Select Page

Troubleshooting Wireless Network Problems – Windows 7

Each Version of Windows is different, this is for Windows 7

Many network connection problems are caused by hardware that isn’t set up properly. Here’s some information about how to check your cables, check or reset your modem, and check for problems with your network adapter.

Make sure your hardware is compatible with Windows

For a list of compatible hardware, visit the Compatibility Center:

Check the wireless switch (wireless networks only)

If you’re using a laptop, make sure that the network adapter switch on your laptop is turned on. Many laptops have a physical switch somewhere on the top, front, or side of the laptop that turns the network adapter on or off. There’s usually an indicator light on the laptop that shows if the wireless network adapter is enabled.

Make sure all cables are connected properly

Loose or disconnected Ethernet cables, DSL or cable connections, telephone cords, USB cables, or power cables can cause network or Internet connection issues. Check all of these connections to make sure they are properly connected. This section mainly applies to wired networks, but if you’re trying to connect wirelessly to your own home wireless network, you should check the modem and cabling to the modem as described below.

To check DSL Internet connections

  1. Check the phone line that runs from your phone jack to the phone line port on the DSL modem.

  2. Make sure there’s no DSL filter between the phone jack and the modem.

  3. Check the Ethernet cable that runs from the Internet connection on the DSL modem to the network adapter on your computer.

  4. Make sure the DSL modem is plugged into a power outlet and the power to the modem is turned on.

  5. To avoid dropped Internet connections, make sure all telephones that are connected to the same line as the DSL modem are connected to a DSL telephone phone line filter.

To check cable Internet connections

  1. Check the coaxial cable that runs from the wall to your cable modem.

  2. Check the Ethernet cable that runs from the cable modem to the network adapter on your computer.

  3. Make sure that the modem is plugged into a power outlet and the power to the modem is turned on.

To check dial-up Internet connections

  1. Check the telephone line that runs from your telephone jack to the telephone port on your computer’s modem to make sure the connections are good and the phone line isn’t damaged.

  2. Verify that you’re calling the correct number, including any required access numbers (such as 9), and that the number isn’t busy.

  3. Make sure call waiting is disabled on your telephone line when you connect to the Internet, so that incoming calls don’t disconnect the Internet connection.

  4. Most dial-up modems only work with analog phone lines. Verify that you have analog phone lines installed, or, if you have digital phone lines installed, verify that your computer has a digital modem.

To check USB network adapters

If the cable that connects an external modem to your computer is a USB cable, you must perform some additional checks. A USB cable has different connectors on each end. One end is flat and rectangular, and the other end has a square connector with angles on two of the corners. To check a USB connection, follow these steps:

  1. If the modem is attached to the computer by using a USB hub, try to bypass the USB hub by plugging the cable from the modem directly into one of the USB ports on your computer.

  2. If the modem is plugged into one of the ports on the front of a desktop computer, try plugging the USB cable into one of the ports on the back of the computer instead. Some computers don’t provide sufficient power to the front USB ports. This can create problems with the connection to the modem.

If you’re having trouble determining the correct way to connect a cable, check the documentation that came with the modem, the network adapter, or the computer. If you made any adjustments to the cable connections, test for an Internet connection before going on to the next step. To test for an Internet connection, open your browser and try to access a website that you know exists (for example,

Check the indicator lights on your modem

Check the indicator lights on your modem or Internet connection device (this can be either a modem, a modem and a wireless router, or a combined router-modem device). Most of these devices have an indicator light that is labeled “Broadband link,” “Internet,” “Online,” or something similar that indicates a connection to the Internet. If you’re unsure, refer to the documentation that came with the device.

Reset the modem

In some instances, the IP settings or network configuration that you receive from your Internet service provider (ISP) might be incorrect or need updating. Sometimes, the connection between the modem and the ISP might experience problems. To update the settings on the modem or the router, reset (restart) the modem. This creates a fresh connection to the ISP. Use one of the following methods to reset the modem, following the steps for your modem type.

To reset an external modem

  1. Disconnect the cable that connects your computer or router to the modem. This can be either a USB cable or an Ethernet cable.

  2. Turn off the modem using the power switch on the front or back of the modem. If the modem doesn’t have a power switch, disconnect the power cord from the back of the modem, or unplug it from the wall.


    • Some modems have a backup battery that prevents the lights from going out. For this type of modem, press and quickly release the Reset button. If you don’t see a Reset button, remove the battery instead.

  3. Wait several minutes, and then turn on the modem and reconnect the cable from the computer or the router to the modem.

  4. Restart the computer.

  5. Test your connection to see whether you can access the Internet.

To reset an internal modem

  • Restart the computer.

Use Device Manager

Use Device Manager to verify that your network adapter is working correctly:


  • You must be logged on as an administrator to perform these steps.

Check the network adapter

  1. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, type “device manager” in the search box, and then, in the list of results, click Device Manager. Administrator permission required If you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  2. Double-click Network adapters, and then right-click your network adapter.

  3. Click Properties, and then, under Device status, check to see that the device is working properly.

  4. If the network adapter is disabled, click Enable Device to enable it.


    • If the network adapter isn’t working properly, you might need to download and install the latest driver for it. (If you received an installation disc with the network adapter or with your computer, the driver might also be on the disc.)

      If you’re still having problems finding the latest driver for your hardware, go to the “To download and install a driver yourself” section on the Update drivers tab of this tutorial.

Make sure the correct network adapter is being used

Some computers might have multiple network adapters. For example, if you bought a new desktop computer and during the purchase you upgraded to a different network adapter, you most likely have an onboard network adapter (a network adapter built onto your computer’s motherboard) as well as a secondary network adapter inserted into an available slot in the computer. You can verify this by looking for two network ports on the back of your computer. (Network ports look like large phone jacks.) Laptops normally have just one network port unless you’re using a USB network adapter.

To set the default network adapter

  1. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, type “view network connections,” and then click View network connections.
  2. If multiple network adapters are installed, the default adapter will have a check mark and be labeled “Default.”

  3. If the correct network adapter is listed as disabled, right-click it, and then click Enable.

  4. If the wrong network adapter is listed as the default, right-click the correct device, and then click Set as Default Connection.

  5. Close the network connection dialog box, and then test for a network connection.


How To Setup A Wireless Profile On Windows 7

On windows 7, and on most of Windows versions, the wireless bar is located at the right hand side of the system bar, close to the system clock:

If you click on the wireless bar, the currently available wireless window come up:

click on “Open Network and Sharing Center” that should bring you to the control panel network management utility:

click on “Manage wireless networks” as my nice arrow indicates (:> clicking on that should bring you to the wireless network utility, click on Add:

The manually connect to wireless wizard will come up. click on Manually create a network profile:

Enter the wireless access point on the next window that comes up:

Enter your settings accordingly, and if you wish to, check the “Start this connection automatically” if you that is something you would like.  click Next after entering your information. and that setups the local profile for your wireless on your laptop.