My Computer Won’t Connect To The Internet – All Possible Causes

There are many issues that would cause a computer not to connect to the Internet. In this article I will try to cover some common ones and some you probably never thought of. Some of these issues include Winsock corruption, router signal issues, network configuration issues, browser issues and internet provider issues. Some issues are more common than others, however, the list is not organized in any particular order. If you are currently having internet connection issues, I suggest you read the whole list and make an educated guess before proceeding.


Winsock Corruption

If your computer won’t connect to the internet and you have exhausted all other solutions, check your computer’s IP. If it is of the type 169.254.x.x , there is a good change your Winsock registry keys have been corrupted. This sounds worst than it really is; It is actually very easy to resolve. I have written an article on how to fix Winsock corruption on Windows XP, vista and 7. The following is a summary:

- For windows XP:

Download, Install and Run WinsockXPFix

- For windows 7 and Vista:

  1. Click on “Start“.
  2. Type “cmd” in the search field at the bottom of the menu.
  3. Click Ctrl-Shift-Enter to open the Command Prompt with administrator rights and allow elevation request.
  4. Type “netsh winsock reset” at the Command Prompt and press enter.
  5. Resetting Winsock will take a few seconds, when it is finished, restart your computer.


Router Issues

- Overheating

Home routers can sometimes be buggy and unstable devices. It is very common for a router to crash, specially in situations of high network / Internet traffic. A good example will be a trying to download a big file from the web while trying to watch a youtube video at the same time. You have to bear in mind that home routers are cheaply built and do not have the cooling capabilities professional routers have. Additionally, when you over-stress the router it might cause its internal CPU to overheat and crash.  The solution for this is simple: reset it. Just unplug the router from the A/C, wait about 10 seconds and plug it back in and you should be good to go. If this keeps on happening on every download, it is time to get a new router.

- Metal Objects Near the Wireless Router

Sounds to easy to be the problem? Think again. Did you move your router recently?, was anything placed near the router?. If your router happens to be near metal structures, this can hinder its signal greatly. I once installed a router for a client, went back to sit in front of the computer (which happened to be just a few feet from the router) and was able to surf the web for a few minutes; then it disconnected and nothing I would do seemed to work. I went back to the router to reset it, when I realized that my Client had placed a big bronze statue next to it. I removed the statue and everything worked again like a charm.

- Router Distance

This seems like an obvious one as well, however some home users are not aware of how limited and delicate a router’s signal can be. If you are within the supposed router’s range and you are still getting a weak and unreliable signal, you can resolve this by building your own WindSurfer antenna. These antennas concentrate the signal strength and direct it in a towards your desired location. I have them in my router, and ever since I installed them I have not had any signal drops.


Network Configuration Issues

- IP Conflicts On Your Network

An IP conflict is basically two or more devices on your network using the same IP address. Most of us at home use a DHCP type of configuration or what is called a dynamic IP, meaning the IP address on your computer is automatically assigned by the router on your home network when your computer is turned on. There are cases where a home user might prefer to use a static IP rather than a dynamic one, for example: having devices on the network that require port forwarding, like a game console.  When using DHCP it is impossible for an IP conflict to occur, since IPs are assigned by the router. In contrast, a static IP is assigned by a person, and when humans are included into the equation, mistakes start to occur. So, if you are using static IPs on your network, make sure they are all different.

- Incorrect IP or Gateway Settings

If you have dynamic IPs as described on the previous section, you can skip this. However, if you have static IPs in your network make sure you are using the correct IP for the Gateway. The Gateway is basically the last device on your network before going out to the web; this is usually the router. Make sure your gateway matches the IP of the router. Same goes for the IP address. The IP address must match the type used in your network. If your routers internal IP (gateway) it 192.168.1.1 your computer cannot have a 192.50.1.1, it won’t connect to the internet because it is on a different subnet.

- Bad Network Card

Network cards do go bad from time to time, specially in areas where power service is unreliable . All electrical equipment is sensitive to changes in voltage and network cards are no exception. Surge protectors for network cards exist, however, they are not common and therefore not easy to find. Obviously there is no solution to this issue once it happens other than replacing the network card.

Internet Browser Issues

- Proxy Settings on Your Web Browser

If your little brother, or computer-illiterate-but-adventurous family member has been playing around with your computer lately, there is a good chance that they changed the proxy settings under Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome or your favorite web browser. A proxy is basically a server on the web that channels all Internet traffic though it. They are mostly used to bypass website blocks imposed by the network administrators. Companies usually block access to sites like Facebook, Youtube, Porn etc. Proxies act as tunnels that let employees escape these blocks. The use of proxies not only applies to the work environment. If you have kids in your house and you are using software that blocks content not suitalbe for children, there is a good chance that your kids have been messing with the proxy settings to bypass your blocks. If proxy settings have changed, your computer won’t be able to connect to the internet. Proxys are designed to redirect all Internet traffic through a single IP and if that IP entered wrong in the settings, or is non-existent while the proxy setting is enabled, then you are going nowhere fast.

