Sunday, December 04, 2005

NewDotNet: Nuisance or Not?

The people behind New.Net would have you believe that their software is harmless and provides a valuable service. In fact, they've even gone so far as to take legal action against those who've classified then as malware. Interesting, then, that I only reason I know of their existence is because I've had to fix the problems that the presence of their dll causes.

I've had several encounters with PCs that lost network access after NewDotNet made its undesired appearance, but I wasn't motivated to air my grievance until the night I was paged and told to return to work, because one of the mission-critical PCs couldn't access the network, and therefore could not perform the function for which it was intended. So four minutes before my Tae Kwon Do class was to begin, I found myself dashing down the dark street in my do-bok (uniform), hopping into my car, and going back to work, having completed an 8-hour shift less than an hour earlier.

When searching Google for the plethora of instructions available on how to remove NewDotNet, I've often read that one should simply use Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel. However, in this case, Add/Remove Programs would almost invariably close as soon as I opened it, making even spotting the New.Net entry nearly impossible. Eventually, I got the window to remain open long enough for me to remove the offending entry, and it was now time to repair the networking component. Since I'd seen this issue with NewDotNet before, I already had a copy of lspfix on a USB flash drive. I ran the fix and was dismayed to discover that I wasn't done; Winsock was still as broken as it could be. My subsequent attempts at manually fixing TCP/IP through editing the registry were fruitless.

This is where my tech obsession really came in handy. You see, you can't exactly search Google for a new strategy if the PC you're sitting at can't access the network. However, I had my TabletPC, and the worksite has wireless. Agonizing searches later, I found a forum where someone recommended using Winsock XP Fix, and I was soon bidding some relieved users goodbye.

I had the next morning off, but I glanced at my email and discovered that my fellow techs were running into the same issues and were at the research stage. I shot off a quick note to one of then explaining the horrors of the night before, and it wasn't too long before I saw another email letting all know how to address the menace.

Given New.Net's propensity for throwing attorneys at their detractors, I'll refrain from making any definitive statements about their browser plugin. However, I leave it up to any readers I may have to decide what to make of an app that installs without being wanted, disables machines that are used to ensure the safety and well-being of others (yes, the mission was and is that critical), and kept me from getting the workout I so desperately needed.

Note: This may be a good time to mention, if it isn't already obvious, that my opinions are my own. I have never been authorized to speak for any organization, especially my employer.


Warner Crocker said...

Wow. That's an intense experience.