Networks are finicky at best. Wireless or Ethernet, almost everyone has had their share of network connection problems. It could be anything from not being to access the Internet despite being connected to the network, to not being able to connect to the network at all.
Unfortunately, network connection problems are sometimes hard to diagnose. A few articles here on Alvistec.com give some help. Guy McDowell’s about weak wireless signals, and Karl Gechlik’s about some simple diagnosis steps are both great resources.
Here I will lay out four easy solutions you can try to get your Internet access back. I will give instructions for Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7.
Check Your Hosts File
Windows can use the hosts file to set IP addresses to particular domains. This means though that it can be used to redirect or effectively cut off your Internet access.
When I need to troubleshoot an Internet connection, this is usually the first place I look.
To view the file in Windows XP, just open up Notepad and go to
File->Open. Then, navigate to your C drive, then to the “Windows” Folder, then “System32” folder, then “drivers” folder, then “etc” folder and finally, open the file named “hosts”.
You may have to change where it says “Text Documents” to “All Files” to see the hosts file.
After you have the file open, it should look something like this:
It should only have the heading stuff and maybe the line designating the localhost. Anything else should be deleted.
The instructions are the same for Vista and Windows 7, only instead of just opening Notepad, you have to right click the Notepad icon and choose to “Run as administrator” to edit the file.
Check Your TCP/IP Settings
Another issue may be that your TCP/IP settings were altered in some way.
For XP, got to Control Panel and then Network Connections.
In Windows Vista/7, go to the Control Panel and then the Network and Sharing Center. In 7, click on “change adapter settings”. In Vista, click on “manage network connections”.
In all versions of Windows, after you get to the places designated above, right click the device giving you trouble, either the Wireless card or Ethernet card. Then select “Properties”.
Something looking like the following window should pop up.
Click on Internet Protocol Version 6 and then hit “Properties”. You should see something like the following.
If either the IP or DNS server address are not set to automatic, set them to be automatic.
Repeat this for Internet Protocol Version 4.
Reset Your TCP/IP Manually
Sometimes, you may just need to reset your TCP/IP. This can easily be done at the command line in Windows.
For Windows XP, go to
Start->Run. Type “cmd” and press enter. A command window should pop up. Then type “netsh int ip reset c:\resetlog.txt” and press enter. You will then have to restart your computer.
For Windows Vista/7, you have to run the Command Prompt as an administrator. To do that, just type “cmd” in your start menu’s search bar. Right click the “cmd” icon that should come up and select “Run as administrator”. Then type the same as indicated above, press enter, and restart.
Reset Your Winsock Manually
Winsock, short for Windows Socket API, is how Windows handles network services. A reset of this may fix a network problem. Resetting your Winsock is similar to resetting TCP/IP. Open a Command Prompt as laid out above for your version of Windows and type “netsh winsock reset”. Then press enter and restart your computer.
Sometimes even these steps will not fix a faulty connection. If that’s the case, you can try googling the exact problem or contacting someone with network experience.
If you know any other quick solutions to fixing network connection problems, please lets us know in the comments below.
- How To Fix Network Problems Using Command Line Tools In Windows 7
- Fix Unidentified Network and No Network Access in Windows 7
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- How to Use Windows Network Diagnostics to Repair Network Issues in Windows 7
- Troubleshoot Wireless Networks by Removing their Profile in Windows 7