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Why Does WinXP Change All URLS in All Browsers to HTTPS?

10/17/2015 7:54 AM

Good Morning:

Here in the USA, anyway. My wife has a NetBook computer (old, I know) which I am trying to nurse to a few more months, or even years of use. Recently, she spilled some fluid on it's integral keyboard. We shut it off, apparently in time to save it, and I washed and let it dry for a week before powering it up. It boots fine, comes up and lets her log in, but she cannot reach ANY website at all. Not even Google, or Yahoo, which, along with Pinterest are what she mostly uses.

The problem is this:

Using either MSIE or Mozilla Firefox (the two browsers installed on her machine), no matter what URL she, or I, type into the address bar, the machine insists on converting the "HTTP" to "HTTPS" and then telling me it is an untrusted site with an untrusted certificate, and that it is forbidden. I've tried both browsers, hoping that the issue would be specific to one, and thus could be set by one. It isn't. I've looked in various settings on the machine, trying to find the one that might be out of place, and indeed have set many to the defaults. I've also tried disabling her firewall (Zone Alarm) and her Anti-Virus (Avast) and neither one changes anything.

Do any of you have an idea how to fix this, short of a new computer? We're on an extremely limited budget, and can't afford to replace it. On top of that, my wife won't allow me to spend the money on her, and has pointed out too many other NEEDS (she needs new glasses, we both need some winter clothes, our car is dying and needs some fairly high dollar parts. Legitimate needs) for me to be able to argue the point with her. Besides, she is NOT "techie" and doesn't want to learn a new computer. It may be broken, but I suspect she just LIKES her little NetBook.

Thanks for any help anyone can offer.

Micahd

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#1

Re: Why does WinXP change all URLS in all browsers to HTTPS?

10/17/2015 8:06 AM

HTTPS (HTTP over SSL or HTTP Secure) is the use of Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) as a sublayer under regular HTTP application layering. HTTPS encrypts and decrypts user page requests as well as the pages that are returned by the Web server. The use of HTTPS protects against eavesdropping and man-in-the-middle attacks.ll sites being redirected to HTTPS can be caused by a re-direct of some kind due to malware..........Id run a malware scan

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#5
In reply to #1

Re: Why does WinXP change all URLS in all browsers to HTTPS?

10/17/2015 12:36 PM

Thank you. I have several good tools for that, including malwarebytes, SpyBotS&D, and a couple of more esoteric ones whose names slip me at present. I hadn't thought of that, but I will try it. I do notice it looks somewhat, in behaviour, like a RootKit.

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#2

Re: Why does WinXP change all URLS in all browsers to HTTPS?

10/17/2015 8:28 AM

Have you tried running a virus scan? ...that would be the first thing to do....If you have the cd for the winxp operating system you can always reinstall, and do a clean sweep....do you have a backup? Have you tried doing a restore?

Get chrome browser....

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/browser-secure-old-windows-xp-system/

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#6
In reply to #2

Re: Why does WinXP change all URLS in all browsers to HTTPS?

10/17/2015 12:40 PM

No CD, nor backup to restore, unfortunately. But (and see my response to FredSki) I will run scans.

I doubt that Chrome will help, for the reason in my next answer, but briefly, it appears that this problem is at system level, not at the level any one browser could ignore. I haven't tried Chrome, but unless Chrome ignores system security settings, chrome will fall prey to the same problem the other browsers have fallen to.

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#3

Re: Why does WinXP change all URLS in all browsers to HTTPS?

10/17/2015 10:30 AM

You should be able to lower your security level in the internet explorer settings to allow you to go down and dirty on the web.

Go there via the upper right address bar cog symbol, called tools, go down to internet options, then security, then choose each of these categories and reduce the security level to the bottom, or play with the custom settings.

Hopefully you can get online. Then get firefox from Mozilla.org or chrome from google.

Internet explore is like a maiden aunt who does not want their daughter to date a biker...

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#7
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Re: Why does WinXP change all URLS in all browsers to HTTPS?

10/17/2015 12:43 PM

I tried this early on, but since the problem is endemic, it does no good to be able to get to a browser's download site, regardless of the method. I can, as you say, get there, and download the browser of choice while "running barefoot", but all browsers then run into the stated problem, because it is system-high, and thus endemic, if not pandemic, in its scope.

Would that it were that easy, and I appreciate your help. But, unfortunately, I tried that already, and got nowhere.

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#4

Re: Why does WinXP change all URLS in all browsers to HTTPS?

10/17/2015 12:03 PM

I have read your posts, and therefore know a little about your capabilities. Dump everything you have done, and go back to your basic troubleshooting skills.

