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Can't launch Internet Explorer

by 5dukesnnc / April 15, 2005 10:22 AM PDT

I have a Dell Dimension 8400 with Windows XP, Small Business Edition 2003, Service Pack 2. I have 3GHz Pentium 4 with 4GHz RAM.

Just logged on my computer this evening and opened my mail, as usual. Ran Spybot, Ad-aware and Spyware along with scanned for Spyware with PC-cillin. There were two items founds with PC-cillin that could be "potential threats" and I removed.

Ad-aware found a few things which I quarantined as I always do. I was going to open a tutorial so I clicked on Internet Explorer and it will not open. You see the hour glass move and then poof, it stops and nothing.

I can get into IE if I log on as another user and I can open web pages if I go to Windows Explorer and click on My Favorites but the icon and all attempts through the start menu produces nothing. Please help on how I can make the repair!

I know some will advise to use Firefox, Opera or some other browser but my experience is with IE and it is what I am forced to use at work and what I am used to so please provide any information you can think of to help me get this fixed. Thanks so much in advance.

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Things to try first
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / April 15, 2005 9:01 PM PDT

Is this a problem with the IE icon on your desktop?

What happens when you click the IE icon in the Quick Launch area of your Task Bar? (Next to the Start Menu).

Also, what about the IE shortcut in Start > All Programs > Accessories > Communication > Browsers > Internet Explorer? (The path may be different for different Start Menu setups).

When you open a web page from your favorites menu, can you then surf the net as normally?

What happens if you open a page from your Favorites folder, then save that web page as a file on your desktop? Can you then double click that file and IE opens normally?

Can you goto Start > Windows Update? Does IE work normally there?

Mozilla Firefox "is" a more secure browser for sure, but you still need to get IE fixed because there are times when web pages simply do not work well with non-proprietry browsers.

Once we have a little more information, then we can narrow down the problem.


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Answers to your questions - Mark
by 5dukesnnc / April 16, 2005 3:29 AM PDT
In reply to: Things to try first

Is this a problem with the IE icon on your desktop? YES

What happens when you click the IE icon in the Quick Launch area of your Task Bar? (Next to the Start Menu). I actually do not have IE in the taskbar. I think I deleted long ago to keep so much from loading (of course, I know just enough about computers to be dangerous so maybe that wasn't a good thing.)

Also, what about the IE shortcut in Start > All Programs > Accessories > Communication > Browsers > Internet Explorer? (The path may be different for different Start Menu setups). That does not work either to launch IE.

When you open a web page from your favorites menu, can you then surf the net as normally? Yes. Once I open through Windows Explorer and select a "favorite", I keep it minimized so I can go on later.

What happens if you open a page from your Favorites folder, then save that web page as a file on your desktop? Can you then double click that file and IE opens normally? Yes, I tried that and it worked.

Can you goto Start > Windows Update? Does IE work normally there? Yes, it opened the windows update page.

Thank you for asking these questions to help pinpoint. As I say, I can really get around pretty good BUT it's best to keep it as simple as possible because all the registry stuff is WAY OVER my head.

P.S. What are the limits of the other browsers that seem to be suggested as being more stable such as Firefox. I certainly HATE being on a website and see "red x" thumbnails. I'm learning Paint Shop Pro so I certainly do not want to be limited there. Again, thank you for your help.

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Mark - One more point
by 5dukesnnc / April 16, 2005 3:33 AM PDT

I think I have forgotten to say my connection is with Charter so dial-up shouldn't be a related issue to this problem. (Just in case this makes a difference too.)

As mentioned in my original, however, if I sign on as the "guest", the icon works fine just not on my user log on! (And, of course, who wants to sign on another name when all your files are under YOUR name!!) :o)

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Hi m8
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / April 16, 2005 8:43 PM PDT
In reply to: Mark - One more point

Thanks for the responses 5d.

You say that your ISP is Charter. Does this mean that you're using a Charter modified Internet Explorer? You can usually tell by looking at the blue header of the IE Window. It will say, "somewebsite - Charter", and perhaps have a different spinning icon in the top right corner.

There are things you can try. I'm not sure why IE would work in one account, and not in another, as IE is a common program to all accounts in Windows XP.

