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There are many possible reasons for that behaviour. So let's try to work out where the issue is. When you say modem do you mean your sister's laptop is using dial up internet via the phone network? The laptop IP address could be set manually or set to use a proxy server. What version of windows is the laptop running XP, VIsta, 7, 8? We can help you navigate through the settings better if you can give us your OS version :) Much like irishjim68 has stated, you can see if you can ping a name like www.dell.com or try the command ping 126.96.36.199 which will try to bounce a message off a google domain name server. Sometimes your computer can connect to an external network but then can't look up names (your domain name server settings could be set manually and could be incorrect). Drop into a cmd (windows key + R and type cmd and press enter)... then use the command ipconfig /all ... this will display your current network adapter settings... anyway let us know your OS and we'll go from there :)
9 out of 10 its a spyware, malware infection. Go for the easy and most common fix first. If you really want to make sure you start in safe mode, most malware is inactive then so the internet would work fine. Hence the directions I gave. For some people you have to keep things simple.
Totally, agree... but thought installing software first was slightly more involved than testing the connectivity (browser/proxy/ip settings, ping responses) really depends on the laptop history (may have come directly from a home/work network with manual settings).
Open a command prompt window (Click Start, type "cmd" in search box, then click the cmd program icon to launch), in the command prompt window, type the following (without the brackets):
You should get a response that looks something like this:
Pinging cs60.can.transactcdn.com [188.8.131.52] with 32 bytes of data:Reply from 184.108.40.206: bytes=32 time=20ms TTL=55Reply from 220.127.116.11: bytes=32 time=20ms TTL=55Reply from 18.104.22.168: bytes=32 time=21ms TTL=55Reply from 22.214.171.124: bytes=32 time=21ms TTL=55Ping statistics for 126.96.36.199: Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds: Minimum = 20ms, Maximum = 21ms, Average = 20ms
You want to pay attention to the "Packets" line. If it shows 0% loss, then reinstall/update your browser, if it shows 100% loss, then I would suggest shutting the laptop down, reboot the router, then once the router is back up and all lights steady, restart the laptop and try to load a website again.
Go into safe mode with networking (You have to reboot the computer)
Then go to the malwarebytes.org site and download and install Malwarebytes.
Run a full scan, still in safe mode and let it remove any problems it finds.
Reboot into normal and then run the program again and even again until the scan comes up clean.
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