'Cannot Find Server' error after applying XP Service Pack 2?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Denise D. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I have Windows XP and currently subscribe to the Road Runner high-speed Internet service (offered by Time Warner). I have tried to install Windows XP Service Pack 2, but after installing it, I could no longer access the Internet. I kept receiving a message 'cannot find server' on all sites through Internet Explorer. Subsequently, I had to uninstall the Service Pack in order to regain access to the web. What do I need to do in order to install the service pack and have access to the Internet? "

My response:

This has been a frequently asked question, and I believe it has to do with a registry problem.

If you had no problems connecting to the Internet (and could send email, for example) but could *not* use Internet Explorer, that should tell you that the problem was not related with your Internet connection, but with Internet Explorer.

In a likely scenario, what most likely happened is that a Spyware / homepage hijacker (at some point) made its ways onto your system and affected the way that Internet Explorer was working. Perhaps you noticed PopUps on your system and it prompted you to do a Spyware scan / removal? The Spyware was probably removed successfully, but, depending on what Spyware solution you used to clean your system, it may have neglected to completely remove parts of the malware; subsequently, some traces of the Spyware were left in your System Registry. After you applied SP2, Internet Explorer could not function properly because part of your registry was corrupted from the Spyware / malware attack.

Possible Solutions

1. Use a good Spyware Removal tool to clean your system before applying SP2. Spybot S&D / AdAware are adequate, but I personally use and recommend Spy Sweeper to clean my system. Spy Sweeper version 3.2 [latest] offers a very high level of protection (including a Spyware-blocking mechanism for Internet Explorer) -- but most importantly, Spy Sweeper stops the majority of Spyware from getting onto my system before it has a chance to cause damage to the System Registry and core functionality of my computer.

2. Clean your Registry before applying SP2 (not necessarily required for everyone, but especially true for your case). As I have previous outlined (in this and other articles), some Spyware removal utilities may effectively stop Spyware from running ramped on your system, but do a poor job of removing all instances of the malware from the Registry. Side note: over time, programs (even Spyware) are installed and uninstalled to a Windows PC, and the System Registry becomes bloated with incorrect and outdated information. All too often, poorly designed programs (such as Spyware) make erroneous changes to references in the Registry, which can cause Windows to behave erratically, produce strange error messages, slow down, or even crash spontaneously.

Subsequently, you may need to use a third-party Registry cleaning utility before applying SP2 in order to reclaim integrity. Registry Mechanic is by far the best Registry cleaner on the market, and an in-depth review has been recently written in our newsletter.

3. According to a forum posting at DaniWeb: if, after applying SP2 you still have problems with Internet Explorer reporting that it 'cannot find server', you can: a) reset your WinSock, as discussed in Microsoft KB article #175722, or try a utility called WinSockXPFix; b) Flush your DNS registry record. This is discussed in detail at UpdateXP.com.

Hope that helps.

RE: " Why all the Hype on XP Service Pack 2 in the newsletter lately? "

You may have noticed that the Gazette newsletter has featured a number of recent articles pertaining to Service Pack 2. The flood of XP SP2 articles are in part of my special eBook release, but more importantly, to address the frequently asked questions (FAQs) from our Readers. As I have stated previously, it is particularly helpful to answer FAQs through the newsletter, so that I can direct users to articles when responding to SP2-related questions in email.

As a friendly reminder, I would also like to point out that the Service Pack 2 FailSafe Guide special promotion will end midnight tomorrow (December 7th, 2004). If you purchase my Service Pack 2 eBook guide before that time, you can save up to 54% off the retail price. So don't wait another minute -- jump on this offer before it's too late! Your contributions are greatly appreciated (and needed) to help our web site to continue to grow!

Details are in the link below:

Major Announcement: XP Service Pack 2 eBook release

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