I ran across a strange problem today. The computer at the reference desk couldn’t access our SharePoint server using just the server name, but it could access it if we used the full hostname. I saw this problem with all of our computers during the initial setup, and I solved this problem by adding a public URL as outlined here.
This time though, it was just the one computer. Every time we tried to browse by the server’s name, IE did an AOL search on the name rather than resolving the name locally on our intranet. NSLOOKUP returned the correct IP address when I tried searching for the short name as well as the full hostname. Firefox worked just fine with the short name. It seemed then that the computer knew what to do, and the problem was occurring only in IE.
AOL was defined as the default search engine in IE. I tried changing that to Google just to see if it made any difference. Strangely enough the browser still searched for the server name on AOL. I tried deleting all search providers except Google, but IE still ran an AOL search. After we dug around a bit more, we found that AIM Toolbar was installed on the reference desk computer. We uninstalled the toolbar, and everything was back to normal.
Yeah, there are some good browser toolbars and add-ons, but a bad one can really gum up the works!