1] You can try the IEFix utility from here;

This fixes certain problems with IE which are similar to, but not quite the same as yours. It doesn't matter if you use it, it won't harm your system, but it is as well to create a Restore Point whenever using such utilities before you use them.

2] Create another Admin account with full privaleges.

I wonder if this is a problem with your Admin account. Like I say, IE is common to all accounts and so if it works in another account I would have thought it would work in yours.

What happens if you try to open up IE from your Guest account within your account? Try this;

In your account, right click the Start Menu, and click Explore. A Windows Explorer window will open with the Start Menu highlighted in the left pane for "your" account. Find the Guest account and click the "+" sign next to it, and navigate to the Start Menu for that account. Find IE and click, (double click), the icon in the right pane. Does IE open for you? If so, you could take a copy of that icon, (right click, select copy), and place it on your desktop as a temprary solution.

And/or, you can create another Admin account. It is wise to anyway in case you ever have problems logging on with your own. Give the new admin account full access rights and privaleges and see if you can use the desktop IE icon on the new account.

If this works, then it is possible your own account is corrupted in some way. You can transfer all your files, (important docs, photos, etc), over to the new account and at some stage in the future, (ie when you're happy everything is working OK), delete the faulty account.

See if any of that helps.

You mentioned the quicklaunch bar. It's a personal preference of course, but all it is is a folder of shortcuts, not the full programs. So if you had the QL bar you wouldn't be losing much in start-up times or RAM usage. Not like programs loading in the Notification Area, (System Tray), where the clock is.

Also you mentioned other browsers. The position is that most other non-proprietry browsers, (that is, those not based on IE itself), remain faithful to the w3c web standards for rendering and displaying web pages, but IE doesn't always. This means that IE uses web code that is peculiar to itself, and not to the standard.

This doesn't particularly matter, because most web pages are coded to work in IE anyway, and if web site designers want web pages to work properly in Firefox, Netscape 7 or Opera, etc, they have to change some coding.

But generally we the users see little difference. Only ocassionally do I visit web pages in Firefox that don't work as well as they do in IE, and if thats the case, then I either open the site in IE, or go elsewhere.

Good luck. If you do decide to try Firefox, it's a good browser and fully customizable as is IE. You can get it free from here;


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by 5dukesnnc / April 17, 2005 3:27 AM PDT
In reply to: Hi m8

Before I opened your response, I had actually put a shortcut to my homepage on my desktop. Don't ask me why or how but as I was on the internet through that, I changed my homepage to my Gmail account since I use it more than Hotmail. Sometime afterwards, I got curious to see if it would make a difference on the IE icon working and IT DID!! It now opens the Gmail login page!

Would it still be a good idea to do the IE Fix? I knew there was a link somewhere but for the life of me, I could not remember so I'll have to bookmark.

You also mentioned "restore point". Can you explain a little more about this. I think I've seen others mention as well but haven't really read up on it.

It also worked for me to do the Windows/Explore and open IE through the Guest account. There is an issue I've had in the past that still has not been resolved and that is having a webpage open, click a link within the site that opens another. This causes IE to freeze up every time unless I'm "quick to the draw" and minimize the original page right quick before the second page has a chance to completely load. (REAL BUMMER.)

I will most likely check into Firefox and/or some of the other browsers and the creating of a backup account. Again, thank you so much.

P.S. Oh, I almost forgot. Charter is not within the information found at the top of the opened web page. There is the IE icon, CNET Reviews - Microsoft Internet Explorer and that is all it shows.

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Ahh, that perhaps explains it.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / April 17, 2005 5:40 AM PDT
In reply to: THANX Mark

If your IE icon on the desktop, (the original one that didn't open), was set to open up to Hotmail as your home page, perhaps the Hotmail page wasn't loading. Although I would have expected the browser to open and just report a "failed to open web site" message, rather than freeze on you.

Try this 5d;

Open up your new IE icon to the Gmail page. Either, make that your homepage or goto something simple, eg and make that your home page.

Do you know how to make it your home page? In IE, goto Tools > Internet Options and under the General tab where it says "Home page", make a note of what the current home page is, (you can copy it and then paste the address into notepad), then click "Use Current". Click Apply, then OK. This changes the old homepage to the one the browser is currently displaying.

