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I have a Windows XP machine that refuses to connect to one of my servers no matter what I've tried. It points to a null IP address (not the correct IP) and HTML-get as well as ping and tracert all aim at the wrong address.

Of course I flushed the DNS cache with ipconfig /flushdns, and even restarted the dns cache service and rebooted a few times.

And yes, I added the NegativeCacheTime set to 0.

Also, I checked C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts, and there are no entries in it except for localhost.

All the other machines on my LAN get the right IP, but this one XP-box seems to have some kind of evil stealth DNS.

It's driving me batty; what can be causing this?

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Try nslookup <hostname> and see what it responds. It'll tell you exactly which DNS server is being used. – Darth Android Jan 28 '13 at 22:12
Did you also check for an active LMHOSTS file? – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jan 28 '13 at 22:17
@DarthAndroid, it came back -- which seems right. OpenDNS is supposed to be good, isn't it? Cross checking, I see that at least 2 of the other win boxes were hijacked to use Comodo DNS (not authorized). – Brock Adams Jan 28 '13 at 22:18
@techie007, No. Thanks for the reminder. However, it had no uncommented entries. – Brock Adams Jan 28 '13 at 22:19
If the server is outside, and you're depending on external DNs, it may just take a while for it to update. Perhaps try nslookup <servername> to check with Google's DNS, and perhaps use it again to check against your hosting company's DNS (assuming you have hosted DNS)? – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jan 28 '13 at 22:21
up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you've rebooted the system and checked your hosts file, then there's a good chance that:

  • The domain's IP has been changed, and the DNS server that your computer is using is stale (it can be up to 8 hours or longer depending on cache timeouts)

  • Your computer could be using the wrong DNS server. You can check how your computer is resolving an IP from the DNS server with the nslookup utility. If you open a command prompt and type nslookup <hostname>, then it will print out the name / IP of the DNS server, and then the server's response for <hostname> lookup. You can check other DNS servers easily with nslookup <hostname> <dnsserver> to compare results. I like to use and (Google's Public DNS servers) as a good baseline.

  • Finally, many DNS services will let you check or refresh their cache. For example, OpenDNs has a "CacheCheck" utility.

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