Troubleshooting Q&A - January 25, 2005
Is Router to Blame for Connection Error?
When you can't access a Web site, should you blame your router or is the problem more likely in your browser settings? Plus, why you might be getting inundated with 'runtime error' messages.
By Ron Pacchiano
Q. My sister just got a DSL line for her house and asked me to set up her computer. I had an old NetGear FV318 router lying around my office that we didn't need anymore and installed it at her location.
For the most part everything seemed to be working fine. I could cruise the Internet quickly and log into AOL without problem. A few days later she called and told me that she's having a problem accessing the Internet. My sister is somewhat computer illiterate, so I knew she wasn't having a problem actually accessing the Internet, but nevertheless I stopped at her house to see what was going on. Sure enough, the Internet was working fine, but when I tried to login to this one site I started to get a bunch of error messages.
When I was finally able to clear all of the error messages and enter her account credentials I got a message from Internet Explorer saying "Access Denied." I'm at a lost to explain this. I know that this particular router has the capability to block access to certain sites either by name or by category, but I couldn't find anything that suggested that this was happening. I'm planning on getting her another router to try and get around the problem, but I'm not entirely confident that this will solve it. In case that fails, I was wondering if you had any other ideas on what could be causing this to happen?
A. First of all, whenever you ask a question of this nature it's always helpful to supply me with the router make and model (as you did) and the address of the Web sites where you have experienced this problem, so that I can try to recreate it myself. However, with the information you did provide I can offer a few words of advice.
For starters, I'm reasonably sure that the router is not your problem. Although many broadband routers (like your FV318) have the capability to block entire Web sites based on the URL or IP address, they are usually a bit complicated to configure. So I doubt you could have enabled it accidentally, but to rule it out completely, though, I would test it. To do this you don't even need pick up another router. Just disconnect the NetGear and plug your DSL line directly to your PC. This will give you completely unrestricted (and unprotected) access to the Internet. Now try to access that same Web site. If it works, then the NetGear router is without question the cause of your problem. At that point, I would suggest you reset it to the factory defaults to clear the problem.
However, I'm sure your going to find that this isn't the source of the problem. A more likely possibility is that there is (or was) a site error or scripting error on the page you were trying to access. It's not uncommon for sites to have these kinds of errors, which are usually unwittingly introduced when the site is updated or content is somehow changed. Sometimes these can manifest themselves as permissions errors. If the problem is intermittent or clears up after a while, this is most likely the case.
You didn't say what version of Internet Explorer you are using, but I would check to make sure I was using the latest version with all of the service packs installed. It's also reasonable to think that your IE settings were inadvertently changed or corrupted. I've seen this occur on many occasions. You can reset your settings under Tools, then Internet Options. Choose the Security tab and click Default Level, then choose Advanced and click Restore defaults. You might also try deleting your cookies and temporary files. Also, I'm assuming here that you're using Internet Explorer. If you where using Netscape Navigator or some other Web browser, then it's also possible that the page your trying to access is an Active Server page, which can be used only with Internet Explorer.
One last thought: There is a possibility that this could just be human error. You mentioned that this typically happens on sites where you need to supply a login name and password to gain access. It's possible that you just might have entered this information incorrectly. Perhaps you inadvertently had the cap lock key on. I know it's unlikely, but don't rule it out. Good Luck!
Q. I have a HP Compaq D530 CMT computer with Windows XP Home and I'm using version 6 of Internet Explorer. Recently, I've been having a problem with Internet Explorer and can't seem to figure out what's causing it or how to get rid of it and was hoping you would be able to help me. It seems like lately whenever I browse the Web I'll frequently receive an error message from Internet Explorer that reads Runtime error do you wish to debug. First of all, I don't even know what debug means. Second, sometimes I'll need to press the NO button multiple times before the message goes away. It didn't always do this and has far as I know nobody in the house had done anything to the PC (although I won't completely rule out my kids). I'm pretty computer illiterate, but I know enough to perform Windows and virus updates and a regular basis, so I thought I was protected from this type of stuff. Could it be a virus? I had called Best Buy's Geek Squad to come repair it, but they want an exorbitant amount of money just to walk in the door. So I turn to you. Any idea how I could resolve this? Thanks!
A. I feel your frustration here. I had experienced this same problem once and it was very annoying. Fear not, though. This is an easy fix. For starters, I doubt very much that this is a virus. Typically, this message is being displayed because there is an option selected in Internet Explorer that tells it to display a notification whenever a script error is found on a page. The script error is a problem with coding used to make up the page or a component of it. The term debug in computing is the process of locating and fixing or bypassing bugs (errors) in computer program code. If you were a programmer, you would what to see these messages so that you could correct your code. Since your not, you obviously don't need this notification. How it got selected I can't say, but luckily getting rid of it is quite simple. Just do the following:
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