The Problem: following a Norton Internet Security uninstall, I could ping IP addresses and hostnames, but not browse to either. Running XP’s Network Diagnostic gave me something like: “Windows cannot connect to the Internet using HTTP, HTTPS, or FTP”. The problem went away when running in Safe Mode.
I tried everything, including:
- various virus/spyware scans
- uninstalling/disabling anything that looked remotely like a firewall or virus scanner
- using msconfig to disable services and startup programs
- ran through You receive an error message in Internet Explorer: “Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage”
- ran through How to troubleshoot network connectivity problems in Internet Explorer
- HijackThis analysis and repairs
- LSP/Winsock fixes
- device driver reinstall
The Solution: run the Norton Removal Tool.
After 10+ hours of debugging, the problem was that my initial uninstall of Norton Internet Security had left severed limbs of that wretched beast still clawing at the vital organs of the WinXP laptop. I could hardly believe it. I did find Symantec remnants scattered around the system during my trials, but I dutifully removed them all. Yet somewhere, somehow, Norton was still doing what it does best: grinding computers to a halt. Reminds me of a Haiku that a wise man once wrote…