Close down that browser window, (you won't lose the shortcut to the Gmail page on your desktop), and then open up the apparently faulty IE icon. Does IE now work and open to the new homepage?

If so, then it is the Hotmail home page which is the problem. If it does work, then you have no need of the IEFix utility and should leave well alone. But you wuld then have to investigate what the problem was/is with the Hotmail homepage. That's why I suggested you make a note of the address, so you can copy it from notepad and paste it back into the browser address bar, and see what happens.

System Restore

Using XP you have a utility that was first introduced in Windows ME. System Restore. It never quite worked that well in ME but was a good try, but works very well in Windows XP. Goto Start > Help & Support, type in System Restore, and look at the System Restore overview. You can "create" restore points yourself, say, before you install any new applications, and XP will save your registry and other system settings. If the installation fails, or if the new program makes unexpected changes to your system, you can "restore" back to that point.

XP sets its own System Restore point once every 24 hours, (there is some confusion whether thats 24 hours of PC time, or the 24 hour clock. I'm not sure myself), and at other significant points. You can get to System Restore from Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools.

Tell me more about this "Freezing up" when you click a link within IE. Does this happen all the time, (eg does it happen with CNET pages), or just specific times?

Charter. OK that means your IE browser hasn't been modified by Charter, Happy


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Mark - I'm back!!
by 5dukesnnc / April 24, 2005 1:46 AM PDT

To make a long story short, Friday (22nd), I had a MAJOR lock up of my computer. No getting around it without doing a restore and unfortunately the restore mentioned above was not how I could accomplish it!

Had to reinstall ALL software as though the computer was just delivered to my home. I have to give the Dell technician in India a hand. He tried his best to help me get it done without this so-o-o-o I'm not sure how many of my problems I had BEFORE will still apply because I'm still adding.

I do have a few same questions and other questions if you don't mind (and I promise to look at it quicker than a week). Is there somewhere I need to go to be sure the System Restore in on? How often would you suggest a "backup" and what do you feel is important to be backed up.

Another thing I really want to keep the resources from draining so bad at start up. What imperative programs need to start with the system start up besides, of course, your firewall and anti-virus programs (since I have cable connection).

Thanks in advance for continuing to be the "knight in shining armor"!! :o)

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I'm sorry to hear from you
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / April 24, 2005 8:10 PM PDT
In reply to: Mark - I'm back!!

No, I don't mean that way, Happy I mean because you're still having problems.

Ask away 5d, myself and the others here will try and help you. If I can help with the questions you've posed here and you have more questions, you may want to consider raising a new thread. That way, other people don't have to sift through a mountain of replies to see what is what.

Anyway, step by step;

System Restore
Once you've got your computer back up and running, (or it seems you have already), check to see if System Restore is turned on.

The best way for you is to use "Help and Support" in the Start Menu. Type in System Restore and in the "Pick a task" list on the left is "Turn on System Restore". CLick that, and in the right pane you will see step 1, Open "System Properties". Click the underlined "Properties" and this will take you direct to System Restore on/off. Make sure there is no tick in the "Turn off System Restore" and under Disk space usage move the slider to Max. It should max out at 12% of your hard disk space.

Another way to get here is Start > Control Panel > System icon, click the System Restore tab.

Click Apply/OK as necessary, then it would be advisable to set a restore point. In Help and Support go back to the first page, click Performance and Maintenance, click "Using System Restore to undo changes", then in the right window find and click the "Run System Restore Wizard". (You can also find the wizard from the Start Menu, Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore). Follow the instructions to create a restore point.

It's really difficult to tell someone how often they should backup because eveyone's use of their computer is different. I can only say what I do.

I "don't" backup programs, or the Windows/System32 folder. I don't see the point because programs install files all over the computer and you're never likely to get a backup like that to restore properly.

I "do" create a System Restore point before I install any major programs, or before I upgrade any programs, or upgrade Windows, (Windows Update).

I "do" create backup CD's or DVD's of all my important documents, photos, music, videos, etc.

I also "export" my address book, (for email), Favorites, (for IE), Bookmarks, (for Firefox), to the desktop, and then back these up onto a CD.

