Sometimes it isn’t always clear what is wrong with your computer when you can’t connect to the internet, and Windows can be a little less than helpful by offering to search the internet to find a solution (who wouldn’t want to know what genius added that option to the connectivity troubleshooting page?). However, in most cases a little bit of understanding as to what your computer is actually trying to tell you can help you to solve the problem; or at the very least identify the problem so that you know who needs to solve it.
There are three primary issues that could be causing your problems; your internet service provider, your connection hardware (hub, modem, router, Ethernet cable etc.) or your computer itself. Identifying where the problem is located is the first step, so try a little self-diagnosis first. This is particularly import with Windows 8, as many have experienced problems with the connectivity on this operating system and sometimes it is just a case of the software having a hiccup.
Start by clicking the wireless icon one desktop mode, this will bring up the side panel with all of your available internet connections. But the computer into airplane mode and leave for a few minutes, then turn off airplane mode and try connecting again. You may find that it takes a few minutes to establish the connection this time, but it might suddenly work.
This can be a problem with your ISP as much as your computer and is worth mentioning to them. Some Virgin Media packages for example have connectivity issues dealing with Windows 8 and recent operating Apple operating systems (such as iOS7).
If it still isn’t working try connecting to your internet through an Ethernet cable rather than using wireless internet. If you are able to connect and use the internet when hardwired there may be a problem with your modem or with the wireless adaptor within your computer. Most internet service providers will be happy enough to come out and replace your wireless modem, after testing with a replacement you should know whether it is the fault of the modem or the computer. If it is your computer you may need to have the wireless adaptor replaced.
Try connecting to a different internet connection. Ask a neighbour if you can try connecting to their internet briefly to test your connection. If your problem connecting is on a laptop you can try connecting it at a friend’s house. This should give you a very clear indication as to whether your device is at fault or your internet connection. If your computer does connect to another wireless connection without a problem then it is most certainly your internet (which was mostly likely to be the case if Ethernet didn’t work).
Resolution for Internet Fault
It is possible that the connection between your internet modem and phone socket is the problem, perhaps a new filter is needed or there is damage. However this is unlikely to happen suddenly for no apparent reason. The only way you can be sure of resolving the problem is to call your internet service provider for technical support. Either there is a fault with their service, which they can sometimes resolve remotely (perhaps your internet service was accidentally cancelled or otherwise altered in a way that caused a problem) or they will send a technician out to identify the cause of this problem.
Resolution for Computer / Laptop Problem
If the problem was with your wireless adaptor then you should be sure to have it replaced. However, if you were unable to connect to the internet using Ethernet both at home and at another location where the internet connection is known to be working then the fault could be something more serious with your device. Start by ensuring it is not in airplane mode, then run an anti-virus scan. Some viruses can have terrible impacts on your computer, including the disabling of your internet access; however this is nothing an up to date anti-virus can’t deal with.
If you can’t find a software problem and running the trouble shooting window hasn’t helped you identify a problem then it is possible that you have just been incredibly unlucky and managed to damage your Ethernet port and wireless adaptor at the same time (did you perhaps drop the device onto concrete recently? Either way it is best to take it to the manufacturer and explain the problem – they should be able to help.
Note for laptop users – Some laptops have a switch on the side or bottom somewhere that will turn off the internet access. Look for this and or check the manual to identify whether or not your laptop has one and check it is turned on before taking it back to the manufacturer to report it as faulty.
Fortunately, although Windows 8 can be a little prone to a few connectivity issues, it is very easy to use and the problems are fairly simple to resolve. Though these fixes will probably only work if you were not experiencing connectivity issues prior to needing resolutions for them. In other words; if you’re having connectivity issues from the off there is a good chance you actually just set your internet connection up incorrectly, check your usernames and passwords are all correct and go through the manual while setting everything up. They all come with step by step instructions so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find what you did wrong and fix it.
If your wireless internet is running slowly and/or dropping out frequently you may be too far from your wireless modem. Try moving the device and modem closer together or purchasing a wireless extender.
Image Credit: rajcreationzs
Kate Critchlow is a writer passionate about technology, both new and old loving and writing about everything from web development to dial-up.