Ping Pong Pains

A strange error occurred on a machine today after I used AdAware to remove some spyware. On reboot, the Win98 machine which had the offending spyware suddenly started barfing errors. There was no DNS resolution in IE and when trying to run winipcfg to attempt to see what was going on a dialog box would appear:

Failed to initialize winsock

Quite a serious problem now. NetOp had already been disabled to prevent too many messages appearing. After a quick Google, I came across this message board which suggested it was indeed AdAware (I’m going right off that now). I tried the appropriate LavaSoft winsock fix but it didn’t spot any problems. I tried restoring various winsock files. Running the System File Checker. Reinstalling Windows 98 over the top (which was not a happy bunny in itself – I had to reboot 3 times at various points). I removed all the network devices and rebuilt them. And it still wasn’t working!

After banging my head against the monitor (I took the idea from a kid sitting next to me), I scoured the Internet finding various half-baked ideas until I grabbed “Error Message: Unable to Initialize Windows Sockets Interface” and “How To Remove and Reinstall Dial-up Networking and TCP/IP Files“. It took bloody ages to follow the steps through, and for some reason Windows 98 was missing wsock32n.dll in the cab files (which makes me wonder why it’s not there), but after reinstalling the nic (again), along with Dial-up Networking, everything seemed to relax into a state of calm once more.

Well, as close as it will get.

Now, to get rid of that spyware…