Can't get Iceweasel to work on my laptop

tina's picture


I received a donated laptop about two years ago. It is an older model--an Acer Travel Mate 2480-2779. It has Debian software, including Iceweasel browser 3.5.9

Build identifier, in case you need it, is Mozilla /5.0 (XII; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv: Gecko /20100501 Iceweasel/ 3.5.9 (like Firefox/ 3.5.9)

My problem is that Iceweasel simply does not work at all with most of the wireless services I have encountered. I don't get any error message. I just get something that says Iceweasel cannot locate the page. This is consistent with every URL I try to bring up.

I have to use it mostly public wireless services, at libraries, coffee shops, etc. I have tried a few connections at my friends' homes as well. Usually, I get a "bars" icon and a message that says I am connected to the wireless network. But Iceweasel doesn't do anything at all.

The person who prepared the laptop for me told me this might happen sometimes, and I would have to configure something. But he did not tell me how, nor can I find any instructions or anything on the desktop for this purpose. Also, I do not have the root or admin passwords and have not been able to get them.

I would appreciate any instructions or advice on how to fix this problem. Please use simple language--I am still learning.

Thanks very much.

Re: Can't get Iceweasel to work on my laptop

UncleDumu's picture

It could be that you have a proxy server set for Iceweasel or for the machine generally.

You should definitely follow 1's advice and try another browser to see if it behaves differently. You should have Epiphany on your Debian system too - it may be referred to simply as "web browser". If you try another browser you can immediately split the problem field into two big chunks by finding out if this issue only affects Iceweasel or affects all your browsers and is therefore a problem with the laptop connecting to the Internet.

You could also try a text-mode browser such as lynx, elinks or w3m. To do this, launch a terminal (there should be a desktop shortcut called 'Terminal', or look in the big menu in the corner... or try Alt-F2 and type xterm then Enter) and try one of the text-mode browsers. Type e.g. lynx at the prompt and hit return. Then press letter g to open a new URL and type If a textual representation of appears, you know you need to fix Iceweasel, not Debian.

(How did you get to debianHELP?)

Inside Iceweasel / Firefox you can check the proxy by looking at Edit > Preferences > Advanced > Network > Settings. If there is anything other than 'no proxy' selected in this dialogue box then that is your problem.

Proxy servers are pretty tricky on Debian as there are lots of places to set a proxy, some of which affect the whole system, and some of which affect specific applications. It's easy to leave inconsistent settings scattered around the system.

You only need to set a proxy server if you are on a local area network that includes a proxy server for security or legal reasons, e.g. in some corporations or universities, or to connect to a proxy on the Internet to use services such as anonymizing. You almost certainly won't want to set one if you're just browsing in cafes etc.

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