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Troubleshoot Browsing Issues by Reloading the DNS Client Cache in Vista

Have you ever had an issue where you continually get DNS errors while trying to browse, but another computer on the same network is working just fine? The problem is most likely that you need to reload your DNS cache on that machine.

You can tackle this problem two ways, first by just clearing the cache, but also by restarting the DNS client service, which handles caching of DNS lookups.

Clear DNS Cache

Open up an administrator mode command prompt by right-clicking on the Command Prompt in the start menu and choosing “Run as Administrator”

image

Now type in the following command:

ipconfig /flushdns

image

This usually clears up any issues that might be occurring. Note that if you are using Firefox you should probably also close and reopen, because Firefox has a DNS cache as well.

Restart DNS Service from Command Line

Open up an administrator mode command prompt as above, and then type in the following commands:

net stop dnscache
net start dnscache

image

I usually use the command prompt for this, since I already have it open for the previous step.

Restart DNS Service from Services

Open up Services in the control panel, or by just typing services into the Start menu search box. Once there, find the “DNS Client” service and click the Restart Service button.

image

By this point I’d hope that things are working again. Note that these instructions should also work for XP.

Update: Reader Fred wrote in to mention that you can also use the “Repair” option in XP or Vista. Just go to the network connections list in control panel, find the adapter and choose Repair for XP or Diagnose for Vista.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/10/08

Comments (19)

  1. Russ Francis

    FWIW, I did find that these steps worked for XP.

  2. David Scoville

    Thanks for the information. It worked on my pc. I like how you presented the information with the images as well. I am a very visual learner and this helped greatly. I bookmarked your site in my del.icio.us account.

  3. erin

    Thankyou, I was frustrated with vista all week but your tip fixed it.

  4. Bala

    Hi,

    I have been facing some issues in browsing some websites. When i try to login to gmail, yahoomail, orkut, only the login screen comes. Once i enter the login credentials the next page doesnt open. Also when i try to google, only the first screen comes wherein we enter the search item. but the search results dont come. I know the internet is working fine becoz i am able to browse some other websites. On the other hand, once i start google talk, and if i try to access gmail from there, it works but not through the usual web login. I have tried, IE, Firefox and also Opera. The issue is same in all the browsers.Can anyone help me out’?

    thanks,
    Bala.

  5. a

    @Bala. Are u using Avira Premium with activated Webguard? If so, uninstall the webguard :)

  6. Ricard

    i have the same problem as bala, i cant open yahoo! or Google but msn.com is fine. its really annoying, can access some websites but not others…..i tried IE, Firefox same result. i cleared cache, deleted history, cookies etc no difference. i even turned firewall off and lowered the security but with same results….. please help. ricard

  7. Greg Willman

    Thanks for the info. net stop|start dnscache is much quicker than using services.msc.

  8. Art

    This is a great suggestion. Its quick and simple, and the commands work just fine directly pasted into a batch on Vista. Its also much quicker than the standard Network Repair, which sometimes fails to resolve the issue. – Thanks!

    You might also like to know that after flushing the Windows cache with this method, you can flush the Firefox DNS cache in many versions by using the File Menu to toggle Offline mode on then off. Saves you the inconvenience of loosing any sessions during a browser restart. :-)

    Also, in a similar article on Lifehacker, commenters have mentioned that OpenDns can offer an alternative service in case the root cause is an ISP with dodgy DNS servers.

  9. Palindromedary

    I had a Web Site Not Found issue when entering a URL in my browser. If I entered the website IP address instead then I would get the web page. I tried a lot of things including the ones mentioned in this article and still had the problem. I could also ping to the IP address but not to a URL. I tried configuring to other Earthlink DNS IPs. I tried a restore to a time when I wasn’t having this problem. I turned off my Norton 360 Online Firewall and turned on my windows firewall. I tried tracert, pathping, netsh winsock reset, ipconfig /release, ipconfig /flushdns, ipconfig registerdns, ipconfig /renew. Eventually, I tried without any firewall at all and everything worked great except I was vulnerable to viruses. So I turned my Norton firewall back on and found that in my Firewall Program Configuration svchost was blocked. I changed it to “allow” svchost and now everything is working great. I don’t know how that got blocked.

  10. Jobie

    First I would like to say this is not the first time I have used your website for information and I find it very helpful. THANK YOU! Right now I am experiencing a problem with the DNS cache situation. I have tried to flush the dns however it tells me Could not flush the DNS Cache: function failed during execution. I have reciently installed Kasperksy 2009 on both of our computers and thought maybe this is the problem though I really do not know where to start. Unfortunately I am not all that computer savay, but am learning as I go. Any insight you can offer would be terrific! Thanks for your time!

  11. CCHCHUAH

    Man u have the Best guide after all… i have been searching for solution to fix this troubleshoot of not able me to access to Microsoft.com . however all solutions are weak, some people recommend me buy Anti Virus software, Some suggest me to Turn off my Modem, Restart the Qwest.

    And u’re guide is the only that solve the problem !!
    High Respect to u… all The GEEk !!
    Thx a million !!
    Adios–

  12. Domenico

    Have no sound when i go to internet explorer

  13. earthdragon72

    OMG Thank you this was driving me crazy. I also went in and restarted the router with the code that you posted. So far so good. If this works I might put FF back on my system.

  14. earthdragon72

    Thank You OMG it runs faster now really fast.I have to do the same thing for my other two pc’s that are on xp. Not even the people at ATT figured this out.

  15. Steve C

    Great article! After wasting a lot of time with all those POC social answer websites that did not come close to resolving my browser network problems, your suggestions gave me exactly the information that I needed. Keep up the good work! /Steve

  16. Neha

    I did all the steps you told me to, but still I can’t get the Internet to work. It still says “no Internet connection” the Internet works well on my sisters desktop but on my laptop I can’t get the Internet to work. HELP!!!

  17. reg

    this tip is brilliantly amazing. it actually worked! before i kept disabling my internet connection but it still says dns problem something…. but now its not, thank you!

  18. ale

    I have a different issue. I accidentally cleaned out the DNS client totally and cannot restart it because it is not there. How do I reload, re-install it onto my laptop? Thanks a million.

  19. some1

    Thanks, it worked for me.

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