Can’t connect to a home network

This site provides instructions for diagnosing and resolving problems with connecting to an existing home network in Windows 7.


Network IconWireless network icon – status shows no connection

Network Map shows no network or Internet connection


If the computer has been connected to your home network in the past, but now it cannot connect to the network, follow these steps to try to fix the problem.

NOTE: These steps assume you have previously setup a network. For information on setting up a network, refer to Set up a basic home network.

Test the connection after performing each step. If the problem is not fixed, continue to the next step.

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.

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, ensure you have the correct security settings and password to access the network. You can check the connection settings in the Network and Sharing Center.

Step 2: 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 power, mouse, keyboard, and monitor. Note each cable connection location.

  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 and 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 (RJ45) from the computer to the back of the Cable/DSL Modem or Router. Do not route cables next to speakers and do not loop cable excess. If possible, use a cable that is six feet long (1.83m) or less. Make sure you are connecting the correct type of cable from the router to the computer (see the following figure).

NOTE: If you are using wireless, this can be configured 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 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, continue to the next step.

Step 3: Run Windows Network Diagnostics

Windows 7 monitors the network and Internet connections. If it detects a problem, it displays a no-connection or limited-connection message and prompts you for permission to diagnose the problem. If you see this message, allow Windows 7 to diagnose the problems and restore the connection.

To run the diagnostic tool manually, use one of the following options: 

Option 1

Right-click the Network Connection icon Network Icon in the notification area, and select  Troubleshoot problems. Windows Network Diagnostics checks for problems.

Troubleshoot problems

Troubleshoot Problems 

Option 2

Click Start (Start), and then type network and sharing in the Search box. In the results, click Network and Sharing Center.

Opening the Network and Sharing Center from the Start menu


Option 3

In the Network and Sharing Center, click the yellow exclamation-mark symbol Yellow exclamation mark or the red X Red X_icon in the Network status area to run Windows Network Diagnostics.

Network status



Step 4: Use the Network and Internet Troubleshooter

In the Network and Sharing Center, Windows 7 also has a Network and Internet Troubleshooter that tests the network for problems and, if applicable, automatically repairs the software connections. Use this tool to test and repair the connection:

  1. From the Network and Sharing Center, click Troubleshoot problems.

Troubleshoot problems


The Network and Internet Troubleshooter opens.

Network and Internet Troubleshooter


  1. Click Internet Connections to test the Internet connection.

  2. Follow the onscreen instructions to check for problems.

  3. If the problem is resolved, you are done.

If the problem continues, return to the Network and Internet Troubleshooter, and click Network Adapter to test the adapter.

Step 5: Enable the network adapters in Device Manager 

  1. Click Start (Start), and then type Device Manager in the Search box. In the results, click Device Manager.  

Opening Device Manager from the Start menu


  1. Double-click Network adapters.

Device Manager - Network adapters


  1. Check the status of the local-access network (LAN) hardware.

  2. If the icon that appears next to the hardware has an arrow (Hardware arrow), the hardware is disabled. Right-click the name of the hardware, and then click Enable.

 Enabling the LAN hardware


NOTE: If the LAN hardware is not listed, click Action, and then click Scan for hardware changes. If the hardware is still not listed, restart the computer, and then return to Device Manager. Windows 7 automatically detects hardware and installs drivers upon system startup.

  1. When the LAN hardware has been enabled, check for network connection. If you still can’t connect, try the following tips, as well as the steps to resolve a Slow or dropped network connection. 

Other things to try:

  • Reinstall the original software and drivers for the computer’s network adapters.

  • 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.

  • Check the computer, LAN, modem, and/or router manufacturer’s Web site for firmware or driver updates.

  • 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.

  • Perform a System Recovery. See the HP support Web site for model-specific details.

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