Losing Internet Browser Connection on Windows Vista?

I posted a blog a while ago with a possible fix, which involved changing some registry settings to prevent the internet connection being dropped when Vista goes into sleep/hibernation mode. However, this did not work for me after all. After some more digging (there are tens of thousands of websites discussing the Vista internet problems) I found some new possible solutions. I tackled them in a totally unscientific way, so am not sure what worked – but something certainly worked for me. 

To recap:

  • Dell Inspiron PC
  • Netgear 834 router
  • Windows Vista Home Edition
  • Firefox 3
  • Chrome

On a regular basis I was losing internet connection while browsing. At first I thought that it was a Firefox problem as on losing the connection, Firefox would crash, and End Task did nothing. The only solution was a reboot. However, it then happened in Chrome too, so I stopped blaming Firefox. Some forums said AVG was the problem, as it did not know what the new .sqlite file types are that Firefox uses to store cookies in. So I uninstalled AVG, and installed Avast Home edition instead. But I do not think that this worked as Chrome later crashed. I then found another forum suggesting that Zone Alarm was the problem. So I ditched that too, and fired up the Windows Firewall. I then found another forum talking about Vista having trouble with IPV6, an internet protocol thing that replaces IPV4. First I hacked Firefox to ignore IPV6, but before fully testing, I decided to change the Vista configuration to also not use IPV6. Since then everything is working fine. Must be about 24 hours of relatively intensive use – i.e. Firefox and Chrome open, both with several tabs, plus email and Skype. All OK so far. I was even using PuTTy and FireFTP earlier with no problems. 

I still cannot be sure what has fixed the problem, but it looks like disabling IPV6 was the trick. This is what I did, in order:

  1. Uninstalled AVG Free and installed Avast
  2. Uninstalled ZoneAlarm firewall and using Windows firewall
  3. Disabled ipv6 in Firefox, but then after this
  4. Disabled ipv6 on server – learn how to disable IPv6 here

So far all OK.

I am tempted to reinstall AVG now (or later, give Windows internet connection a chance to crash again) and go from there. Maybe it was ipv6? Whatever that is. But maybe AVG (one forum mentioned something it FF using .sqlite file and AVG getting upset about it. I dunno. But it is working for now.

  18 comments for “Losing Internet Browser Connection on Windows Vista?

  1. MatthewT
    June 3, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Hi, been having exactly the same problem for a while now. Will try that IPv6 thing, fingers crossed it works.

  2. Jacquie
    July 30, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Hi, I have the same problem and disable the IPv6 and it hasn’t fixed it. Browser still freezes and the only way to get the connection back is to reboot. I’ve tried chrome, FF and also run IE8. They all do the same thing, so it’s not the browser.
    I’m also running AVG and Zonealarm. Should I be uninstalling those and doing a reinstall?
    Is your system running ok now?
    Thanks in advance

  3. Webologist
    July 30, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Hi Jacquie,
    Yes, my system is running fine now. I did abandon AVG and now use Avast! (another free AV for home users). Not sure if that was the issue though. I really think that in my case disabling IPv6 worked, but maybe different computers / routers interact in different and mysterious ways. Sorry I cannot be of more help.

  4. Jacquie
    August 10, 2009 at 2:37 am

    Hi Webologist

    Well guess what? I’ve finally fixed it and I don’t know how. lol
    I did disable the IPv6, and also read somwhere else to disable LinkScanner in AVG…so I did that.
    I then did another check disk, and then a defrag.
    When that was completed I ran Advanced System care and it makde a few corrections to the registry and deleted a ton of temp files. I then ran CC cleaner.
    so….5 days running and NO lockups, or browser freezes. I think it’s now fixed!!
    Here’s a link to Advanced System Care (it’s free)
    Link to CC Cleaner which is also free
    good luck to anyone still have problems. I’d be curious if this works.
    Jacquie

  5. Jacquie
    August 10, 2009 at 3:01 am

    A few notes to add to my post above.

    On Advanced System Care run Maintain windows scan, with Spyware removal, Registry Fix and Junk File clean checked.
    I didn’t run the Privacy sweep so left that unchecked.

    I then ran Diagnose System on Advanced System Care, and ran the scan with System Optimization checked and Security Analyzer. But left the Security Defense and Disk Defrag unchecked.

    With the CC Cleaner I ran it mainly to clean up any other temp files and index.dat files but pretty much let it clean up whatever it found in all browsers (google, firefox and IE8)

    Hope this helps someone

  6. SartriX
    August 10, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    My girlfriend and I both had the same problem. Disabling the LinkScanner from AVG did the trick!

    So AVG can -stay installed-
    ZoneAlarm can -stay installed-
    IPv6 can -stay active-

    All that’s required is disabling the LinkScanner component of AVG and it works fine again

  7. Webologist
    August 10, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    It seems that different systems must be having different problems. I completely uninstalled AVG and it still crashed. Maybe there are a multitide of problems caused by various configurations, and we are just getting lucking in disabling the right thing!

  8. Jacquie
    August 10, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    Mine is running a lot faster after doing all the scans and removing unwanted files. Advanced System Care also removes bad files in the registry.

    A word of warning with Advanced system Care. When you run the Diagnose system, it will come up with a list of files which can be infected or corrupt. Do not delete any of those unless you’re sure it’s infected with malware. I left all of those files as is.