I don't know diddly about Netbooks, so you may have to adapt the following:

1. Try to ping from the Netbook to another computer on your network. If ping does not exist, then try pinging from the other computer to the Netbook. This will test whether the basic network interface device (and associated drivers) are working. If the Netbook is like most laptops, there is a HW/SW switch for turning the Wi-Fi card on/off. It is possible that got damaged in the "flood", and is stuck in the off mode. Couple that with bad software reporting, e.g. any comms failure automatically calls for a retry on the HTTPS equivalent, and Bob's your uncle.

2. Once basic network comms is established, try pinging a known address outside of your local network. This will help to narrow down whether some SW flag has been set/reset affecting security/rights.

We both know the first question is: What changed". Unfortunately, with the spill it took, that could be a million things. If all else fails, take the sucker apart, clean it up with contact cleaner, and try again (why not? a netbook that won't communicate is a doorstop anyway right!).

Good luck

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#8
In reply to #4

Re: Why does WinXP change all URLS in all browsers to HTTPS?

10/17/2015 12:49 PM

Thank you, sir, for the kind words. I suspect it was the "flood" that did the deed, though I also suspect what happened, in the parlance of the Unix Geek I was once, if not still am, the system files got MUNGED, because it was up running, probably had the appropriate file open for a system read, and the system dropped (due to the splat) before the system could close the file properly. In Unix and all MS systems (probably Mac, as well, since all MacOSes since MacX were Linux, and thus Unix, based) if you dump the system without shutting down all files in an orderly fashion, the files wind up in an "unknown" (read that "MUNGED", or Mashed Until No Good), and unwanted state. It looks like this weird security state is no longer unknown, but still unwanted.

But the radio on/off switch does appear to be working fine, as it does TRY to get out. And I never see any error indicating a lack of access to the web, as well as being able to see the web connections in the appropriate "wizard". Nonetheless, I like you idea of pinging for certain, and will do so this evening.

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#9

Re: Why does WinXP change all URLS in all browsers to HTTPS?

10/17/2015 12:51 PM

To all who've responded so far, I'll try the ideas you've put forth between now and Monday evening (along with any others who come along in the interim) and let you know the results, if any.

Thanks for the help you've given so far.

Micah

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#10

Re: Why does WinXP change all URLS in all browsers to HTTPS?

10/17/2015 12:54 PM

Maybe this is not related to your problem, but the back-up battery gave out on my old XP computer. Whenever it lost power by being unplugged or a power outage, the internal clock and calender would revert to a default date and time (Jan. 1 1985) when it was restarted. When this happened I would get an "Invalid Certificate" error whenever I tried to access a secure web site like my bank. This problem was corrected by updating the calender and clock to the correct date and time.

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#12
In reply to #10

Re: Why does WinXP change all URLS in all browsers to HTTPS?

10/18/2015 6:49 AM

Thanks. The time and date ARE whacked. I didn't bother to set them (yet) cause it didn't seem imperative. I can see my error now. I'll do that first. It does make sense, in retrospect, that that could be the issue, and the symptoms ARE as you describe it.

Who'd a thunk it?

Micahd

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#11

Re: Why does WinXP change all URLS in all browsers to HTTPS?

10/18/2015 12:12 AM

If this is happening with two different browsers, then I suspect it is a problem with the operating system. It's definitely not malware. If I had to guess, I'd think it's a problem with winsock.dll .

First thing is check your disk for errors. Log in as an Administrator. Double-click on My Computer on the desktop, then right-click on the C: drive and select Properties. Select the Tools tab and click "Error Checking". Check the box that says "Automatically fix file system errors". Click Start.

Let me know what happens. Depending on the results I'll take you through the next step.

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#13
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Re: Why does WinXP change all URLS in all browsers to HTTPS?

10/18/2015 6:51 AM

I'll have to do it tonight, and let you know. I'll try GringoGreg's idea first because it is right in front of me, but your idea sounds pretty good, too. I, too, believe(d) it to be a system issue. Thankfully both of your suggestions ARE system issues.

Micahd

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#14

Re: Why does WinXP change all URLS in all browsers to HTTPS?

10/18/2015 8:39 AM

What was the fluid?. Molten lead?, sulphuric acid?, mercury?.

Sorry to be flippant, but I spilt coffee on my keyboard many years ago (not a flood, just a splash so I thought at the time) (and before Windows and the internet) and although I managed to quickly mop up the loose coffee and a quick look inside showed there was no obvious sign of wet electrics, the keyboard seemed to work fine until the next day.

My trouble then, and still is to this day, and worse because I have problems with double vision (it is an age related thing) where I see two keyboards. I type with two fingers looking at the keyboard(s), so i don't spot typo's until I read what I have written. The errors then, and now are put down to clumsiness rather than faulty keyboard - and if not spotted - they caused all sorts of weird things to happen with programmes before Windows and the mouse came along. .

