Verizon Redirects Search Request – Part 2 Verizon redirected my search request
Part 1 - Background History: It’s been almost a year now since I switched my ISP to Verizon. Shortly after switching I had a need to use one of my favorite software utilities Process Explorer. Process Explorer has far better abilities than Windows Task manager when listing and identifying what processes are running on your PC and what application that process is associated with. One very nice feature is to ‘Search Online’ for any process that you would like additional information for. This is when I found out Process Explorer’s web search ability was essentially useless after Verizon redirected my search request.
Putting a search request to the test: Early versions of Process Explorer (PE) would allow you to select Google or MSN as your default search engine, after the Microsoft acquisition all new versions of PE’s search was changed to MSN only. After I changed my ISP to Verizon, Process Explorer would return search results from a Verizon/Yahoo site and not MSN. On the surface this doesn’t sound all that bad but after selecting a process that like ‘explorer.exe’ that is so well known that Google returns 8,170,000 hits (results) and the Verizon/Yahoo site returns the following: "Sorry, 'explorer.exe' does not exist or is not available.". Why the total failure, as it turns out the entry in the search box is: explorer exe Note the missing period separating the file name (explorer) for the file extension (.exe), which caused the search to fail.
Browser differences: Next I switched the default browser from IE6 to Firefox. This search request worked perfectly as Firefox uses Google as the default search engine. Then once again I made IE6 my default browser and once again that Verizon/Yahoo search page was back. So the problem is local to IE6.
Windows 7 and IE8 also worked passed the test as the default search page was not redirected.
Capturing the slight of hand: If you are interested in find out how I was able to catch Verizon in the act of redirecting Process Explorer’s search request, see part 1 of this article.
Verizon’s Opt Out option: Decided to use Verizon/Yahoo's own search page on this issue and found an article in consumer affairs, (link to this is below) which also includes a way to 'op out' of redirects. It involves some changes to Verizon’s Modem/Router DNS address. http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2007/11/verizon_search.html
Basically this involves replace the last octet of your DNS server with .14 in both the DNS Server 1 and DNS Server 2 fields. For example, if your existing DNS address is 184.108.40.206, replace the .12 at the end of the address with .14. The new address for this example would be 220.127.116.11.
After changing my DNS server address to .14 as mentioned in the above article, IE6 was not redirected to the Verizon/Yahoo search engine but failed with an error message: "The page cannot be displayed". Firefox with Windows XP and Windows 7 with IE8 both worked as expected. Apparently Microsoft has made some behind the scenes changes also.
So apparently Microsoft is redirecting MSN search request to Live Search and IE6 fails. So the message “The page cannot be displayed” issue is not that I changed the DNS servers but is with IE6.
Using Open DNS: My final test was to try local Open DNS servers is place of Verizon’s DNS servers. After obtaining the two IP address in my area, I decided to test the delay using ‘tracert’ from the command prompt. The number of hops between Verizon’s DNS servers and Open DNS was identical, 8 hops. However the delay was about 25% less using Open DNS. So I then changed entrees in the modem/router to the two Open DNS IP addresses.
Process Explorer using IE6 now end up using Open DNS’s own search engine. Process Explorer using Firefox uses Google. Process Explorer on Windows 7 and IE8 uses Live Search.
Conclusion: With Open DNS the results may be difference for your other applications, operating systems and browsers but at least you don’t end being redirected to Verizon’s dog.
You of course are free to choose what DNS server works best for you, but check first to see if there is a local Open DNS server near you and does not introduce unacceptable delays when using your browser. For a search engine I like Google as at least it finds my article when entering the key words “Verizon redirects”, Live Search also has no problem listing my article, however Open DNS does not list pagestart.com sad to say.