If I am backing up to a CD, I make sure the recording session is "closed". Burning to a CD can be left open or can be closed. If it is left open, the CD can be used again to record another session if need be. But a CD left open may not be able to be read by another CD ROM, (or in the case of a complete re-install of an operating system after a major crash, by the same CD ROM).

If I make any changes to all these files, I backup the changes, even if it means making a new disk.

I try, (but I am not very successful), to keep uptodate a simple Word or Excel list of everything I have backed up to CD/DVD, and number the CD/DVD's accordingly.

I also make a note of my ISP connection settings and email POP and SMTP server settings, including username and password, and either print these out or copy the document to a CD. This has saved me expensive phone calls to my ISP many times.

Difficult one this 5d.

On your computer there are two places you can check for programs set to run at startup or running in the background.

Startup - Goto Start > Run, type in "msconfig" (without the quotes). In the System Configuration Utility, click the Startup tab. Here you can see what programs are set to run at startup. You can make changes here, although I feel it is best to track down the programs where you can and check their Options or Preferences and de-select "Run at startup", or "Place in System Tray, (Notification Area)" options.

If you decide to de-select in the System Configuration Utility, go back to the General Tab first and choose "Selective Startup", then return to the Startup tab and de-select them as you wish. Doing it this way, when you click "apply" you will be asked to reboot the computer, and on reboot, you will get a message warning you that you are on a selected startup. You can suppress that message until the next time you make any changes.

There is a useful web site at;
which lists startup programs. It is not easy to navigate, but is a good site.

Running Processes - Right click the Taskbar and choose Task Manager, (or press CTRL+ALT+DEL). Click the Processes tab and this lists all the processes running in the background. For Windows XP there is always a large number.

There is no easy way to explain all these. I don't know them all. But this web site;
lists them by alphabetical order, and is very useful as it explains what each does, and whether it is necessary, useless, or a virus/malware.

There's lots of information available about protecting your computer in the Virus & Security Alerts forum, (link on the left), but also if you look at this thread reply I gave a while ago, that may help you;

Lots of information here, and you may want to print it all out, (copy the text, and paste into Word, or whatever you use).

Knight in shining armour? Yep, I can live with that, Happy


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by 5dukesnnc / April 25, 2005 9:55 PM PDT

Reading quickly before heading to work but it looks like all the bases are covered so I'll do more extensive reading tonight.

I appreciate your help and like the idea of a list. I do that to keep up with tuts I'm doing in PSP so it makes good sense to do it for this as well.

I know there is somewhere on the computer that you can find your ISP information but sometimers has crept in and I can't remember. I have used Belarc Audit before. Really like this and my nephew, who is more computer savy, was impressed with the info you get as well.

Also, your comments about leaving CD session open. How do I control that? That's an area I'm not good at, especially when I would like to save MORE to a CD but don't want the new save to write over the old. So much to learn!

Again, thanks.

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You're welcome
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / April 26, 2005 12:55 AM PDT

and I hope it all helps 5d.

Your ISP information is your username and password. You should have that from any documentation you had with your ISP. Also, it is POP and SMTP settings in your email client software, eg if you use Outlook Express, open that, goto Tools > Accounts, and look around there. That will also give your username and password, but the password will normally be shown as ********.

Recording onto a CD and closed or open sessions depends what software you use to burn, (record), to the CD's. I would "not" use Windows Media Player's own burning options, because as I gather, WMP is limited in what it can do.

If you do have a CD/DVD R (R=Record) drive, you would normally have associated software with it, eg Roxio's EasyCD Creator.

When you start to burn data onto a CD you will get a window up asking whether you want to leave the session open or close it after the burn.

