When Trend Micro blocks Internet access

This post is a little old, since I gave up on Windows PCs in general and switched to a MacBook Pro last October. Essentially, I grew tired of combating hassles with my laptop hardware, uncooperative Windows updates, and—the piece de la resistance—Trend Micro Internet Security randomly deciding to cut off one Internet service or another, even when the firewall program wasn’t enabled.

I figured that I should still complete this post for the benefit of those who may still be suffering through the Windows XP/Trend Micro Internet Security hassles. I still run a similar setup in a Virtual Box on my Mac, so the solution is still valid to me.

Another day at the home office

Picture this: I’m working from home. I need to browse the Internet for something, so I open my trusty Firefox web browser (or Iron, Chrome, Opera,  Internet Explorer, or what have you—I’m not biased). Unfortunately the web browser keeps returning the error page that it can’t find the site I’m looking for: my home page.

So I’ve got a deadline, and can’t get the information I need. I’m stressed.

Being the systematic troubleshooter that I am, I wonder if it’s a problem with my hardware or the cabling. Then I start poking around with other services like email, instant messenger (chat), FTP, and SSH. Guess what? The first time this happened, only the web browser was disabled, but every other Internet service worked.

I checked the firewall settings and even disabled it, but I couldn’t restore service to the web browser. Eventually I exited Trend Micro Internet Security altogether and it worked fine. My guess is some nefarious system update collided and that the problem would be fixed in a future update. I uninstall and reinstall the program, and it works fine, even after the latest pattern and engine updates.

I log a nice chat with some guy at Trend, and he sends me to a system analyst, who sends me their HijackThis system profiler. But because the problem eventually resolved itself (after hours of futzing by yours truly) there was no need to continue the call.

Now, imagine that this happens again and again, more often than I care to count. And imagine that instead of only web traffic being blocked, now my email will send but not receive. SMTP works but POP3 is locked. Things are getting serious. Deadlines are backing up even worse than before, and me being the troubleshooter I am just can’t let this thing die.

Fool me once, fool me twice

Of course you wonder, then why not just turn the bloody thing off. Well, smarty pants, would you run around naked in the middle of a busy intersection? There’s no way I’m running a Windows XP system without an antivirus program and software firewall. And the reason I didn’t switch to Bitdefender is because Future Shop offered a deal for Trend first. And I must be a glutton for punishment.

Well, losing email receipt was the last straw. I searched the net again, and this time I found a solution for the 2008 version of the software, but it also applies to 2009.

Solution to Trend Micro Internet Security woes

When Trend Micro Internet Security blocks any of your Internet services while running, even when the firewall isn’t active, the problem is with the setting to search the Trend Micro Data Network database for related issues. Sometimes this server goes down, or otherwise becomes unavailable. When the program doesn’t receive a response from the server, it times out the request and you get stuck at the error page.

To disable the Trend Micro Data Network:

  1. From the main console, click Other Settings.
  2. Select Trend Micro Data Network.
  3. Disable both Certified Safe Software Service and World Virus Tracking & TrendCare Program.
  4. Click Ok, then close the console.
Trend Micro Data Network
Trend Micro Data Network

After completing the above steps, Internet service was restored. I’ve run my Windows system like this since October, even though only the kids use that computer anymore just to play website games. As I said, I solved the problem the old fashioned way: I bought a MacBook Pro.

Note: this post isn’t meant to slam Trend Micro, because I still believe in their enterprise product (Office Scan) and their online virus scanner. Most of the time, when helping friends to clear problems with their systems, I use a combination of MalwareBytes Anti-Malware, ClamAV (Windows, Unix & Linux, OS X), and follow up with a Housecall.

Solution links:

2 thoughts on “When Trend Micro blocks Internet access

  1. Thanks a million for putting up this page – you saved me many hours of troubleshooting. God bless you.

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