Can't connect to the Internet

This site provides instructions for diagnosing and resolving problems when you connect to the Internet through an existing home network in Windows 7.

Symptoms of the issue:

Network_con_iconWireless-network icon—Status is connected to a network, but not to the Internet

Network map shows no Internet connection:

Network & Sharing Center

Web pages display error messages

Internet Explorer cannot display the Web page.

Work Offline: No connection to the Internet is currently available.

Not connected: You are currently not connected to any networks.

If your computer can connect to a network but not to the Internet, perform the following steps. Test for Internet connection after each step. If the problem is not fixed, continue to the next step.

NOTE: These steps assume that you have previously set up a network and have an existing Internet service provider (ISP). For information on setting up a network, refer to Set up a basic home network 

Step 1: Connect computer to the correct network

For wireless connections:

When the computer detects a wireless network, if it has been connected to that network in the past, it tries to reestablish the connection. However, the connection might not be to the correct network.

To determine the network to which the computer is connected, and to select the network that you want, do the following:

Click the Network Connection icon Network Connection Icon in the notification area to see if any wireless networks are connected.

If the computer is connected to an incorrect network, click the name of the network, and then click Disconnect. Click the name of the correct network, and then click Connect.

When the computer is connected to the correct network, check for Internet access.

Step 2: Try using Internet Explorer without add-ons

Determine if external programs or add-ons are causing problems. Open Internet Explorer without add-ons to test:

  1. Click Start (Start), type add in the Search programs and files area, and then click Internet Explorer (No Add-ons).

Start menu showing Internet Explorer (No Add-ons) link


  1. Internet Explorer displays a page that states, “Internet Explorer is currently running without add-ons.” 

  2. Type in the address bar at the top of the browser window, and then press Enter.

  3. Choose one of the following options, depending on what appears in the Internet Explorer window:

Option 1

If Internet Explorer opens and displays a Web page, the computer is connected to the Internet, and one or more add-ons are likely causing a problem. To fix this issue, you might need to scan and remove spyware programs, and uninstall any recently installed adware or browser add-ons.

Option 2

If Internet Explorer cannot display a Web page, or if the computer attempts to dial a connection, continue to use the steps in this document.

Step 3: Reset Internet settings

To prepare Windows for troubleshooting and to resolve most issues that are related to Internet browsing, reset Internet settings, as follows:

  1. Close any open Internet Explorer windows.

  2. Click Start (Start), Control Panel, and then click Network and Internet.

Network and Internet


  1. Click Internet Options.

The Internet Properties window opens.

  1. Click the Advanced tab, and then click the Reset button.

Reset button on the Advanced tab of the Internet Properties window


A Reset Internet Explorer Settings window opens.

  1. Read the information on the screen, select Delete personal settings box, and then click Reset.

Reset Internet Explorer Settings

Reset IE settings

  1. After Windows resets the Internet Explorer setting, click Close.

  2. Try to connect to the Internet, and then go to . If the issue still exists, continue to the next step.

Step 4: Check cable connections and reset the hardware

Perform the following steps to check the cable connections, perform a hardware reset, and connect the computer directly to the modem.

  1. Shut down the computer.

  2. Unplug all cables from the computer, except for the power, mouse, keyboard, and monitor cables. Note the location of each cable connection.

  3. Disconnect power to the router, cable modem, or router/modem combination, and wait for the lights on the device to turn off.

  4. Disconnect all cables from the modem and router.

  5. Look for bent or damaged pins on the cable ends, as well as inside the connectors on the computer and the router or modem. Look for any hard bends or cuts in the cable itself. Repair or replace cables that show signs of damage.

  6. Reconnect all of the cables to the modem and router, except for the power cables.

  7. Connect one network cable (RJ-45) from the computer to the back of the cable/DSL modem or router. Do not route cables next to speakers, and do not loop excess cable. If possible, use a cable that is 1.83 meters (6 feet) long or less. Make sure that you are connecting the correct type of cable from the router to the computer (see the following figure). 

NOTE: If you are using a wireless connection, you can configure it later, after you have determined that the computer can connect to the Internet using a direct network-cable connection.

Cables that connect from the DSL or cable modem to the PC


1 - RJ45 Ethernet Network cable - Cat5/Cat6. Use this type of cable to connect the router/modem to the network port on the PC.

2 - RJ11 telephone cable. Do not use this cable to connect to the PC.

3 - Six lead specialized phone cable. Do not use this type of cable.

4 - USB cable. Many routers/modems can connect using USB. Use RJ45 network cable before using USB. Do NOT connect both a USB cable and network cable - only connect one.

  1. Reconnect power to the modem and router, and turn them on.

  2. Wait until the lights on the device settle into a normal blinking pattern or stop blinking. This should take about 10 to 30 seconds. If the lights blink in a strange pattern, or if several lights are inactive (not lit), this might indicate an issue with the Internet service. See the manual for the broadband device to determine the meaning of the lights, and contact your ISP if there is a problem.

  3. When the lights on the broadband device settle into a normal pattern or remain lit, turn on the computer.

  4. Wait until Windows fully opens to the desktop, and then connect to the Internet. Go to If the connection issue continues, try the following tips, and then proceed to Can't connect to a home network.

Other things to try:

  • Check your firewall settings to ensure that your browser is allowed to access the network.

  • Connect another computer to the network to see if the problem is specific to one computer.

  • Contact your ISP or modem manufacturer for additional troubleshooting steps.

  • Reset the router to its original settings. Refer to the router’s User Guide for model-specific information.

  • Perform a Microsoft System Restore to reset PC settings that might be causing problems.

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