These days you need the internet to survive. It is so embedded into our societies that the UN has said access to it needs to be a human right. We use it for work, play, socialising, researching… so when we cannot use it because of slow, intermittent or no connection at all it is incredibly frustrating. Fortunately Strange Labs has some help you can try to get back online!

Is it the router or the PC?

The first thing to try before anything else, is resetting the PC, router, or if possible connecting to a different network to see whether the issue lies in the router (or extension) or the PC itself.

Reset the PC. This will ensure it’s not a random one off issue on the PC.

Reset the Router / Extension. It may be that the router just needs to reset the connection to your computer.

If either of these fix the issue, great! If not, move on:

Try a new network. Assuming you are connecting by WiFi, try a different network if possible. This could be a different extension point, or, if you can take your PC somewhere else to try, a whole new network. You could also try and make a hotspot on your phone and connect to that.

Connect by alternate hardware. If your internet works fine using an ethernet but not the WiFi, or vice versa, this is good news as it means the internet, & ISP, itself is working.

If you can get the internet ok, either by connecting to a different network, or by different hardware, this is usually good news. It could still be the Router/Extension causing issues by blocking, or timing out the connection for that specific port, but let’s first rule out the PC as a cause.

Check the PCs hardware

If you can connect by ethernet, but not WiFi (or vice versa), or you can connect fine on someone elses network but not your own, lets start by making sure the hardware is ok!

Check the device. Go to Device Manager and make sure the device is recognised under Network Adapters. If there is either nothing listed and you have tried restarting the PC, it could be the hardware has failed. You may need to try reseating the WiFi card, or try a different one. If the Network Adapter is listed ok, or you are trying to connect by ethernet, move on to 2.

Check the drivers. Still in Device Manager, check that no weird symbol or error is showing when you select that device. If there is, you could try right clicking it and Uninstalling Drivers/Device. Once done, try restarting the PC. If that does not work, then go to the manufacturers website (of the motherboard or network card) and find, download and install the latest drivers for your operating system.

Run Windows Update. You can also try and run Windows Update to see if Microsoft has got anything new they can replace it with.

Reinstall Adapter Try reinstalling your network adapter, by opening Device Manager, finding the device and uninstalling it, Then restart your PC.

If you cannot get rid of an error on the hardware, you may need to try a reinstall of your OS, or (if possible) going back to a restore point when the internet worked. This will rule out any software issues. If it still does not work, then your hardware may be faulty.

If your hardware is listed as all ok, move on:

Check the PCs software

Resetting the browser

For all browsers you use clear Browsing History, Cache & Cookies from the beginning of time. Beware, this may log you out of websites and may clear current tabs etc. So be sure you have got everything you need saved/bookmarked etc.

It is unlikely to be this, but just to be sure, make your browsers clean. If this didn’t help, move on:

Resetting the Network Settings

First, try running the Network Troubleshooter built into Windows. Just right click on the network symbol in the bottom right and click “Troubleshoot”

If that didn’t help, clearing all the settings, server addresses etc that get assigned by the network can sometimes help. To do that simply follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the Start button (the Windows logo in the lower-left)
  2. Choose Powershell (Admin)
  3. If asked whether to allow Powershell to make changes to your computer, select Yes
  4. Type ipconfig /flushdns and press Enter
  5. Type ipconfig /release and press Enter
  6. Type ipconfig /renew and press Enter
  7. Type netsh winsock reset and press Enter
  8. Type netsh int ip reset and press Enter

Restart the PC and see if the internet is back working. If so great, if not move on:

Firewalls, VPNs and AntiVirus and Viruses

All these types of programs (and viruses) can interupt your connection to the internet. To rule them out (along with anything other), check the internet connection in safe mode (with none of these programs running).

  1. Press Win+X
  2. enable safe boot with networking
  3. Go to services tab
  4. Click hide Windows Services
  5. Uncheck all
  6. Reboot

Now you should reboot to safe mode, with nothing but Windows services running. Check your internet. Is it ok? If so, it is something running that is breaking it.

Run a virus scan. Use Malwarebytes to run a virus scan. If you find viruses, keep running it until it is clean. Turn services back on You can enable services one at a time rebooting each time, to try and figure out what is causing the connection to break, however it is likely your AntiVirus, VPN or firewall. Try uninstalling / switching them off after you have rebooted out of safe mode with all services running, might be a quicker test!

Rule out all software

Reinstalling the OS, or (ideally) booting to a live Linux USB drive will rule out any software issue. If the internet still does not connect with a fresh OS, you can be sure it is a hardware, router or ISP problem.

Hopefully you have it fixed!