Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 17th May 2011 12:23 UTC
Windows "Whenever I connect to a WiFi network which requires in-browser authentication, such as university networks and hotel access points, Windows somehow magically knows. Windows also knows when your internet connection isn't working, and can differentiate between having local LAN access, no network access at all, or full internet access. But how?" Windows 7 actually phones home to a simple Microsoft Network Connectivity Status Indicator (NCSI) site for this functionality to work, and there, IP address and date of lookup are stored. Windows is flexible, however - you can turn this off, or even set up your own, personal NCSI server so that you will retain the functionality, but won't contact Microsoft. Pretty neat.
Order by: Score:
Well.....
by ballmerlikesgoogle on Tue 17th May 2011 13:14 UTC
ballmerlikesgoogle
Member since:
2009-10-23

I think.....I will look into turning that off.....

Reply Score: 3

RE: Well.....
by dvhh on Tue 17th May 2011 15:20 UTC in reply to "Well....."
dvhh Member since:
2006-03-20

They also provide instruction for making your own NCSI server, which is quite cool to track your laptop usage.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Well.....
by pantheraleo on Tue 17th May 2011 15:22 UTC in reply to "Well....."
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

Why? It's no different than say, if you were to type "ping google.com" to see if you had network connectively. When you do that, Google almost certainly logs your IP address and the time you made the ping. I don't see what the big deal is? All they are storing is IP address and time of connection.

And of course, your OS phones home for a lot of other things as well. Checking for updates, setting the clock (most OSes use an ntp server these days after all by default to keep the clock in sync), etc.

Edited 2011-05-17 15:26 UTC

Reply Score: 3

iOS devices do something similar
by tomz on Tue 17th May 2011 13:48 UTC
tomz
Member since:
2010-05-06

They try to get to something at apple.com and if they don't get the right page they bring up whatever they do get in a web page.

Reply Score: 2

probably being stupid but ....
by Gone fishing on Tue 17th May 2011 16:00 UTC
Gone fishing
Member since:
2006-02-22

Interesting article.

I was going to write that explains why it doesn't work (usually it says I have no connection when I do)- but I booted into Win 7 and found it was working.

But I don't see how? I'm behind a proxy and my box can't do DNS lookups, ping websites etc so what's happening?

Reply Score: 2

Proxies
by zlynx on Wed 18th May 2011 00:20 UTC in reply to "probably being stupid but ...."
zlynx Member since:
2005-07-20

If your machine has a web proxy properly set up then it does not need to have any other network access. The web proxy does the DNS lookup and all of the rest.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Proxies
by Gone fishing on Wed 18th May 2011 04:58 UTC in reply to "Proxies"
Gone fishing Member since:
2006-02-22

Thanks I get that - but the article seemed to imply that Windows needed to make the DNS requests directly so that it could resolve the addresses.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Proxies
by zlynx on Wed 18th May 2011 05:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Proxies"
zlynx Member since:
2005-07-20

It wouldn't be the first time someone on the Internet was wrong.

I would bet that he tested it on a machine not using a proxy. I would also bet that if Windows has a proxy configuring in the network settings, that is used instead of a DNS lookup.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Proxies
by Gone fishing on Wed 18th May 2011 18:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Proxies"
Gone fishing Member since:
2006-02-22

Thanks I'm sure your right.

Reply Score: 2

OMG ping
by Verenkeitin on Tue 17th May 2011 16:22 UTC
Verenkeitin
Member since:
2007-07-01

Isn't this entirely an issue of implementing more specific error messages and other feedback by trying basic network functionality to see what fails and what works? Noting technically special there, but kudos for Microsoft for following good usability guidelines.

Reinventing more complicated and less useful ping is stupid, but not bothering to check if a specific website is unreachable or net connection completely unusable is criminally lazy (as seen in Firefox and almost everywhere else).

Reply Score: 0

You can't explain that
by tony on Tue 17th May 2011 16:34 UTC
tony
Member since:
2005-07-06

Network connections go in, network connections go out.

You can't explain that.

Reply Score: 3

Yay!
by Brendan on Tue 17th May 2011 16:49 UTC
Brendan
Member since:
2005-11-16

How it works is USA introduces a bill to block DNS lookup for some web sites, then (as a joke) someone accuses www.msftncsi.com and dns.msftncsi.com as being part of a copyright ring. In response, the government forces internet providers to block DNS lookup for these sites, and about 80% of all Americans can no longer use the internet because their computers think there's no internet connectivity.

I think there's also some sort of prize involved for the first person to wipe out most of America's internet (a shiny new MacBook or something), but could just be a rumour... :-)

- Brendan

Reply Score: 3

RE: Yay!
by pantheraleo on Tue 17th May 2011 17:24 UTC in reply to "Yay!"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

How it works is USA introduces a bill to block DNS lookup for some web sites...


Uh... Yeah....Don't participate in a forum when you are a high on crack?

Edited 2011-05-17 17:25 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Yay!
by Brendan on Tue 17th May 2011 17:26 UTC in reply to "RE: Yay!"
Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16

"How it works is USA introduces a bill to block DNS lookup for some web sites...


Uh... Yeah....Don't participate in a forum when you are a high on crack?
"

Sigh.

http://www.osnews.com/comments/24733

-Brendan

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Yay!
by eml.nu on Tue 17th May 2011 17:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Yay!"
eml.nu Member since:
2006-07-04

Your post is still quite weirdly written. :-p

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Yay!
by pantheraleo on Tue 17th May 2011 17:53 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Yay!"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07



I'm aware of that. Doesn't change the fact that your comment was off topic, and not even particularly funny.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Yay!
by Brendan on Tue 17th May 2011 18:31 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Yay!"
Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16



I'm aware of that. Doesn't change the fact that your comment was off topic, and not even particularly funny.
"

Software that relies on bad assumptions can work well (until something changes).

My comment highlights the fact that the assumptions Windows relies on (to determine if there's internet connectivity or not) aren't necessarily good assumptions. I don't see how that can be considered off topic.

Of course I did choose one specific example as a tool to highlight the bad assumptions (but could've chosen any other example); and (even if it's only hypothetical) I do think the idea of lots of Americans being unable to be use the internet is funny. These issues can all be attributed to differences in personal tastes.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Yay!
by pantheraleo on Tue 17th May 2011 19:49 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Yay!"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

Software that relies on bad assumptions can work well (until something changes).


Even if the servers it checks for connectivity are not reachable, it would not mean they Windows users could not use the Internet. It would only mean that the network monitor would lie and say there was no Internet connectivity even though there actually was. The Internet would still work fine.

Reply Score: 2

Wrong version of Windows 7?
by Shannara on Tue 17th May 2011 19:09 UTC
Shannara
Member since:
2005-07-06

You must be running a different version of windows 7 then I am (professional) or anyone I know of ... My windows 7 do not have "network awareness".

What version are you using?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Wrong version of Windows 7?
by Neolander on Tue 17th May 2011 20:04 UTC in reply to "Wrong version of Windows 7?"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

On Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit RTM, I have this network awareness thing around. On networks that require login in a browser, a popup shows up.

I wish the OS could just login automatically right away, by the way, but it would probably be much more complicated to implement.

Edited 2011-05-17 20:07 UTC

Reply Score: 1