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I've got a system running Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. Windows Update shows that it is fully updated with regard to patches. However, on both Firefox and Chrome, if loading a site with a bad hostname, instead of the ordinary error pages for those respective browsers, I simply get strange plain text pages that say: (using as an example)

Can't connect to (Bad hostname)

LWP::Protocol::http::Socket: Bad hostname '' at /usr/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.8.8/LWP/Protocol/ line 51.

For reference, these are what I expect the ordinary unable to resolve host pages to look like on Firefox and Chrome.

However, quite oddly, Internet Explorer still displays its ordinary "The website cannot display the page" page.

I'll outline the steps I've taken to debug below. At this point, I'm struggling to think of any other possible causes other than some sort of malware that is intercepting my web requests, and is inadvertently revealing itself on bad page loads. Seems odd that it wouldn't reveal itself on Internet Explorer, however. Anyone have any other ideas or thoughts?

Steps I've already taken in debugging:

The problem seems to be isolated to this one computer, as other computers on the same network don't show this aberrant behavior, and show the ordinary error pages. Based on this, I ruled out that this could be a problem with the configuration of my network or ISP.

I've run Firefox in Safe Mode, and Chrome in an Incognito tab, and the problem is still present in both, ruling out problematic add-ons.

Under Windows Control Panel => Internet Options => Connections => LAN settings, I've confirmed that there is no proxy server set.

I've changed my DNS servers to OpenDNS, disconnected, and reconnected to my network.

I've rebooted the problem computer.

I've rebooted my router.

I've run Microsoft Security Essentials with current definitions, and it didn't find anything.

I've Googled for the error message, and nothing seems relevant.

share|improve this question
one obvious thing and one question: (q) do you have perl installed on your machine?; (try) disconnect the computer from the network (unplug ethernet) and try any test url that emits this response to see if the response is internal to your OS. – horatio Nov 15 '13 at 17:18
Have you confirmed there is no proxy set within firefox and chrome? (note that LWP mentioned in the response is a proxy) – horatio Nov 15 '13 at 17:24
@horatio ActivePerl is installed on the machine, but as far as I know, only as a dependency for Gnucash, an open source finance package. Great idea on unplugging the network, really interestingly, when the network is disconnected, the error pages revert to normal. What do you think this could mean? – user274391 Nov 15 '13 at 17:27
@horatio Just checked both Firefox and Chrome, and they are both properly set to use system proxy settings, and I have no system proxy set in Windows. – user274391 Nov 15 '13 at 17:29
I don't have any experience with LWP and very little with perl. My first thought is check the perl logs and then increase logging verbosity or really anything in order determine 100% that the response came from your machine. It could be a chatty error message from upstream (e.g. your router esp if it is Tomato/DDWRT etc). The change after unplugging could just be intelligently not using a proxy :) The fact you have perl intentionally installed is probably a good thing re: haX – horatio Nov 15 '13 at 17:39

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