    I do think the combination of disabling the AVG link scanner and IPv6, then generally cleaning up the computer did the trick.

    Still no crashes or freezes and I’m tickled pink! lol

    good luck everyone. I’m still interested to hear how others fair with the fix.

  9. Jeffr
    August 17, 2009 at 5:38 am

    Hi there!
    I had to share this, I’ve been suffering with this appalling problem ever since buying this Vista equipped laptop (Toshiba M700 Portege)

    I believe it may have been a combination of things were causing me issues.
    I used to get it initially, and then additionally added AVG to my setup.

    I started to try to fix the problem with key things being:
    I turned off IP6 in Network and Sharing Center>View Status>Properties

    Then I turned off something known as TCPChecksumOffloadIPv4 and v6 as well as the equivalents for UDPChecksumOffloadIPv4 and v6.
    To do this click start and type regedit. Then search for “TCPChecksumOffloadIP ” and set the Data value to 0.

    Each of the steps lowered the frequency of the problem.

    The most recent time it occured was just now – the biggest occurrence of the problem as a reboot wouldn’t fix it… As per previous comment.

    AVG Anti-Virus Free, double click LinkScanner, and uncheck “Enable AVG Search-Shield”, and “Enable AVG Active Surf-Shield”

    So far perfect!

    Thanks everyone, and good luck everyone who follows this. 🙂

    Best wishes

    J

  10. max
    August 20, 2009 at 9:37 am

    “My girlfriend and I both had the same problem. Disabling the LinkScanner from AVG did the trick!

    So AVG can -stay installed-
    ZoneAlarm can -stay installed-
    IPv6 can -stay active-

    All that’s required is disabling the LinkScanner component of AVG and it works fine again”

    thanks SartriX it works for me.

  11. Ace
    August 30, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Hey Guys,

    I was running 32 Bit Vista Ultimate last year and encountered this problem, at the time i searched all over the internet and got no solutions. so i got so fed up i did a system reinstal over christmas and changed to 64 Bit. been fine sicne until last week when it started happening again. Im going to try disabling AVG Link scanner first and see how that works. ill post back and let you guys know if it worked or not. also im running zone alarm too.

  12. Webologist
    August 30, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Lets us know. It is an odd problem. I now run Avast and everything is fine. Still think it was th ivp6 though.

  13. Ace
    August 30, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    maybe it is the ipv6 thing because the link scanner didnt seem to do it! this is so frustrating.

  14. elliot
    September 9, 2009 at 6:18 am

    by means that i won’t go into in depth i found that AVG v8-8.5.x is the cause of them problem (internet connection dropping in browser only, unable to reopen firefox when closed or force quit in taskmananger). earlier i disabled ipv6 to no avail before i figured this out, but i’m fairly certain you can either try disablinig link scanner or completely uninstalling avg, either way your problem will probably be solved.

  15. Tim
    October 12, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Yep worked for me!.. 2 days now and no problems.
    I’d hunted high and low for a solutio and had almost given up on it.. Dell’s solution was to format the laptop!!!

  16. Webologist
    October 12, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    Format the laptop! LOL!

  17. JazZY
    December 2, 2009 at 7:09 am

    Thank You Thank You Thank You!! I had been pulling out my hair.
    Out of the blue my internet connection became so slow that Verizon Checkup/Updates timed out for inactivity. Then I lost the ablity to record DVD’s…Win DVD Maker stop reading that blank media is inserted, and with slow connection…DELL Driver update to the DVD was out of the question. Searching the net for solution became the: find the needle in the haystack…lol.
    The day I found your site will not be forgotten. I disabled my IPV6 in Network connection, turned off Norton Firewall…turned back on Windows Firewall…left Windows Defender off…Connection was a little faster…but slower than normal…So I checked my Windows latest Updates for the month of November…uninstalled them…one was for Media package…it really didn’t matter at that point…what ever was installed the first 2wks of November was removed (4 total) with only the Media pk. returning as Important..still not loaded…Ran Spydoctor Reg Mechanic…then Optimized the system. After restarting my Pandora loaded/connected with ease…IE popped like magic…and all images are appearing. I’m cooking with gas now with great speed. My DVD problelm: like this problem…from researching I found that I’m not alone after downloading ITunes that had a faulty driver or something that will zap out the recorder…but I’m hopeful that with my return to speed I’ll find a good solution. Thanks again for helping with my main headache. ~J (Dell Inspiron 530S-Vista 32bit-Home Edition-July 2008)

  18. Vic McDoogle
    February 2, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    Brilliant. I have been searching for I don’t know how long for a solution to these problems on my Dell Inspiron 531 with Vista Home Premium. Everything else has been ineffectual and I was sceptical that this would work but hey-ho, it was worth a try.

    I disabled the IPv6, and had uninstalled AVG last week anyway as I found it annoying and prefer Avast anyway.
    I downloaded and ran Advanced SystemCare and then CC cleaner.
    Restarted.
    I think it’s now fixed!

    Avast Anti-Virus
    Zone Alarm firewall
    Internet Explorer 7 (removing 8 was a previously recommended solution), but I also have Firefox and Chrome.

    Thanks so much

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