My computer WON'T Google!

This morning, when I got online, I noticed that Google wasn’t working. No big deal, I thought, and went on with my day. I figured their site was down or something. Later, I still couldn’t get the page to load, so I went to another search engine site, and it wouldn’t work either! I thought it was a coincidence until I used a different computer in my house and Google came up perfectly! WTF? Can someone shed some light on this sudden inability for my computer to access a search engine?

Normally, I’d say spyware, but they just discovered a new trojan horse, Qhosts, that can redirect you from Google to another website (which has probably been closed down).


Best bet would be to go to and run their online virus scanner.

Went to the sites, ran the scans etc. Nothing. They say my computer is fine. Any other ideas? Seriously, my computer cannot access ANY of the search engines I try to get on. It’s very strange.

Last time this happened to me, I had to go to Tools -> Internet Options -> Connection , and check all the proxy and LAN settings. I don’t know how yours would be configured, but just make sure nothing is out of the ordinary.

Also, I must thank you, because just as I checked my own settings, I found out that some website had configured itself to my connection as an automatic script. I hate those.

You can go online to here at the SDMB and other places, just not any search engine?
What are you using?
Hookup = Dial up , DSL, Cable, T1 ??

Need lots more info…

I just noticed mine’s doing the same thing. I’m VERY upset, as I absolutely love the new Google Bar. I just recently removed some spyware, and I bet one of them hijacked my search settings (going so far as to disallow going to Google at all), and then, once removed, the settings didn’t revert.

I’ll check out Qhosts. Thanks, RealityChuck.

Why not try another browser like Netscape? What programs are you using?

Alias, if you click on the following link, what happens? What URL shows up in your browser’s address bar?

There are some new search hijack programs that are exploiting the nifty google toolbar (which I have). DL Spybot and run it.

Musicat, if I try the google link, I get the windows “Cannot find Server” page. The same happens for all search engines. Everything else on the internet works fine.

Handy, the computer uses Internet Explorer.

GusNSpot, the computer is an HP pavilion 514x. It runs on windows xp. The connection to the internet is a cable modem and through a network. Any other info needed?

Sounds more and more like Qhosts to me. Maybe they aren’t scanning for it yet.

Check your “hosts” file. It’s usually in C:\windows\system32\drivers\etc folder. Open it (it has no file extension, but it’s an ASCII file, so you can open it in Wordpad). Normally, it has very few entries in it. If it shows a long list of seach engines, you’ve been infected and need to clean it (for most users, the Hosts file has only one or two names). You may need to follow the cleaning instructions on the link I previously gave.

BTW, to protect yourself from getting this trojan again, go to and install all critical updates required.

If you don’t see the hosts file where I indicated, do a search for it.

the host file has three names in it. Any other thoughts?

The Qhosts trojan does not modify the normal HOSTS file, but adds a second one in C:\WINDOWS\HELP , and alters a registry setting making this new HOSTS file the default. It also normally modifies the default DNS servers, but if other sites work I guess this hasn’t happened. But the fact that the problem specifically affects search engines strongly suggests Qhosts to me.

Does work okay? I think that should still work if Qhosts is responsible.

Alescus, you’re right. The program RealityChuck doesn’t work though. Anyother ways to get rid of Qhosts

The Qhosts trojan runs once and then removes itself from the computer. If you’ve been hit by the trojan, you don’t need to literally remove Qhosts itself, just repair the damage it caused. I did this using the instructions at the bottom of here . If you look at the date stamp of the bogus HOSTS file, you might be able to match this with the site in your history list that caused the popup ad responsible for the trojan (if you care).

Thanks, Alescus, you’re a search saver.

Yep, I had that damn QHosts thing. A shame this thread is in GQ and not The Pit- I can’t express my displeasure strongly enough.