If you're up to it, :), more reading here about recording to CD;

and here, about sessions;

Good luck


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by Cursorcowboy / April 15, 2005 9:21 PM PDT

1. Fixing connectivity/WinSock problems:

a. "WinSock XP Fix" (Image) offers a last resort if your Internet connectivity has been corrupted due to invalid or removed registry entries. It can often cure the problem of lost connections after the removal of Adware components or improper uninstall of firewall applications or other tools that modify the XP network and Winsock settings. If you encounter connection problems after removing network related software, Adware or after registry clean-up; and all other ways fail, then "download" and give WinSock XP Fix a try, a 1,412kb file. It can create a registry backup of your current settings, so it is fairly safe to use.

b. "LSP-Fix" is a free utility that may be downloaded to repair certain problems associated with Internet software when you can no longer access Web sites due to bugs in the LSP software or deletion of software. LSP-Fix repairs the Winsock LSP chain by removing the entries left behind when LSP software is removed by hand (or when errors in the software itself break the LSP chain), and removing any gaps in the chain.

2. The article [Q305549] explains step-by-step of how to configure a connection to the Internet using the Network Connections tool in Control Panel. Your attention is also invited to "Configuring broadband Internet Connections (DSL, ADSL via PPoE) in Wndows XP."

3. The article [Q320558] discusses and warns that if you use the New Connection Wizard to create a new dial-up modem or PPP over Ethernet (PPPoE) connection, you may experience any one or more of the following issues and therefore cannot create a dial-up modem connection or PPPoE connection to the Internet unless the fault is corrected in the system registry:

? The Connect using a dial-up modem option in the New Connection Wizard is unavailable (appears dimmed).

? The Connect using a broadband connection that requires a user name and password option in the New Connection Wizard is unavailable.

4. Please refer to the article [Q314095] which describes ways to diagnose and resolve issues that can cause problems when you try to use an Internet browser, File Transfer Protocol (FTP), or Telnet to communicate with servers on the Internet. Also be aware of the discussion in the article, "Windows XP Internet Programs Cannot Connect to the Internet Through Broadband Connection (Q307164)," as necessary.

5. The article [Q813444] contains information and procedures used to troubleshoot situations where you cannot connect to SSL Secured (128-Bit) Web sites (https: followed by TWO forward-slashes).

Note: The following are areas discussed that in my opinion should be looked at closely:

? Create a new User Profile - [User Accounts].

? Register files - download and use "IEFix" - a general purpose fix for Internet Explorer (Win 98/ME/2000/XP).

? Verify that the Microsoft Cryptographic Services service is started - [Q822798].

Note: See Method 4 in the MSKB article Q822798 that is listed below concerning, "Reregister DLL files that are associated with Cryptographic Services".

6. If IE appears to stop responding (hangs) when opened but the animated globe in the upper-right corner of the browser window continues to spin, look to see if there is a message in the status bar such as Detecting proxy settings... [Q220902] and report that information for further assistance.

7. The article [Q314067] explains that there are utilities that can provide useful information when you are trying to determine the cause of TCP/IP networking problems and lists recommendations for use. Although the list is not complete, it does provide examples that show how you can use them to track down problems on the network setup.

8. When using a multiple-homed WinXP-based computer with the Personal Firewall feature enabled, remote users may not be able to connect to the computer in response to a Remote Assistance request. If a network adapter and a modem with the Personal Firewall feature is enabled, Remote Assistance may not open the firewall port on the modem connection which can occur because Remote Assistance opens the firewall port only on the first bound network adapter of the multiple-homed computer, [Q308210].

9. The article [Q329441] explains that if you install Service Pack 1 (SP1) and then use the System Restore feature to restore Windows to a state before the installation of the service pack, you may experience the following symptoms:

? You cannot create a remote access or Dial-Up Networking connection. All items on the "Network Connection" page of the New Connection Wizard are unavailable (dimmed).

? The Network Connections folder is empty.

? The Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) and Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) services do not start because of a dependency failure.

Note: In addition, this article describes and covers several type events which are recorded and displayed in the System log of the Event Viewer, which may assist in troubleshooting like symptoms regardless of whether SP1 is involved or upgrading the OS.

10. These two articles describes how to manage stored user names and passwords on a computer:

? "HOW TO: Manage Stored User Names and Passwords on a Computer That Is Not in a Domain in Windows XP (Q306541)"


? "HOW TO: Manage Stored User Names and Passwords on a Computer in a Domain in Windows XP (Q306992)."

a. You can use the Save Password option so that your Dial-Up Networking (DUN) password is cached and you will not need to enter it on successive dial attempts. The Remote Access Service (RAS) password for DUN is recorded in the system registry with parameters as follows:


[Dword]: Value Name and Value Data


0 [zero (disabled and password saved)]

1 [one (enabled and password is not saved requiring it to be entered on each session)]

b. The article [Q315231] describes how to configure Windows to automate the logon process by storing your password and other pertinent information in the registry database.

