4 Quick Solutions To Windows Network Connection Problems

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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 MakeUseOf 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.

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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.

network connection problems

After you have the file open, it should look something like this:

network connection problems

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.

fix windows network connection issues

Click on Internet Protocol Version 6 and then hit “Properties“.  You should see something like the following.

fix network connection problems

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.

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Comments (7)
  • Naresh Yuvi143

    Its Not Working for Windows8.1
    Any Know Fixing the problem plz tell me

  • ardeshir ghassemi

    it really works. thanks.

  • Peter Morris

    Awesome tips my friend, it really works.

  • Billy Bob Bumpkins

    I work at the help desk of a major university, and I found the netsh and winsock reset commands helpful on one occasion (out of two). Thanks for that!

  • absurdist

    Under “Check your IP settings” you should have included delete the IPv6 protocol and see if that clears things up. There have been many reports of connection problems with both protocols activated.

    • Mike Fagan

      I have heard of that helping, but I was trying to list some quick solutions a beginner can do and I feel that deleting protocols is a little on the advanced site. Thanks for the suggestion though!

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For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.