DNS Troubles

Posted on: April 14th, 2005 4:03 AM GMT

By: Greg Reimer (Code Monkey Extraordinaire)

Topic: tech, life, computers

I just got done fixing my computer. Fixing the computer is a harrowing experience that I have to endure about once every six months. It's different every time; sometimes I can't get through bootup, sometimes the CDROM drive won't wake up. Today it was network related. I impressed myself by diagnosing and fixing this one quickly, because no matter how often I jack with the network plumbing on my machine, I've never had that AHA! moment where I've felt like I finally get Window's approach to networking. Seriously. Unix is easier.

In any case here's how it went down. Websites were intermittently failing to load. When Google stopped loading, I finally decided that Something Drastic Needed to be Done™. I could ping localhost and my router so I knew the low levels were working. In any case this smacked of DNS problems since the browser wouldn't get past the "looking up blah.com..." indicator. Time to visit the router with the ol' browser and do what I do best: screw with configuration settings I don't understand. Logged in and the settings screen showed some DHCP IP addresses hanging around. Release. Renew. Nothing.

Still thinking DNS, so I pinged the first of the two DNS servers listed. Got a response. Hmm, maybe it's not DNS. Pinged the other one. No reply. I had a smoking gun! I wound my way through a series of Windows control panel dialogue screens and finally found some stuff talking about DNS. I switched it from "obtain automatically" to "use the one typed here", and typed the working DNS address in the little box. It had a space for a backup address so I guessed one number lower. It responded to ping so I added that one as a backup, then hit the 'OK' button. I could tell that Windows was startled and slightly perturbed when that setting got changed. There was sort of an "oof" and a flicker, but then Windows returned to it's normal demeanor and acted all unconcerned.

The moment of truth: google.com <enter>

Oh, Happy Joy! The day was saved! Google's brightly colored letters bounced merrily on the screen, inviting me to find any piece of information known to mankind. Life was good.

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