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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 How To Troubleshoot Weak Wireless Connections How To Troubleshoot Weak Wireless Connections Read More , and Karl Gechlik’s about some simple diagnosis steps 7 Simple Steps to Diagnose a Network Problem 7 Simple Steps to Diagnose a Network Problem Network issues are frustrating, especially when the problem lies with your ISP. Next time you can't get online, here's the process you should follow on your end to diagnose the network problem. Read More 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 Create your own Internet Filter with the Windows Hosts file Create your own Internet Filter with the Windows Hosts file Read More .

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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  1. Sheila Pool
    August 10, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    I have windows XP.

    I have tried all the solutions shown above and still cannot open my bank account page plus some other 'secure' sites. The bank tech has been trying to help me and just recently got me to the accounts page witch shows my balance but will not let me go further and see transactions. It just goes to blank page with turning circle, like it is trying to load....no error message, etc. The bank blank page was the first thing I noticed but it will also not let me view videos, such as those on Facebook.

    Since the bank page showed up blank, I have cleaned all temporary files, history, etc. numerous times. I have deleted Google Chrome and then re-installed it. I checked Internet Explorer and it won't even let me go to the main bank page so it is worse than Google. I also have a new router since this happened and an upgrade from 6 mg to 15 mg. Still no bank page.

    Thanks for your help.

  2. Bob G, 2
    February 10, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    It is your anti virus settings and or your network adapter needs updating. You must then turn of and reboot.

  3. Bob G.
    February 10, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Forget all that. Here is what you have to do. Update the network adapter driver

    An outdated or incompatible network adapter driver can cause connection problems. If you recently upgraded to Windows 10, it's possible that the current driver was designed for a previous version of Windows. Check to see if an updated driver is available.

    In the search box on the taskbar, type Device Manager, and then select Device Manager from the list of results.
    In Device Manager, select Network adapters > the network adapter name.
    Press and hold (or right-click) the network adapter, and then select Update Driver Software > Search automatically for updated driver software. Follow the steps, then select Close.
    After installing the updated driver, select the Start button > Power > Restart if you're asked to restart, and see if that fixes the connection issue.

  4. Crispim Albino
    December 23, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    My pc is runnig win 8.1 and also there isn't cd-dvd drive. So... I lost all drive like internet drive and usb drive what can i do to solve this big problem?

  5. Steve Bennett
    October 28, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    It's just amazingly infuriating when you're looking for an internet-access issue answer, and the response is ''go to this web-site'',''buy this app'' or ''try Googling blah-blah-blah''....If they could Google, buy your app, or visit your site, they wouldn't be asking the question.

  6. Doug Dickson
    January 11, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Brilliant! Got me back on line with my dear old XP, thanks, Mike,

    Doug Dickson

  7. Anonymous
    August 20, 2015 at 6:19 am

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

  8. Anonymous
    July 24, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    it really works. thanks.

    • MARY COTTON
      May 13, 2017 at 5:12 am

      What worked for you? My xp isn't reading my wireless old or new usb I just bought installed the drivers not reading it.

  9. Peter Morris
    May 21, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    Awesome tips my friend, it really works.

  10. Billy Bob Bumpkins
    February 24, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    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!

  11. absurdist
    January 24, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    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
      February 1, 2010 at 3:10 pm

      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!

  12. Nick
    January 23, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    These are great tips if your a DIY, When I fix network problems, I always use these methods, but most of the times, I do more advance network troubleshooting.