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blocked websites on my laptop

December 2, 2010 at 12:30:23
Specs: Windows Vista
I am having major problems connecting to the following three websites on my laptop:

The first, Italian newspaper 'La Repubblica' Just will not open at all.

The last two: Italian TV show ‘Vieni via con me’

& Italian chat show ‘Parla Con Me’

These sites are similar to that of (BBC IPlayer), the URLs are the points which I am not able to go any further, I just get a blank window with the usual small white box with a little red cross in the top left-hand corner and am not actually able to view the given program.

Tried these sites on other computers in other locations not far from my laptop. The websites opened just fine. I have done all of the following to check my laptop: Full virus scan, re-installing all 'add ons' i.e. 'Adobe Flash', 'Shockwave', 'Active X Controls. I have also completed a full system recovery which has not helped.

Tried viewing other sites such as BBC IPlayer, Channel 4's D4, the ITV program viewer, as well as UK newspaper websites and equivelent international websites... all of which open and work fine.

I'm led to believe that some how my laptop has been monitored in some way through website advertising and been blocked, which is now preventing me from viewing all of the above links.

Really do hope somone can help,


See More: blocked websites on my laptop

December 2, 2010 at 13:23:48
Do you have antimalware software installed or maybe a hosts file to block sites?

Why did it take me over a year to phone in a problem to ATT?

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December 2, 2010 at 16:06:09
They may be in Restricted Sites.

How to know you are getting old 5:
A lamp post backs into you

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December 3, 2010 at 04:30:48
Hi Jefro,

The only security software i use is Norton 360 version 2. Windows defender is also installed on my laptop. have tried turning both of these off & then trying to log on to the same sites but still with no success. T|hese problems started about a week & a half ago. before then everything was fine.

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December 3, 2010 at 04:36:18
Hi Derek,

I've been viewing these sites for at least the last two or three years, I don't understand how all of a sudden they have become blocked. The two Italian TV program sites let me get as far as a program selection but won't let me view it. The Italian newspaper site just won't open at all.

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December 3, 2010 at 08:37:55
Well, when something stops working it was always working before that LOL.

Did you look at hosts and restricted sites because malware might have blocked them there, or maybe blocked their linked pages?

I had the red X using IE8 on the second and third but they were OK in Firefox. Try Firefox it might get you out of trouble and its always handy to have another browser. Firefox did refer to requiring a plug in but I didn't go any further.

It could be that the websites have made some changes that don't comply in some way with IE, or that some IE update has caused this. What IE version are you using? If you are using IE8 and the other computers you mentioned are using IE7 that might explain why they can get there.

It seems to me that you are not entirely alone with these issues on those websites.

Just curious, are you using an advert blocker?

How to know you are getting old 5:
A lamp post backs into you

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December 4, 2010 at 01:02:56
Hi Derek,

yes, I use I.E 8 which I installed after I completed a system recovery, & Firefox 3.6.12 but i still get the same results. how do I check for Hosts & restricted sites? I don't know a lot malware, how do I deal with that?

You mentioned Advert blocker... I don't know is my honest answer. What I can say is that I've never tried in the past to block adverts...

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December 4, 2010 at 12:01:20
Hosts is easy to check. Just follow this path:

The file is simply named Hosts without an extension. If you see more than one then you will need untick "hide file extensions for known file types" (Control Panel > Folder Options >View).

The Hosts file can be opened with NotePad. If you just want to elimate it from the equation then just simply rename it from Hosts to Hosts.txt and it will be disabled.
I don't think you have to reboot but it wouldn't hurt just to be sure. Afterwards you can remove the ".txt" bit again.

Restricted sites can be found in IE:
Tools > Internet Options > Security > Restricted Sites icon > Sites button. The difficulty is knowing what should or should not be listed. If you are using something like SpywareBlaster there will be a gigantic list to wade through, making it about impracticable to do.

If you don't know about advert blocking then it is about certain that you will not have anything like that in IE (you have to make deliberate steps and it is only recently that anything really suitable has come along).

It is possible that an advert blocker has installed in Firefox. To check this go to Tools > Add-ons > Extensions - you will see "AdBlock Plus". This can be temporarily disabled, if present, but I am running it and don't seem to have all of the issues that you are getting.

As for Malware etc, well I have to admit that if the only symptoms you are getting are to do with those particular websites then it is probably unlikely. Usually machines with Malware exhibit other symptoms, often rendering them unreliable. I assume you have some sort of virus checker on board. Whether you have or not you could download the free version of MalwareBytes, install it, update it and Run it. It is small program that you don't normally need to run in the background, so it is worth keeping onboard and updated from time to time (just in case you are ever unlucky).

See how you get on. I have a few more ideas but they are diminishing fast - all rather weird.

How to know you are getting old 5:
A lamp post backs into you

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December 4, 2010 at 15:14:16
Hi derek, just tried the malware program... found nothing. tried everything you suggested. still no joy. do appreciate your help.

This is really frustrating, I don't know I can get these sites to work again.

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December 4, 2010 at 17:13:17
Whether using FF or IE I found that all three websites worked on my Vista. On my XP none of them displayed the video's. After comparing settings at length I got nowhere. Then at last "bingo" - a bit of intuition and the differences between the update state of the two machines produced a result.

What you want for IE is to download the "Silverlight" Option - it should be on Windows Update. Silly me I'd resisted it on my XP.

This update also adds the Silverlight Plug-in for Firefox so that should then work too.

Let me know how you get on.

How to know you are getting old 5:
A lamp post backs into you

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December 5, 2010 at 01:56:42
Well, well, well... you were right I needed Silverlight. Thank very much for getting through this problem. Only thing is, Silverlight has sorted two out of three of the sites I mentioned... i.e.


