Slow or dropped network connection

This document provides details on how to diagnose and troubleshoot your network connection problems. Complete each of the following steps to resolve issues with slow or dropped wireless network connections in Windows 7.

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: Move the computer closer to the router

A wireless-network router has a limited broadcast range. The farther the computer is from the router, the weaker the broadcast signal. Solid objects - such as walls, metal furniture, and electrical appliances - can interfere with the signal and decrease the usable range.

For testing purposes, move the computer closer to the router, and minimize interference from electrical devices. If testing the connection with the computer near the router proves that the wireless connection is working, you can move the computer to determine the range of the connection. To extend the usable range of the wireless-network router, consider purchasing a different antenna from the router manufacturer, or use a signal repeater

If the test fails with the computer and the router in the same room, continue to the next step. 

Step 2: 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 Wireless Network Connection icon Network Iconin 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

Control panel 3 

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

Network Status 

Step 3: 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, repairs the software connections automatically. 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. If the troubleshooters do not resolve the problem, try the following step to force the device to reestablish all connection values. 

Step 4: Set up the wireless network manually 

A common problem with poor network connectivity is accidental connection to the wrong network or network settings becoming out of sync among the computer, router, modem, and ISP. Disconnecting from the network and reestablishing a new connection manually can resolve these types of problems.

Use the following steps to disconnect from a wireless network and reconnect manually to the desired wireless network.

  1. Right-click the Network Connection icon Network Icon in the notification area, and then select Open Network and Sharing Center.

Open Network and Sharing Center

Open Network & Sharing

NOTE: If the Network Connection icon is missing, click Start (Start), and then type network and sharing in the Search box. In the results, select Network and Sharing Center.

Opening the Network and Sharing Center from the Start menu

Control panel 3

  1. In the Network and Sharing Center window, click Set up a new connection or network.

Set up a new connection or network

Set up new connection

CAUTION:0Do not click Connect to a network. If the problem is an incorrect password or key index, this option reconnects by using the wrong information.

  1. In the Choose a connection option window, select Manually connect to a wireless network, and then click Next.

Manually connect to a wireless network

Choose a connection 

  1. Type the required wireless-network information, and then click Next:

  • Network name
  • Security type - Must be the same security as set in the wireless router.
  • Encryption type
  • Security Key
  • Select Start this connection automatically.
  • Select Connect even if the network is not broadcasting.

Network information

Network information 

NOTE: If the wireless network already exists, select Use the existing network, when you are prompted to do so. The information that you just entered replaces the previous values that are causing the connection problem. 

  1. Click Close.

    Successfully added network

Successfully added

  1. Click the Network Connection icon Network Icon in the notification area, select the name of the network, and then click Connect.

Step 5: Adjust Windows 7 performance settings 

Viewing TV or video over a wireless connection takes significant processing power. Video can skip (drop frames) when other software programs are active. The more system resources that you can make available when you use the network, the better the connection that you will have. Close any unnecessary software programs that are open, including background programs and tasks, and try to reconnect to the video source or network. 

For more helpful tips on increasing performance, preventing unwanted software programs from opening with Windows, and adjusting Windows 7 performance settings, see Increasing System Performance Without Adding Memory in Windows 7.

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