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I am running XP from my Dell laptop and the problem involves connecting to the internet from within programs. Almost everything is running just fine, but I have 2 specific problems and I think they might be related. In powerpoint, when I am in slide view and click on a link I get the message "cannot download the information you requested." I went through all the ppt diagnostics (all fine) and then went to go to online help and it said I was not connected to the internet (which was not true). So that was a clue. (BTW, this particular ppt presentation used to work just fine, and I e-mailed it to someone and he was able to get the link to work just fine on his computer.)

The same thing happens in iTunes, when I try to go to the iTune store or go to their online help -- it says "unable to connect to the internet." However, I AM connected to the internet, using firefox, thunderbird, and all other kinds of programs.

So there is something peculiar about how the computer is trying to connect to the internet, but only for certain programs. I am at a loss -- any ideas?? They would be greatly appreciated!!

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You should check you antivirus' firewall. You might try turning it off altogether and trying iTunes or Powerpoint to see if that's the issue. You may have to go into the firewall options and add an exception for those programs (or delete one that isn't working so it will prompt you again).

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Thanks -- tried and didn't work but I will keep tweaking. I am running Malwarebytes anti-malware + Symantec anti-virus and then there is the windows firewall, if that gives you any further ideas. – Hal Sep 5 '11 at 16:57
The only thing I can think of is that one of them is blocking access. You might want to check Windows Firewall also. I could be totally wrong here though. – Robert Sep 6 '11 at 2:50

One thing to check in addition to any firewall rules you have is the hosts file. An iTunes update didn't work for me one time because Apple dropped an entry into the hosts file that became outdated. I removed that entry and things worked fine.

The hosts file on Windows lives in C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\ for Vista and 7, and a similar location for XP, and is a plain text file without an extension. See here for a bit more detail. It's a fairly simple matter for editing it. Lines are formatted <IP address> <web address> where the IP address is the actual IP address of the service you want to access, and the web address is the URL (or computer name) you'll use to get there. Lines starting with # are considered comments and not used.

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Thanks for the suggestion - haven't dealt with hosts files; could you give a little more guidance? Thanks! – Hal Sep 5 '11 at 16:59
Take a look at yours in Notepad or any other plain text editor (NOT a word processor). If there's an IP address listed in HOSTS for a given URL, your computer will use that IP address rather than a DNS lookup when you try to visit the URL. Ah. Have you tried pointing your browser at the same URL that's failing in PPT? And hitting F5 to refresh if it displays once? If the browser can go there but PPT can't, I think that'd let the HOSTS file out of the blame game. – Steve Rindsberg Sep 6 '11 at 14:34

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