? This feature allows other users to start your computer and use the account that you establish to automatically log on and can pose a security risk.

? If you set a computer for automatic logon, anyone who can physically gain access to the computer can also gain access to everything that is on the computer, including any network or networks that the computer is connected to. In addition, if you enable automatic logon, the password is stored in the following registry key in plain text. The specific registry key that stores this value is remotely readable by the Authenticated Users group. As a result, using this setting is appropriate only if the computer is physically secured and if you ensure that untrusted users cannot remotely see the registry.


c. The article [Q322962] warns that when you try to log on to WinXPPro, you may receive the following message that occurs when your password is set to expire after a predefined number of days and explains how to prevent the password on a local user account from expiring:

Your password will expire in number of days. Do you want to change it now?

Note: In addition, the article [Q321305] describes the procedure should you have forgotten your password, or if your password expired and you cannot create a new one. In essence, if you have not created a password reset disk and you have also forgotten the password for all user accounts, you cannot log on to your existing Windows installation for security reasons. This information applies to starting Windows XP typically, to Safe mode, and to Recovery Console. In this case, you must perform a clean installation of Windows, re-create all user accounts, and reinstall all of your programs.

d. In addition, the XP interface provides an opportunity to set a permanent Internet connection when Fast User Switching is enabled. This wizard provides a prompt for choosing between the default, Anyone?s use which means the connection will stay open when switching to another user, or My use only which will drop the connection when a user switches. It may be useful to keep a Dial-Up Internet connection open simply because if it is not, a guest account will not be able to access the Internet using Dial-Up.

(1) Click Start, Run, and type regedit.

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

Note: Click the Plus box in front of HKLM to expand it and continue clicking/expanding appropriate folders (each word preceded by a backslash in the above address) until reaching the last, "Winlogon". Click it, to bold/highlight.

(2) Right-click in the right pane, select New, String Value, and name this key KeepRasConnections.

(3) Double-click this key and set the value to 1 (one).

(4) Click Registry in the main menu and select Exit to save the session. Or simply click the x in the URHC of the window to close the Registry Editor tool. Respond with an affirmative to save the editing and to close the editor.

11. Supplemental reading:

a. "HOW TO: Determine Which Program Uses or Blocks Specific Transmission Control Protocol Ports (Q281336)."

b. "HOW TO: Save and Restore Dial-up Connections (Q284269)."

c. "Behavior of RAS Connections With the Fast User Switching Feature (Q289669)."

d. "HOW TO: Configure Windows XP TCP/IP to Use DNS (Q305553)."

e. "HOW TO: Configure Internet Connection Sharing in Windows XP (Q306126).

f. "Troubleshooting America Online in Windows XP (Q306478)."

g. "HOW TO: Provide Remote Assistance In Response to Windows Messenger Invitation in Windows XP (Q306800)."

h. "Troubleshooting Cable Modems (Q310089)."

i. "HOW TO: Configure and Use Dial-Up Connections in Windows XP (Q310410)."

j. "Error 691 or Error 734 When You Attempt to Establish a Dial-Up Connection in Windows XP (Q310431)."

k. "Error Message: Invalid DHCP Lease (Q310524)", which also contains several links covering additional information about cable modem and IP configuration troubleshooting.

l. "Possible Issues and Resolutions for Slow Connection Speeds in Windows XP (Q310590)."

m. "HOW TO: Configure a Connection to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) in Windows XP (Q314076)."

n. "Error 691 - Error Message When You Try to Connect to Your ISP (Q314455)."

o. "Computer Restarts Unexpectedly When You Browse the Internet (Q316416)."

p. "Error 721, Error 678, Error 691, or Error 777 Error Message When You Try to Establish a Dial-Up Connection After You Upgrade to Windows XP (Q318009)."

q. "Modem Issues, Auto-Connect/Disconnect & Dialup for Windows XP."

r. "You cannot install some updates or programs (Q822798)."

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