A new customer rang, saying that he is unable to view certain websites, and he has problems getting his lexmark printer to function correctly (and also cannot download that latest driver to fix his problem… as advised by lexmark).
Once on site, I notice that I cannot connect to the lexmark website, yet other websites show up correctly… The error message indicated that the website has been blocked.
I decide that I need to make sure the internet is working correctly, before I try to install new drivers for the printer (which cannot be downloaded from lexmark yet!).
Customer runs zonealarm. I gave up on ZA many years ago… at the time, it had an obvious memory leak (which most users never noticed! ), such that I needed to restart my PC every 2 days… which is ok for win98, but not so good for xp.
Anyway, ZA has had a few additions since I last looked at it (antivirus, antispyware, antispam, etc etc)… But I still suspected it could accidentally block legit websites.
There appear to be no malware infections.
I disable ZA, but I still cannot see the lexmark website.
I try a few ping tests: my standard ping to bb.com fails (I later found out the bb.com no longer returns pings, so I’m now using ee.com). Ping google.com.au works, but ping lexmark.com fails… very strange.
I remember that ZA would keep on blocking ports and sites even after it was “disabled”… so I uninstalled it completely (customer didn’t have a problem with removing ZA), but I still got errors.
I boot up in safe mode (with networking), but still no go.
At first glance, there seems to be no leftover ZA processes.
I take a look at the modem/router setup, but it all looks very normal.
All I can think of, is that the router firewall might be misconfigured. After 2 hours, I decide that rather than muck around with the router, I’ll take the laptop to the office and check it out on my LAN.
At the office lexmark.com works nicely…very good.
I download the printer driver, have some dinner, then try a few sites like lexmark.com, lexmark.com.au, etc.
Suddenly I cannot get to any of the lexmark webpages anymore!
Whats going on?
I try lexmark.com from one of my PCs, and it works. Back to the laptop, and it also works now. Weird!
I try a few more times, and it all works well again. I leave it for a few minutes, and when I return, lexmark.com works for a few seconds, that I start getting timeout errors again (even on 2 of my own PCs).
I start wondering if its a lexmark.com DoS filter that has gone haywire… blocking my modem ip address incorrectly.
Next morning, I call lexmark, and they can confirm that the website has a few problems (which have been ongoing for just over 24 hours). Good. Looks like I’m not going crazy after all 🙂
I also wonder if the “website blocked” message was due to zonealarm (this error had been occurring for over 1 week), while the “website timeout” message I noticed (after removing ZA) was due to lexmarks issues.
Anyway, I return the laptop, and start looking at the printer.
I uninstall the original driver, install the new driver (takes over 10 minutes to install!)
I then get the customer to show me his printing problem.
It’s a simple document with a solid border… nothing too fancy, but looking at the print preview, 1 of the 4 borders edges are missing.
I suspect maybe the printer cannot print right up to the edge of the paper (inkjets often have these limitations)… but on second thought, a print preview never shows a chopped border unless it is fully outside the edges of the paper.
I experiment with some of Words border options and eventually manage to make the border “reappear” by changing some margin settings and adjusting the page margins.
It wasn’t a printer problem after all, but the customer is very happy now.
The problem was fixed, albeit in a long, convoluted way.