Friday, 10 July 2009

Vista problems and cures

Well I just had to blog about the problems that I have had with Vista Ultimate on my laptop and Vista Home on my husband's laptop. Both new laptops with the same problems. Of course to add confusion to the equation, I bought a new wifi router too!! I figure somebody will appreciate reading my findings and save them the headache that I have had.

Problem 1: Internet cuts out about every half hour. I could still read emails in Outlook, use MSN, download torrents etc.... but no browsing using Firefox 3.5 or IE 8. On closing the browser, I found that it was still showing in the system processes and would not shut down however hard I tried. Restart of the router didn't help because it wasn't an internet problem. A complete restart of laptop was the only cure... and it seemed to take ages to shut down, to the point I thought it had frozen (but it hadn't). As I say, this problem was on 2 brand new laptops and to a certain degree affecting my son's Vista laptop too.

Problem 2: Thumbnails and other images not showing on certain web pages, namely ebay, deviantart and this blog!! Again on both laptops but seemed worse using firefox.

Now, when I got these laptops I uninstalled Mcafee from Mark's laptop and Eset NOD32 Antivirus from mine. I then installed
AVG and Zone alarm to both. What I have discovered are various problems. Firstly, I needed to use the Mcafee and Eset removal tools to eliminate all traces of the programs, and check the registry was completely clear. This alone could cause problems with any newly installed antivirus software. Secondly, I found that Zone Alarm and probably AVG just don't run too well with Vista. On many, many hours of research, I decided to uninstall both, clear the registry again and install Avira Antivirus and Outpost Firewall. Lo and behold, problem 1 is solved instantly. Not one cut-off since I did these things.

Problem 2 of not seeing images, I found out that some routers have a setting called 'SYN Flood protection that stops DOS attacks. For technical reasons that I don't really understand, some sites, including Firefox and Google Maps have concurrent connections to a single server and can cause these false DOS attack alarms and therefore affect your routers connection to these sites. On investigation you will see messages like this in your routers status page:

02/02/2008 20:12:34 **SYN Flood to Host**, 3350->>, 80 (from WAN Outbound)

Many routers have the following option:
"Maximum incomplete TCP/UDP sessions number from same host"
Commonly the default value is 10. People report that changing it to 30 or 50 solves problems.

I took the advice above and changed my TCP/UDP setting to 50 and that has solved problem number 2.

It has taken me about 3 days of research to find the underlying problems because these problems can be caused by many different reasons, so it was a case of elimination. I'm damn sure I won't be the only person experiencing all this and I do hope that I have helped somebody and saved them the trauma of trying to find answers!!

Now my internet is super fast with my new
SMC N router with no cut outs and I am really happy with Vista after being a bit unsure at first.

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