- Spyware or Virus

I have left this one for last, since it does not take a rocket scientists to figure out you are infected with spyware. If your computer happens to catch spyware and you are blocked from the web, read my article: How To Get Rid of Almost All spyware With One Simple Method. Title sounds too good to be true? its not, read it!


Internet Provider Issues

- Internet is down

I can’t really remember when was the last time this occurred to me; fortunately my Internet provider is very reliable. However, since it happens to be a rare occurrence, (at least in my case) it could take some time to figure out even though in reality finding the cause is a simple and trivial matter. Check your modem’s lights: one of them should say “WAN” or “Internet” or have a little world globe sign; if its light is off or it is red, your modem is not connecting to your Internet provider. To make sure it is not the internet provider’s fault, unplug it from the wall, wait 10 seconds and plug it back in. If the Internet light does not come on in a few minutes, call your provider.

10 comments:

  1. Pablo Garcia, 1. September 2011, 20:54

    Hi Judi.
    You are right, they are probably just giving you the “run around”. It is highly unlikely that both cards went bad at the same time (unless a lightning hit your house or something) Do you have Windows XP? did you try any of the solutions in the article? When you say 3 different USB cords… are you connecting to the modem using a USB cable instead of an Ethernet cable?

     
  2. Judi Brinson, 29. August 2011, 12:23

    My home computer won’t connect to the internet. I have a Dell running XP if that matters. I have Time Warner Cable as my internet provider through a modem. They say it is a computer problem because the modem light says “online”. However, when I hooked a completely different computer to the modem, it still doesn’t connect. I find it hard to beleive that 2 computers would both be bad at exactly the same time. When I called Dell, they said that both computers must have bad network interface cards. Again, both computers at the same exact time? I have tried 3 different USB cords too.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated

     
  3. Pablo Garcia, 10. August 2011, 19:31

    Hi Sombrata:
    Have you tried your computer using another Internet connection? Have you tried another computer with your Nokia? Do that first and then you will know what is causing the issue.

     
  4. Somabrata, 10. August 2011, 10:50

    I tried to connect to Internet through my nokia x2 00 so i download nokia pc suite.through pc suite i established the connection but when i opened Internet Explorer it showed no connection. Is there any problem with my pc’s Internet connection?

     
  5. Pablo Garcia, 31. July 2011, 12:02

    Hi Margaret:
    Did you try “repairing” your INTERNET connection? If you look down on the right hand side of the screen where Vista’s clock is. you should see small icon representing your Internet connection. Right-Click on it and do a repair. If that does not work try restarting your router or try replacing the Ethernet cable. If none of that works, run to your local computer store and buy a cheap PCI network card, you can get one for $10. Install it, and if it works, then you will know know for sure if your motherboard’s Ethernet card is bad or not.

     
  6. Margaret, 31. July 2011, 11:28

    I have Verizon Fios. My home computer will not connect to the internet. I went through the Verizon check and they tell me that my WAN card has gone bad or outdated and needs to be replaced. My laptop works on the Verizon router. My husband changed the card, but it did not solve the problem. Everyone keeps telling me to download some sort of update to my computer, but how do I do this when I can’t get on-line with that computer and what type of download will work? I have Windows Vista on the home computer, which is a 2009 and Windows XP on my 2003 laptop.

     
  7. Pablo Garcia, 20. July 2011, 18:30

    The fact the the other connections appear not to be working does not mean that they do not work, they might just be disconnected. What version on Windows do you have? XP? did you try the Winsock fix?

     
  8. Michael Roberts, 19. July 2011, 4:29

    My laptop won’t connect to the internet through a router or by connector to a modem. I also have a PC which works on the modem and a netbook which coonect via the router. The laptop has 5 network adapter devices of which 2 appear to be working (according to the laptop) the other 3 do not work. I have tried to upgrade the drivers but to no solution.

     
  9. Pablo Garcia, 3. May 2011, 12:38

    In Firefox, Go to:
    Tools
    Options
    Advanced Tab
    Network Tab
    Connection Section
    Setting Button
    Set to “No Proxy

    In IE click on:
    Tools
    Internet Options
    Connections Tab
    LAN Section
    Lan Setting Button
    Uncheck “Use a Proxy

     
  10. sheila coleman, 2. May 2011, 21:56

    how do you reset proxy?

     

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