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.
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OMG ping
by Verenkeitin on Tue 17th May 2011 16:22 UTC
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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).

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