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One user's iTunes consults a defunct HTTP proxy, but only for iTunes Store HTTP requests -- other iTunes web requests are unproxied. How do I dismiss this spurious proxy setting?


It's not as easy as Internet Options.

Years ago my network had a mandatory HTTP proxy at When we switched to the 192.168.1/24 space and eliminated the proxy, this user's iTunes -- the only iTunes user at the time -- could no longer contact the iTunes Store, an operation which fails with "unknown error -9808".

This has been the case through several iTunes.exe upgrades over the years and prevents, among other things, activation of a new or newly upgraded iPhone.

wireshark and TCPView confirm that this user's iTunes.exe is attempting to contact the long-defunct http proxy when attempting to reach the iTunes Store, but is otherwise unproxied. Curious details:

  • No other iTunes.exe HTTP traffic for this user is affected -- iTunes can successfully make HTTP chatter at Apple's servers.
  • No other web traffic at all is proxied, whether this user or others, iTunes or browser, etc.

I cannot find the spurious proxy setting anywhere in the registry nor on disk, though perhaps I haven't thought of every place to look and every format to look for. Other users who have experienced the same error code all seem to have unrelated web configuration problems (certificate validation, for example).

UPDATE in response to Phoshi's excellent suggestion, reinstallation hasn't done the trick.

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Does the Internet Options proxy setting contain any proxy defined at all? In other words, is the original proxy there with the box unchecked? Or is it completely clear. Interesting case. – tcv Feb 15 '10 at 17:58
Also: I presume that when it was ORIGINALLY installed there was a proxy? And under what user was it installed? Is this a domain system? – tcv Feb 15 '10 at 17:58
I'm curious if you've tried resetting IP? – tcv Feb 15 '10 at 18:07
@tcv, there is no proxy configured under Internet Options for anyone -- that option is cleared. Yes, there used to be a proxy, and (IIRC) the Administrator account set it under its Internet Options. – pilcrow Feb 15 '10 at 19:42
Have you filed a bug report with Apple? It sounds like they're inconsistent in the way they handle proxies, but since this scenario is unlikely to be covered by their test cases during QA, it hasn't been found and fixed by them. You'll do everyone a favor if you can nudge them to fix this. – iconoclast Sep 14 '12 at 17:51
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Found it! iTunes.exe was apparently incorrectly enforcing disabled proxy settings from Mozilla Firefox, but only for iTunes Store connections.

In the affected user's prefs.js, the following was specified:

user_pref("network.proxy.http", "");
user_pref("network.proxy.http_port", 8080);
user_pref("network.proxy.ssl", "");
user_pref("network.proxy.ssl_port", 8080);

However, network.proxy.type was implicitly set to its default value of zero, meaning "don't use a proxy." I don't know if iTunes was calling out to the user's default browser (Firefox), partially parsing the prefs.js settings itself, or what.

In any case, I removed these settings via about:config, and all is well.

Thanks for all the suggestions, and thanks most to a sysadmin friend who suggested I search through the filesystem as well, rather than the just the registry.

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WOW! Exciting! Thanks for pointing this out. – tcv Feb 16 '10 at 18:21

Have you considered simply... reinstalling it?
You could try using Revo Uninstaller to uninstall it and remove everything left behind (This may include your music, but revo won't delete anything without your explicit permission, so make sure to check over what it's asking you) and then reinstall it. Not sure if you have to go through any special procedure (like telling apple you're going to uninstall it, so to not mess up ownership stuff, or whatever), as I've so far avoided iTunes like the plague, but make sure of that first.

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+1 for the practical suggestion, Phoshi. Sadly, I've tried that twice over the years and it's not worked either time. Same user has same problem. – pilcrow Feb 13 '10 at 22:33
Damn! I'd give it a try with Revo's highest setting, though, just in case it's a setting hiding somewhere in the registry, but if that doesn't work I'm out of ideas (beyond "reformat", but that might be a little OTT :P) – Phoshi Feb 13 '10 at 22:45

Have you tried using iTunes while logged on as a different user on that computer? Perhaps the proxy setting is stored in the user profile and all you need to do is create the user a new profile on the computer.

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@rodey, good suggestion and, yes, I have. No other user is proxied for any HTTP operation, iTunes or otherwise. However this user himself isn't proxied for any other operation -- even his own iTunes.exe instance makes some unproxied web connections (confirmed by TCPView and wireshark). – pilcrow Feb 15 '10 at 19:29
I thought maybe this old proxy info was stored somewhere in his user profile. If you let that profile recreate itself then maybe you'd get rid of the reference to it. – rodey Feb 15 '10 at 21:16

I found this thread after attempting an itunes uninstall with Revo at highest setting.

I noticed that 5 files in \program files\mozilla firefox\defaults\pref were marked as itunes leftovers. channel-prefs.js, firefox.js, firefox-branding.js, firefox-|10n.js and reporter.js. I didn't notice any firefox entries during the registry sweep, but this occured before the file sweep that caught my attention.

This may be a blue herring and I personally don't know if it impacts or informs any answers already given. But the original question seemed to regard a mozilla/firefox user and the coincidence was interesting. :)

**edit-> I decided to let revo delete the firefox files. As expected, this broke my firefox installation. X-D

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