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WinClient Update, July 6, 2006--The Dreaded Phone Call: "The Internet has stopped working"

Windows Client UPDATE, July 6, 2006--The Dreaded Phone Call: "The Internet has stopped working"

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1. Commentary

- The Dreaded Phone Call: "The Internet has stopped working"
- Editor's Note: Calling All Windows IT Pro Innovators
2. News & Views

- EU Members Back Massive Microsoft Fines

3. Resources

- Tip: When Local Connectivity Won't Work for Windows XP Users
- Featured Threads:
- T'is the Season: David Chernicoff talks disaster recovery
- Group Policy, Group Management

4. New and Improved

- Whirling Dervishes Software Announces Alpha ZIP
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a Best Buy Gift Card!

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==== 1. Commentary ====

The Dreaded Phone Call: "The Internet has stopped working"

by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

In my work with the small-business community, in one of the phone calls I dread, the client tells me, "The Internet has stopped working." It's rarely obvious what the real problem is, and walking the client through diagnostic steps over the phone can often be quite frustrating.

I provide a basic diagnostic checklist to my small-business clients, but I find that going over it with them is often the best way to make sure they have followed the steps. Simply asking whether something other than the desktop computer has been restarted invariably gets me a "yes" answer, regardless of whether the device has been restarted or not. This checklist has saved me a lot of time in dealing with simple support tasks.

1. Does the problem affect all the computers in the office or just a specific computer or group of computers?

2. If the problem affects all the computers in the office, has the network connection device (e.g., cable modem, DSL modem) been rebooted?

3. If the problem is limited to a subset of the computers in the office, such as a wireless network, has the router been rebooted?

4. If the problem is a specific computer, has the computer been rebooted?

Notice the theme? In most cases, you can solve local-hardware-related connection problems by restarting the appropriate hardware and letting it rediscover the network on its own. Also, the order in which the user restarts devices can make a difference. Restarting in incorrect order (e.g., restarting the router when the cable connection is down) can prevent the restarted downstream device from finding the connection to the outside world, which means needing to reboot the downstream device yet again. For clients who have multiple devices between their desktops and the Internet, I provide a hard-copy checklist of tasks to complete to restart the client's network, listed in the order the tasks must be completed.

Getting clients comfortable with using the Network Connection Repair utility can also cut down on support calls. If a client can't access network resources from a desktop computer, I always suggest that he or she first try repairing the connection. To repair the connection, right-click the network connection icon in the system tray and select Repair. (Or Repair Link, for Windows XP.) If the network icon isn’t in the system tray, open My Network Places from the Start menu, click View network connections, then right-click the Local Area Connection that comes up in the right pane of the window. (For Windows XP, in the Status dialog box click the Support tab.) Select Repair from the context menu. The dialog will state whether Repair runs successfully; if Repair fails, a failure message will appear and the user will have to take additional steps, usually with network devices rather than the desktop computer.

Editor's Note:

Calling All Windows IT Pro Innovators!

Have you developed a solution that uses Windows technology to solve a business problem in an innovative way? Enter your solution in the 2006 Windows IT Pro Innovators Contest! Grand-prize winners will receive airfare and a conference pass to Windows and Exchange Connections in Las Vegas, November 6-9, 2006, plus more great prizes and a feature article about the winning solutions in the December 2006 issue of Windows IT Pro. Contest runs through August 1, 2006. To enter, go to this URL:


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==== 2. News & Views ====

by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

In a sweeping endorsement of the European Union (EU) case against Microsoft, all 25 EU members voted unanimously on Monday to support the European Commission's (EC's) plan to fine the company up to $2.6 million per day for failing to comply with EU requirements. The fines would be backdated to December 2005, sources say, and would continue daily until the software giant complied.

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==== 3. Resources ====


When local connectivity won't work for Windows XP users and you're getting “Page Cannot Be Displayed” messages, you can take several steps to fix the problem. For end users, the simplest solution is to install the Network Diagnostics Tool for Windows XP, which adds a Diagnose Connection Problems entry to the Tools menu of Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). When you execute the tool, it runs tests on your local computer's IP configuration, Winsock, DNS, firewall, and general Internet connectivity.

To install the tool, go to and download Guided Help. Doing so will download the tool to your computer, where it can be installed locally. Additional assistance for solving Internet connection problems can be found at that Web site.

--David Chernicoff

Featured Threads--

T'is the Season

If hurricanes, floods, wildfires, or tornados are threatening your region, you might want to peruse David Chernicoff's article sooner rather than later! Find "Take the First Step to a Complete DR Solution," at

Managing Groups Through Group Policy

At our company, we frequently need a group to manage client computers but not crucial servers. Although there is no such built-in group, a good systems engineer can create one. We found two ways to do so. Check out "The Missing Link in Windows' Group Hierarchy," at

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==== 4. New and Improved ====

by Caroline Marwitz, [email protected]

Whirling Dervishes Software and Neobyte Solutions announced Alpha ZIP 1.2, a Windows file compression utility. Alpha ZIP lets users shrink files and email them in one operation. Users can also use Alpha ZIP to archive files to save hard disk space. The program can determine whether files are corrupt, and it's integrated with many widely available virus scanners to check for viruses within compressed archives. Alpha ZIP 1.2 includes a new set-up feature for software developers that makes using application download files after they're compressed and sent easier. Alpha ZIP 1.2 also features improvements in file self-extracting. In addition to .zip files, the program handles compressed cabinet format (.cab) files, and many other formats. Alpha ZIP is integrated with Windows and runs on Windows XP/2003/2000/NT 4/Me/98. A single-user license is $29.95, and a 20-day trial version can be downloaded from

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