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On my Win7 workstation, when a program initiates a network connection, it hangs for exactly 31 seconds (I wrote a test application to investigate this). It will eventually get established and the program will work fine from then on until its closed. Also, after initiating its first network connection, all subsequent connections are allowed without a pause.

This does not apply to ICMP pings. My test app can ping a computer without a pause, then initiate an HTTP connection to a server and hang for 30 seconds.

The issue is specific to each process. I can have multiple instances of the same process connecting to the same computer and each one will exhibit the behavior on their initial connection.

This also isn't a hardware issue. Its something in Windows install's networking stack. I have VMware on this machine and inside a VM, I can initiate connections without the pause.

Also, I've run Wireshark and I don't see any packets (SYN or anything) until after the 31 seconds.

I've looked at Windows Firewall and its disabled. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Does anyone have any ideas on where I can look?

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any anti virus software installed? –  user33788 Jul 26 '10 at 21:15
    
Is the computer unresponsive during those 31 seconds? –  dbasnett Jul 26 '10 at 21:26
    
Have you tried rebuilding the networking stack –  djshortbus Jul 26 '10 at 21:27
    
Try a clean boot, see if the delay is still present. Smoknheap may be onto something. support.microsoft.com/kb/331796 –  Moab Jul 26 '10 at 21:30

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Thanks for suggestions. I have AV software on this machine, but that's not it. I disabled it and the problem persisted. It's something running on startup. I used msconfig to do a completely clean reboot (disabled all startup services and apps) as @moab suggested and the problem went away. (Why I didn't think of trying that earlier, I'm not sure, but thanks @moab!)

Now begins the long arduous process of selectively enabling things and rebooting until the problem comes back. As this is an old installation of Windows (upgraded from Vista), there's a lot of things to go through...

I'll update this answer on exactly what was causing the problem once I figure it out. (That is, of course, assuming I persist to the point of finding this out. I may give up and reinstall everything before that happens...)

UPDATE:

It appears to be a corrupted PGP Desktop install (we use the commercial version where I work).

After dozens of reboots (well, what seemed like dozens but probably no more than a dozen), the one thing that would cause the behavior if started was the shortcut that started PGPTray.exe. The whole thing is odd in that the shortcut was in my start menu's startup folder and pointed to icon6560581611.exe under a \windows\installer\ guid folder. It did start PGPTray.exe, though. I scanned the exe using the jotti malware scanner and it came up clean.

Googling the filename found lots of other people talking about it. I also talked to a coworker who had a similar thing happen to his computer a while back. He blamed on PGP, reinstalled, and moved on. Hope this helps someone else if they come across this in the future.

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