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HP Notebook PCs - Troubleshoot a Lost Internet or E-mail Connection on a Wireless Network (Windows 7)
This document pertains the HP Notebook PCs with Windows 7.
If the computer is not using the Windows 7 operating system, see:
Read this document if you have been using your computer to connect to the internet and receive e-mail, but suddenly the computer displays a browser error message:
This document covers how to troubleshoot the problem symptoms and follow the quick tips to re-establish a connection.
Decide if it is a network or internet issue
Your first action should be to determine if there is a problem with the connection between the computer and the network (router), or the connection between the network and the internet service provider (ISP).
To determine which connection is not working, look at the network icon in the system tray, and take the following actions.
Wireless device turned off or disabled
The power to the wireless network and bluetooth devices is controlled by a switch or button on most computers. It is possible to accidentally bump the button and turn off the wireless service.
On most computers, there is an LED light that glows blue when the wireless device is turned on and enabled, and glows orange when off or disabled. Some newer models use different a different color scheme.
To turn on and enable the wireless device, do the following:
IP addresses are changed
The devices on the network handle communication based on IP addresses provided dynamically by the internet service provider. If there is a power interruption at the ISP, the IP addresses will change and the internet connection will fail.
To resolve the IP conflicts and establish new dynamic IP addresses, do the following:
Static IP used instead of Dynamic IP
When using a wizard program to set up a new network connection, it is possible to set a static IP address on the wireless device. The connection works until there is a change in the signal from the internet service provider (ISP). Many business and public WIFI providers change addresses on a regular basis, the connection fails. It is best to configure the wireless device to accept a dynamic IP address that changes when the network is reset.
Security key is changed
When setting up a connection to a wireless network, the computer saves the security information including the password. The computer retains a list of all the networks it has been connected to until you manually delete the entry. While your home network security password probably does not change, most businesses and public WIFI networks change passwords on a regular basis.
When the computer is within range of the network it attempts to automatically connect using the old security codes, and the connection fails. Even if you click on the network icon and manually select the network, it will use the old codes.
To delete the connection that has the wrong information and then establish a new connection to the wireless network, do the following:
Use Windows and HP troubleshooting diagnostic programs
Windows 7 has several diagnostic tools that can repair network connection problems. To check the network and internet connections, click the wireless network icon and select the Network and Sharing Center option.
Figure 2: Windows 7 Network and Sharing Center Display
In this example, the Network and Sharing Center Display icons show a problem with the network connection, and no connection to the internet. Double-click any of the icons to view additional information and click the links for any automated tests and repair actions.
If you have multiple problems, connect the computer temporarily to the network with a network cable to run Microsoft Troubleshooters and Windows Update. You should also run the HP Support Assistantto perform diagnostic tests and install all available updated drivers and programs.
Install updated network drivers for better performance
If you have intermittent connection problems, install the latest updated wireless network device drivers.
NOTE: If you do not have a wireless internet connection, you can connect the computer temporarily to the network with a network cable. If you do not have a wired internet connection, use another computer to access the HP Software & Driver Downloads web site to find the drivers for the wireless device and the ethernet chipset. Download the drivers to an external drive and install them on the computer with the connection problem.
It is highly recommended that you use the latest drivers for your OS. However, if you have changed OS, either upgraded or downgraded, and you are having problems with intermittent connections perform the following:
Check status of the wireless network adapter in Device Manager
If there is no network or internet connection, look at the network icons in the system tray. If there is no network icon in the system tray, or if the Network and Sharing Center does not list both a wired Ethernet connection and a wireless connection, and before installing new drivers, use the Device Manager to check for a problem with the network drivers.
Move the computer closer to the router to minimize interference
A wireless network router has a limited broadcast range. The further the computer is from the router, the weaker the broadcast signal. Solid objects, such as walls, metal furniture, and electrical appliances may 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 to the router proves that the wireless connection is working, you can move the computer to determine the range of the connection.
Check for the presence of the following electrical devices:
Cannot enable wireless
Pressing the wireless key or button from the computer does not enable wireless and only offers the option to open HP wireless software. Options to enable wireless networking do not appear in Windows Mobility Center. Options to enable wireless and bluetooth are disabled and not able to be selected from HP wireless software: HP Wireless Assistant or HP Connection Manager.
To enable these options in the wireless software, press the wireless key or button on your computer one (more) time. The options become available in the software. Enable wireless using Windows Mobility Center, HP Wireless Assistant, or HP Connection Manager and then close the software. The wireless key or button on your computer now works as expected.
Figure 3: Example: Wireless options disabled