC in question should not have two network connections. If I followed correctly you have/had both wired and wireless enabled on the PC.

Here is the key point from your post:

"I have always seen BOTH my ethernet and wifi connected in Windows... but after this fix it is only showing my ethernet as connected whereas wifi has a red X with a 'Not Connected'. "

It should be one or the other - not both. (Both can be done albeit special circumstances likely not applicable to your network setup).

For the most part, having both network adapters enabled will confuse the PC, router, and other network devices.

May have been just some "perfect storm" of events that initiated the entire episode.....

Ipconfig is a tool to check on the overall network configuration of any given PC. And then make corrections/changes as warranted.

Unfortunately many helpdesk people are not well versed in its' use and likely to be using some script of questions and responses that they must follow.

And from the other side, many callers just do not have (through no fault of their own) the ability to follow instructions - even if they happen to have the necessary access rights to make changes. And, in addition, do not recognize relevant errors, conditions, or facts that would or could help with troubleshooting.

All in all, a messy process.

The end fix, I think, was that the wireless adapter was/ended up disabled.

A new router is just a generic "do over". Installing it will probably require you to reconfigure both it and/or your entire network. The full extent depending on the current configuration and your knowledge of what needs to be done/configured.

Leave the PC connected using wired. Keep its' wireless adapter disabled. Hold on installing the new router and just watch for other network problems. Address those problems on by one as necessary.

 

SCutshall

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Dec 14, 2015
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Firstly, thank you - thank you - thank you, and... thank you for your excellent reply to my lengthy, more than wordy and very unsure/concerned questions!

Okay, latest update -- everything is still up and running and working as it should.

Couple additional items if I may...

1. We called AT&T and checked with them about an additional concern we 'thought' we heard them say yesterday during their troubleshooting session with us: that today at 2:30 we would have our service deactivated and once our 'new' modem/router was installed by us, reactivated. A definite concern when I read in your reply to basically let sleeping dogs lie... however, after taking delivery of the new modem/router first thing this morning -and- reading your reply, my wife and me immediately called AT&T to inquire about just sending them back the new modem/router with concern about the whole deactivation/reactivation issue possibly fudging up the success we achieved last night with ipconfig. Tech support, just moments ago, reassured us that whomever we spoke to yesterday was in fact incorrect -- there could be no deactivation/reactivation on their end without first uninstalling/installing the old to new box on our end.
Whew, bullet dodged... old box stays put while new box goes right back to FedEx!**

**AT&T insists that be it 'old' (current) or 'new' (what arrived today), they need one of the two boxes back to them within 10 business days... should we hold onto it for a few days in the event of some other issue arising or take it back to FedEx, thoughts?

2. Based on your reply, should I be going into the inner bowels of Windows 10 and literally checking to see (and if need be, change) that the wireless adapter is turned off? Or, is the simple fact that I am seeing the red X evidence enough to it being turned off?

3. In the process of everything I went through yesterday, one additional item for you I failed to mention...
I was seeing in many forum posts around the Net that people would suggest checking their firewall for similar instances of sudden loss of access to browse the internet. This just dawned on me while typing out my reply to you... one of the things I did yesterday that I haven't gone back and undone: I turned off all of my Firewall/Windows 10 Defender settings (much to the endless and angry reminders I keep seeing from Windows 10 since having done so).
Should I turn them back on?
Could turning them off have bore fruit in any way toward the successful outcome I achieved last night (ie: getting back onto the Net)?
If you suggest turning the firewall back on... are there any suggestions with regard to which/what ones/all of them/certain ones/etc to turn back on (I ask this one in particular because I do recall some being on while some others were not when I turned them all off)?
Lastly on this, I also use Avast and MalwareBytes... is the Windows 10 firewall even necessary in the face of those other two programs?

Thank you again for your help, deeply appreciated.

 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Changing the order:

2) Red "X" is off. You can verify via Device Manager. Or by "WIN" + "I" > Network & Internet > Ethernet > Change adapter options

3) Doubt that the firewall was the problem. Nor Windows Defender either.....

Just enable each one again but only one at a time. Test to see if there are any problems. Then enable the other. Idea being to change only one thing at a time. If both are enabled together there should not be any problem. But should there be a problem then you would not know which one (firewall or defender) caused the problem.

My running mode is Defender with weekly Malwarebyte scans. I will run Malwarebytes at any time I happen to hit a website during research and get one of those "your PC has encountered a problem and is now infected" type scam sites. Locks things up and I have to use Task Manager to stop the browser. Generally that is all there is to it but I scan to be sure.

1) As for sending the new modem/router back no harm in holding for a couple of days as a general hedge. Do keep an eye on the calendar and allow time for physical delivery within the allowed 10 days. They will be quick to charge you... I would make some notes regarding the make, model, and version number on the device. Then track the package going back. Watch your AT&T account for charges.

And look at your current router. You may be able to back up its configuration settings. Export the settings. Then if there is a problem you can import the settings to a new router if the new router is the same make/model. Or restore the existing router if it has some problem requiring a factory reset. Router User Manual/Guide should have the necessary instructions.
 

SCutshall

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Dec 14, 2015
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All excellent and helpful points, many thanks again... I am on it and at it!!

Warmest Regards

 

SCutshall

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Dec 14, 2015
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*Update*...
Opening up Defender and taking a look under the hood, here's what I found:

Virus & Threat Protection ~ Green Check
Device Security ~ Green Check
Device Performance & Health ~ Green Check
-------
Account Protection ~ Yellow Exclamation (wants me to sign in)
App & Browser Control ~ Yellow Exclamation (wants me to turn it on)
-------
Firewall & Network Protection ~ Angry Red X
-------
Between what is green, yellow and red + my use of Avast and MalwareBytes, would you be of the mind that I can forego firewall or should I proceed forward with enabling it (albeit, as per your advice, one at a time)?

Additionally, when I click into firewall settings here is what I see:

Windows Defender Firewall ~ Red X with a button to restore settings
Domain Network ~ Green Check
Private Network ~ Red X with a button to turn on
Public Network ~ Red X with a button to turn on

Thoughts?

In advance, thank you.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
I would start with Windows Defender Firewall.

I.e. using the screens presented via Options 1-4 in the following link:

https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/70699-turn-off-windows-defender-firewall-windows-10-a.html

Here is a second link to provide more background information:

https://mypcupdates.com/windows-firewall-and-windows-defender-windows-10-8-1-8-7/

Thoughts:

1) Enable as much protection as you can. But do not run multiple AV apps at the same time.

2) Expect the worst to happen - have multiple backups that you know worked (verify) and stored both on and off site.
 

SCutshall

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Dec 14, 2015
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Okay, thank you much.

 

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