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Cannot follow links in Windows XP SP2


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#1
nofx1728

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I'm running Windows XP Pro Sp2 with all the latest upgrades. The problem I'm having is I can not follow certain types of links, and I have no clue why. For example, if I go to www.espn.com and click on one of the links on the side page (http://x.go.com/cgi/...-041317&srvc=sz) The error page appears that says "this page can not be displayed." If I get rid of the x.go.com/cgi/x.pl?goto= and I enter http://sports.espn.g...cf/news/story... ect the link will work fine. Something is preventing me from following the link though. The same thing happens if I go to a search engine and try to follow one of the pay per clicks on the side. Does anyone know why this is occuring, and more importantly how to fix it?

Thanks,

nofx1728
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#2
gerryf

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Got any kind of malware protection that might stop redirects (spyware blaster), or maybe you have a custom host file?
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#3
headwayne

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Not to be butting in but what is a custom host file? This may assist me with a similar challenge.
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#4
nofx1728

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Let see.. I have a number of anti-spyware/virus runing.. no clue how to check though - maybe you could point me in the right direction. I have norton internet securities running, microsoft anti-spyware, trojan hunter, and usually ewido running as well. Plus I have ad-aware and and spybot.. but them don't run in the background. The thing that I don't understand is.. I have them same programs running on my laptop, and my laptop can open them links with no problem. Maybe the settings are different, but I haven't really changed anything from the defaults.

Thanks,

nofx1728
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#5
gerryf

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well, we could be here all night explaining this one :whistling:


Short hand version

http://x.go.com/cgi/x.pl?goto=http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=2407631&name=FPT-2407631-041317&srvc=sz)

What that link is is a perl script redirecting you to the actual page you want to go to...the first part with x.go.com, is used by espn as an add server and a tracking mechanism to see where you go on the site and what parts of the site are garnering most interest. You click on the link, which takes you to the tracking server and then the script sends you to where you really want to go.

It may deposit a cookie, read cookie, serve and add, track your ip address...any number of things.

Privacy experts feel this may be sharing too much information and sometimes you install software on your machine that unwittingly takes the prejudices of the privacy expert and imposes it on your machine.

My first guess is a modified host file

look here

C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc

you will find a file called HOSTS

Open it in notepad

Look for a line that reads

127.0.0.1 x.go.com

If that line is there, the host file is telling your PC to ignore the information provided by the webserver and is saying that page is actually located on your own pc, to load it from your pc. Since it is not really on your PC, it gives you page cannot be found errors.

The host file has traditionally been used to block ads, and since x.go.com serves ads, it has been added to a lot of NOT SAFE SERVER lists, which often make it into anti-spyware programs that may modify your hosts file without you knowing it.

If the line is there (and this file could have thousands of lines), delete that line and the links will work
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#6
wannabe1

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Just to help you find what you are looking for in there... :blink:

In notepad, click "Edit" and select "Find...". Type part of the line you are looking for in the box and click the "Find Next" button.

Great synopsis, gerryf...I might have to steal it. :whistling:

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#7
nofx1728

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Thank you very much for the tips. I'm at work at the moment, as soon as I get home I'm going to check the host file. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks again for such a detailed response.

nofx1728
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#8
nofx1728

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I have 3 host files in that folder... Hosts; hosts.msn; hosts.mvp . Should I only mess with Hosts?

-nofx1728
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