March 4, 2013

Windows 7 unable to access Facebook

This weekend I was trying to debug a Windows 7computer that was not able to access certain websites, such as facebook.com, nytimes.com and cnn.com. This only happened to the desktop computer and no other computer on the network. When I tried ping nytimes.com on the desktop computer, this is what I got:

Pinging nytimes.com [170.149.168.130] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 144.24.124.100: Destination host unreachable.

I searched around online but didn't see anything that would help. I checked the virus status, using SpyBot and Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool and they didn't find any issue. The host file, and Firewall connections did have any IP address or websites blocked. Nothing came up as the root of the cause. There's nothing in the Event Logs that would explain why the site was blocked.

I also cleared all the cache files from all the browsers, Firefox, Safari and Chrome and it didn't make any difference.

I even tried resetting the TCP/IP stack, as per suggested by Microsoft:

ipconfig /flushdns
nbtstat -R
nbtstat -RR
netsh int reset all
netsh int ip reset
netsh winsock reset
REBOOT

One thing that I did notice when I used Fiddler2 was that when I would try to access facebook.com, it would hang at fbstatic-a.akamaihd.net. There's no logical reason to why this is happening.

I am still looking into the cause, but one interusting bit is that when the computer was taken to Best Buy's Geek Squad, they had no problems accessing the Facebook sites. Which is weird, because this issue is specific to this computer. No other computers on the network encountered this problem.

The search goes on. One possible solution would be to install Windows 8, but we're not sure if that would really solve the problem.

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