Fix lost or poor or no internet connection on Windows

Fix a faulty internet connection in Windows

An occasional problem that occurs with Windows PCs (and Apple Macs too) is a poor or no internet connection. The computer might connect to the Wi-Fi network, but you cannot get a website to display.

You might see a wireless connection and it can look like you are on the local Wi-Fi network, but when you open a web browser it tries to connect to a website, but after 30 seconds or so, it fails.

You might even see an error message when you mouse over the Wi-Fi icon at the right side of the taskbar saying ‘Limited or no connectivity’. What can you do?

Switch off the Wi-Fi

Sometimes the Wi-Fi seems to get in a muddle and it does not connect to the network properly. When there is no connectivity or the connection seems to be poor quality, try switching off the Wi-Fi, wait a few seconds and then switch it on again.

Laptop computers usually have a hotkey to switch the Wi-Fi on and off, such as the F12 key. It might even have a little light on the key to show when it is on (white or green) or off (red).

You can also click the Action Center icon at the right side of the taskbar (it's the last icon on the right) and either turn off the Wi-Fi or put the computer into flight mode, which turns off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (if your computer has it).

Open Action Center in Windows 10 to select Flight Mode and turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Restart the PC

The limited connectivity error nearly always seems to occur when the computer is switched on and it rarely occurs half way through the day, at least in my experience. Sometimes it just seems to start up wrong for no obvious reason.

You could log out of your account and then log back in, but a better method that almost always solves the problem is to restart. Normally you don’t need to switch off and a reboot of Windows will kick-start the Wi-Fi connection and get it going.

Click Start, click the power icon and then click Restart.

Restart the router

Another way to fix connectivity and slow internet access, is to reboot the router. Just turn off the power, wait about 10 seconds and then switch it back on.

Don’t press the reset button if it has one because this will restore factory settings, which you or someone else may have customised. You would lose the customised settings.

Turning off the power keeps the settings and they continue to be used when power is restored.

 Black router

If all else fails, you could reset the router. It may have a recessed button on the back that you poke with a pen or other small object.

Anything that you have changed will be lost, so if you have set your own Wi-Fi password for example, the default one will be set.

It might even default to no security at all, in which case you would need to go into the router’s settings and enable it again.

Resetting the router is a last resort because it can be a pain setting it up again, but sometimes it is necessary.

Use a troubleshooter

Troubleshooters are special tools built into Windows that try to find problems and automatically repair them. They don't always work, but sometimes they do and so they are worth trying just in case they fx the problem

Open the Control Panel and click Troubleshooting (switch to small icons view if you cannot see it). Click View all on the left.

Click Internet Connections to run the troubleshooter. Then click Network adaptor. Just follow the prompts.

Command line fixes

If the internet connection still isn't working, go to the Start menu, find Command prompt, right click it and select More, Run as administrator. Enter:

netsh winsock reset

You will need to restart Windows after that last command.

Reset DNS servers

Your ISP might not allow alternative DNS servers. It might have allowed them previously, but changed the policy recently and now blocks them.

Right click the network/Wi-Fi icon at the right side of the taskbar and select Open Network and Sharing Center.

Click the network link on the right.

Click Properties in the next window.

Double click Internet Protocol version 4 in the next window.

Select the two options (at the top and bottom) to Obtain an IP address automatically, and Obtain DNS server address automatically.

Set Windows to get a DNS address automatically

Sleepy network adaptor

Limited network connectivity or no network connectivity often occurs when starting from sleep more. For example, close a laptop lid or click Start, Power, Sleep, and when you wake the computer, such as by moving the mouse or opening the lid, the network no longer works.

You could avoid sleep mode by shutting down. It takes longer to start when you need the computer again, and your apps and documents that are open are not saved.

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