To cut a long story short, I eventually found that a couple of keys were intermittently sticking, and on closer inspection, I found what looked like grains of sugar under a couple of keys (colon & comma) . I guess the sugar came from the coffee when it dried out.

I removed the keys to clean under them and everything worked fine.

I doubt if this sort of thing is the cause of your problem, but if you think it was initiated by spilling fluid on the keyboard, then just 'drying out' might not be enough.

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#17
In reply to #14

Re: Why does WinXP change all URLS in all browsers to HTTPS?

10/18/2015 12:01 PM

Thank you. And you are right. Just Drying Out isn't enough for this. But I washed it out with plain water. And THAT is something we've done in the IT hardware industry for years. It is just necessary to make certain that live voltages (like from a battery, or even from a charged capacitor) NEVER come in contact with anything even damp in the equipment.

Hence, and I probably said this poorly, I washed it, THEN let it dry for an entire week.

And the keyboard doesn't seem to be sticking.

But thanks for the input.

Micahd

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#15

Re: Why does WinXP change all URLS in all browsers to HTTPS?

10/18/2015 8:40 AM

Some web sites require https and some don't yahoo,microsoft,juno,hotmail all use https.

drudgereport,ebay,and varius others don't. I've had to retype a few and delete a few. I use Linux and it also did a few this way.

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#18
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Re: Why does WinXP change all URLS in all browsers to HTTPS?

10/18/2015 12:03 PM

I've tried the retyping method for many, some of which do, and some of which don't, allow for initial entry to the page being Secure Sockets. And it retypes EVERYTHING to https!

Thanks, that had occurred to me, also, but it didn't help the issue when I tested it.

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#16

Re: Why does WinXP change all URLS in all browsers to HTTPS?

10/18/2015 11:36 AM

Sorry, can't fix your computer, but I can give you a few ideas.

Many cities have electronic recycling events. At these events, people recycle radios, televisions and all types of computers.

These items fall into 4 classes,

1. Old and obsolete.

2. Broken and either cost too much to fix or the donater doesn't want to spend any money trying to fix it.

3. The device still works and the donater doesn't need it any longer.

4. The donater always needs the newest gizmo out on the market and " junks " his year old device.

I went to one of these " events " and asked people who were donating their old device if I could have it instead, I merely told them I needed one and I couldn't afford to buy new.

Of course, you have to swallow your pride asking people to give you their old stuff , but you would be surprised at how charitable people can be.

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#19
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Re: Why does WinXP change all URLS in all browsers to HTTPS?

10/18/2015 12:08 PM

Thank you, Tony. And no pride here, I use FreeCycle (check it out at www.freecycle.org) to pick up usable stuff, and get shed of unusable (to me) stuff, on a regular basis. But we don't have the electronics drop-off programs here very often, and they usually are run so that everyone is told "You may not give it to someone else. It is ours as soon as you step on the parking lot". Since they are usually run by the county, here, that has a certain amount of weight to it, so it is difficult to get anyone to part with things even if they are feeling charitable, once they reach the dropoff site.

But I'll give that a try, and see if I can't find a way around the reluctance of the donors. It could be a good way to get parts for my Robotics Classes, too!

Micahd

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#20

Re: Why does WinXP change all URLS in all browsers to HTTPS?

10/18/2015 12:34 PM

OK. I have to give GringoGreg all props. I reset the system clock to today's date and time, and the problem disappeared.

It sounded weird when he suggested it, just weird enough to work. But on reflection I see why it worked, also.

Certificate Revocation Dates (CRDs) in the Secure Sockets (and any other encryption I know of) world are sancrosanct. If the date of the CRD does not make sense in either direction to the encryption process, it is a total non-starter. In fact, I don't know the SSL algorithm, but most of them use the time and date in the encryption process, and I believe they are even used in the HASH code of a file (which is used to authenticate origin of the file, as well as that it has not been "diddled", such as by inserting malware strings). All that being said, I can see entirely why a date so far off (this one defaulted to January 15, 2002) could wreak havoc with web-browsing through SSL sign-on sites.

But, truthfully, Greg, for me at least, this is 20-20 hindsight. I would never have thought of that fix in a millenium. GA for you, my man.

And thank you again

As well as thank you to all the rest of you who offered aid and assistance in my hour of need.

Oh, yeah, Greg. My wife says to tell you I got lots of Hubby-Points today. Personally, I think you saved my marriage. Endless gratitude, dude.

Micahd02

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#21
In reply to #20

Re: Why does WinXP change all URLS in all browsers to HTTPS?

10/18/2015 1:12 PM

Just went back and gave him a GA as well. It gave me a HMM! moment when I first read his post, but I wasn't holding out much hope.

I can see it causing a failed connection problem, but I fail to see how it could cause the conversion to HTTPS. At a guess, that is some default action of the OS once the initial fail occurs.

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