I'm also having the "Cannot find server or DNS error" problem, but only when I hit secure web sites, it seems. I can, for instance, get to Wells Fargo's main page, but not to my account. I can log in to a few sites, but most I cannot. Access to most http sites seems fine. And if I watch the IE status bar very carefully when trying to access these sites I can see a message stating "dns error" flash by before it goes ot the "Cannot find server..." page.
I have been reading the posts on this thread in this and other forums back to March of 2003 and I think I have tried everything except to wipe the hard drive and start over. Before I do that I thought I'd post here - I like to actually "fix" problems rather than just make them go away ;) .
I do not have problems getting to these web sites from other computers, and they ping fine from this problematic computer. I'm running XP Home on a Dell Inspiron which I've been cleaning up for my sister (getting all the junk off it that came with it) and I'm was afraid maybe I turnied off a service I shouldn't have, so I went thru them all line-by-line with eldergeek.com and I don't believe that is the problem. To troubleshoot this, I have made this the only computer on my DSL LAN, plugged directly into the modem. I'm running IE 6, though I've tried Mozilla's FireFox too (see below)
What I've done:
-hard-wired the DNS server IDs in the LAN settings
-ran the winsockxpfix.exe (twice for good measure )
-flushed the dns cache (ipconfig /flushdns)
-carefully followed some instructions for messing with the registry (http://www.duxcw.com/yabbse/index.php?board=2;action=display;threadid=1873;start=45 about half-way down the page)
-I've made sure that all the security protocols are turned on (SSL 2 & 3 and TLS)
-Yahoo messenger ran untill I installed the recent "security update" and now it won't run - uninstalled and reinstalled it completely but it doesnt work (of course the new version I reinstalled includes the security update). I went back to an earlier restore point from before I updated yahoo msngr and it worked, so something in the security update in interacting with my strange problem.
-I downloaded and installed Mozilla's new FireFox browser and it can't get to ANY site at all...not even Google.com. It gives me the error "The connection was refused when attempting to contact (url)"
I have not re-installed IE, or Windows as I mentioned. I'm sure I've tried other things I haven't listed above, as I've been working on it for days. I was just sure I'd found the answer when i ran across posts about "broken winsocks" but if that's the problem, the solutions I've found so far haven't done the trick.
Any suggestions would be most welcome! Please tell me if there is more info I should provide to help troubleshoot. Thanks.