The Italian newspaper La Repubblica, is still blocked. Any more ideas?

But anyway, big thanks again for the Silverlight advice.

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December 5, 2010 at 06:15:07
Ah well, we're 66.7% there then LOL.

La Repubblica is now OK on my XP and Vista, whether using Firefox or IE. I'm thinking this is something different (no idea what at present). What are the exact symptoms - is the page partly working or can't you get to it at all? Presumably it is the same in FF and IE.

One other thing. As Silverlight was the culprit on all three sites on my XP, and missing on yours, it means that we have not after all totally eliminated Hosts from the equation in terms of the "La Repubblica" website. Can you temporarily change Hosts to Hosts.txt once more and try again? Also make certain "" is not in Restricted Sites.

How to know you are getting old 5:
A lamp post backs into you

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December 5, 2010 at 11:37:15
Hi Derek, The Repubblica site doesn't open at all.

Just an update regards the other two TV show sites...

Although they now open & I can view the shows... I can no longer pause or select a point in the program. it is also no longer possible from the window its self to adjust the volume. I can only expand & reduce the window size... Ah well, at least we're a major step ahead.

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December 5, 2010 at 15:35:25
When you say Repubblica doesn't open at all, does that mean that absolutely nothing happens at all after you've put in the address and hit the Return key, or does it go to a blank page? I'm trying to imagine exactly what you are seeing or not seeing.

You could try pinging the Repubblica website. Their IP is (which should reach them if put in the IE address bar of-course). You do this:
Press the Window key and letter R, which should produce the Run box. Type in cmd and hit the Enter key and you should get the little black DOS like Window. In that you type this (then hit the Enter key):
The correct result is 4 packets in each direction with none lost.

As for the other two websites, well they are a tad ribby on my machines too. Silverlight is relatively new (first websites I've encountered that need it). Maybe things are not all they should be with the websites. It is possible that if you go to Tools > Internet Options > Security and untick "Enable Protected Mode" it might help - you would have to restart IE. There are risks, so you might not wish to do so. Here's some info on Protected Mode:

How to know you are getting old 5:
A lamp post backs into you

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December 6, 2010 at 03:32:55
Regards the puase, 'in-window' volume control & not being able to select a point in a program... I ran a 'windows update' which installed several updates for windows vista & other updates.... the afore mentioned snags are now working :-)

I just get a blank screen when i enter in the address bar. will try what you suggested & get back to you.

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December 6, 2010 at 03:45:18
carried out the ping test... got the results that you mentioned. What is my next step to sorting out the Repubblica site?

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December 6, 2010 at 09:39:39
I don't give up in a hurry but I'm totally baffled on this. The fact that the pings worked means that you reached the website. Why you then get a blank page, presumably in both Firefox and IE, beats me.

About the only thing I can think of is that your server is not letting you see it for some reason or another, although even that seems odd because of your ping results. It might be worth asking them just the same.

Pleased to have helped you get 67% of the way but I'm out of ideas now. Maybe someone else will spot this post and have an idea what it is that is deluding us on the Reppublica website.

In the unlikely even that I suddenly think of something I'll pop back straight away. If you find the answer somehow please let us know on here.

How to know you are getting old 5:
A lamp post backs into you

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December 7, 2010 at 00:34:46
Hmmm. baffles me too... but never mind.
The fact that IP address works suggest just as you say... a problem with F.F. & I.E.

I'll try re-installing both and see what happens. In the meantime I'll put out another post & see if anyone else can pickup on the 'Repubblica' adventure!!

Will let you know asap if a solution is found.

Big thanks again.

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December 7, 2010 at 07:06:40
It has to be something common that affects both browsers so I doubt re-installing them will help. The only thing that seems to fit is the website itself (now we have the Silverlight issue out of the way).

I still think you should ask your server about this one. It is the one area that servers are pretty good at handling. Along the same lines it would be interesting to know whether other folk you know who can get to the Reppublica website are using the same server as yourself. Sometimes servers can temporarily block a whole range of addresses due to a spammer or hacker being present on one of them.

How to know you are getting old 5:
A lamp post backs into you

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December 8, 2010 at 14:01:16
Hi Derek,

Thanks for the advice, but guess what... one of the TV show sites has now stopped working again..arrGHHH!!!!! Its IP

& yes, I did the cmd.exe & low & behold... 4 packets sent, 0 recieved & 4 lost. what an earth is going on out there in cyber world!!

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December 8, 2010 at 15:07:08
Well, in the words of Dorothy (Wizard of Oz): "Things come and go so fast around here".

My XP went there fine but FF wanted the latest Adobe Flash plugin for the video and then that also worked. I tend to be on manual updates for XP so that is probably the reason. On Vista (auto updates all round) both worked straight away. I'm in the UK so that could have some bearing on our differing results.

As we now seem to have got involved with both Silverlight and Flash (Silverlight being effectively MS's version of Flash) it does make me wonder if some of those websites are undergoing updates. Maybe eventually, if you have the latest Flash and Silverlight Add-ons, they will start working again. I would keep trying.

Other than that my ideas bag is empty. I've scratched my head and only got splinters LOL.

Sorry, I should have warned you about raising a new post. Sometimes moderators around here are inclined to delete repeat posts, especially if made too soon after the initial one. I should have suggested you wait a week or two.

How to know you are getting old 6:
You can't remember what it is that you have forgotten.

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December 9, 2010 at 03:43:32
No worries, I'll do all usual updates and see what happens. Thanks again

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December 9, 2010 at 06:22:15
Go here and check your flash version:
Then go to the link in the middle of the page to see if you are up to date.

Do this from both FF and IE.

How to know you are getting old 6:
You can't remember what it is that you have forgotten.

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