Question Only Firefox connects to internet and nothing else in my machine

Jan 19, 2021
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**Right now i managed to make some programs to connect by forcing them to run on TCP ports.

Quick description of problem:

  1. At first nothing but firefox was connecting. Chrome, Opera, Microsoft Edge, Zoom, programs and apps in my system wouldnt connect to internet this also included to apps on my phone, my parent's phones and our smart TV.
  2. Some programs in my laptop that has a store like Microsoft store, Steam, Origin, Battlenet told me that the pricing are being shown in czech republic money because thats where they detected im login in from (In Battlenet's example, my 2 factor authentication app in my phone said the request was coming from czech).
  3. We dont use proxy or vpn.

Things to consider:

-Studying my semester at home, the wifi is ours and there is no nearby neighbours.
-Laptop is new bought from Acer in april 2020, it never showed problems.
- We dont use proxy or vpn.

How it started:
It started one day in November during my semester when i tried to open zoom to enter to one of my classes and it failed to connect, there was strong winds outside so i thought it was something to be expected. After the weather came back to normal the problem persisted and noticed that other programs were unable to connect at all, in the rare case some programs were able to connect at night like microsoft store; it would detect im connecting from somewhere in czech republic wich is not true.

I never noticed this because all i used was Firefox for email managing, watching youtube, studying , uploading and downloading documents with normal internet speeds; i then tried opening Discord and it wouldnt connect, the same happened to steam and the preinstalled weather forecast app in my windows 10 and even Microsoft Edge. I read somewhere that firefox uses a independent config from my system and that might explain why it works like normal.

What i tried to do in order:
  1. Restored my machine to a previous date using Restore Point of win10 to a day before i first noticed Zoom not connecting.
  2. Checked if i have any proxy configuration on windows.
  3. Backed up files and reinstalled windows10 completely from a USB, then downloaded zoom and tried testing it again. (worked for 2 days then the same problem showed up for everything)
  4. Tried forcing some programs to run on TCP ports by adding -tcp after their .exe directory in properties, some like steam were able to login without problem but certain things wouldnt connect like store, profile or steam chat.
  5. Factory reset my router.
  6. Firmware update my router.
  7. Factory reset on other devices.
  8. Fiddled with ports in my router to make some programs to run on TCP ports and some are working normally or partially normal.
  9. Tried using a static IP
  10. Tried using different DNS
Were i am now:
Firefox still has download and upload speeds like normal; steam is weird in the sense that it now logs in fast and normal and everything works well in it except that its hard for it to download (flat lines at 0kbs), when it flatlines at 0kbs some apps on my phone and on other devices stop working, when it randomly starts working again at slow speeds some things in other devices works again.
  • Steam flatlines at 0kbs

  • Steam randomly starts downloading, then gradually goes back to 0 in 10 - 30 minutes



Upon seeing that behavior i decided to try a free vpn just for testing, i used ProtonVPN and the moment i connected to a server absolutely everything on my machine started working normally and with normal internet speeds.
  • Steam goes from 0 to my normal download speeds immediately after connecting to a VPN
So this is pretty much it, i tried to not over explain things but this has been happening for over 2 months now, thank you for reading my tedtalk. If there are ideas of what i could try i highly appreciate it! i need zoom meetings working again soon.
 
Jan 19, 2021
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could my internet provider be behind that? a proxy type of thing i have no control over? because when zoom first failed their system went down a few days before that
 
When it works with a vpn you would start to suspect the ISP but if other devices work fine the it is not that. Might also be the router but generally you would know if you setup limitations. It is not actually easy to do this even if you want to with things like firewall and parental controls.
Best would be to factory reset the router and then go in and only set the admin and wifi passwords do not use any other features.

Does your pc use killer brand network chips. These work with so called network gaming accelerators. You want to uninstall any software like that. Many times it comes bundled with the machine and in killer case you must load other drivers without the feature. These tools cause all kinds of bizarre problems and have little to no impact on actual game connections.

You could try a USB linux boot image. This will quickly confirm it is some windows or other setting in your machine. This is hard to say becuase it actually is acting like you already have a vpn installed but if you have reinstalled windows it is not likely it is some malware or other software you forgot you installed.
 
Jan 19, 2021
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When it works with a vpn you would start to suspect the ISP but if other devices work fine the it is not that.
When i apply the vpn to my laptop the other devices still behaves the same. they only work when steam randomly "finds a connection" and starts downloading for a few minutes. its like if something started matching and everything is able to temporarily connect but very slowly.
Might also be the router [...] Best would be to factory reset the router and then go in and only set the admin and wifi passwords do not use any other features.
I already did full a few factory reset and made sure any previous configurations were erased in the process like you suggested, i also updated its firmware to the latest version and one of my first things to try was to unplug the router off the wall for maybe 3 minutes.
Does your pc use killer brand network chips. These work with so called network gaming accelerators. You want to uninstall any software like that.
Actually yes, my laptop does for cable internet connection and it came with a program preinstalled like you say... but maybe it cant be it because it was uninstalled on the windows reinstall, and the problem is affecting other devices (phones, TV)
You could try a USB linux boot image
I mean.. i can try! its so bizarre aint it? before making this post i was thinking that maybe some sort ISP proxy or vpn would explain what is happening here.
 
Jan 19, 2021
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If this is a ISP problem, how could i explain it to my ISP provider? naturally they will want to send a technician but over here we are in red with the pandemic so we want to avoid that. We do however have the phone number of one of their technicians and we know he has access to the ISP system. Good person.

to the moderator: im sorry i forgot to turn off my vpn when i posted these replies. will turn it off next time!
 
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I may have misunderstood. If it is affecting mulitple devices then it can't really be software on the pc.

What happens if you turn the pc off do the other devices work fine.

If the pc is actually interfering with other devices in your house there has to be something either very misconfigured on the pc.

If it still has issue with the pc turned off then you want to try the standard test.

Run ping to some common IP like 8.8.8.8 and see if you get packet loss or very high latency. The 8.8.8.8 ip is actually many machines located in many cites and it should use one close to you, most times you see under 25ms to this.

You can try tracert to various websites, it tends to be hard to interpret for a new person but you might get a clue if the traffic really is going to another country.

What makes no sense at all is why running a vpn on the pc would fix the problem for you other devices since they are not using the vpn.
 

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