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Solve Setup and Internet Connection Issues on a Wireless Network (Windows Vista)

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This document pertains to HP Notebook PCs with Windows Vista.
If the computer is not using the Vista operating system, see
Read this document if you are having trouble setting up a new connection to a home wireless network or public WIFI network. This document assumes that you have configured all the required wireless components, and that you have successfully set up a home wireless network. However, there now is a problem connecting a computer to the wireless network.

Decide where to start the troubleshooting activities

The first troubleshooting step is to identify the symptoms to determine if the problem is with the computer's network connection or with the network's internet. To open the Vista Networking and Sharing Center display, do the following:
Click Start , enter Network and Sharing Center in the search field and press the Enter key.
Identify the network status graphic displayed in the Network and Sharing Center, and use the following table to perform the required Corrective Actions. In the examples, the graphic indicates a problem with the connection, and indicates no connection.
This graphic means that the computer is connected to your home wireless network, and — in the past — it did have access to the internet, but suddenly it cannot connect to the internet .

Before you begin troubleshooting the connection from the network to the internet, confirm there is a good connection to the network as discussed in the section above, and then try the following:
Corrective Actions:

This graphic means that either there is no wireless network available, or there is a network but the computer has never been connected to that network.
Corrective Actions:

This document does not provide information on how to set up a new wireless network.

Open Help and Support , select Troubleshooting Tools , and then launch the HP Home Network Center to set up a network.

Vista monitors the network and internet connections. If it detects a problem, Windows Vista displays a no connection or limited connection message, and prompts you for permission to diagnose the problem. Click OK to allow Vista to diagnose the problems and restore the connection.
  • If no error message displays, but there is no internet connection, right-click the network connection icon in the system tray and select Diagnose and repair from the menu. Allow Vista to repair and re-establish the connection.
  • If there is no network connection icon in the system tray, click Start , enter Network into the search field, and then select Network and Sharing Center from the list. Select Diagnose and repair in the left pane. Allow Vista to repair and re-establish the connection.
When a computer establishes a connection with a router or with the internet, it uses several IP addresses to manage the communication. If the electrical power to the computer, or the router, or the internet service from the ISP is interrupted momentarily, the IP address may change and disrupt the connections. The LED lights on the equipment may indicate that a connection exists, but all of the IP addresses may not agree.
To reset the power to the modem, the router, and the computer to establish the proper IP addresses, do the following:
  1. Turn off your modem.
  2. Unplug the power, Ethernet and phone line/cable from the modem.
  3. Turn off the router (if present in the network).
  4. Unplug the power, Ethernet and phone line/cable (if using a modem router) from the router.
  5. Shut down the PC.
  6. Wait for 30 seconds for the power to dissipate from the devices.
  7. Re-connect the Ethernet, phone line/cable and power to the modem.
  8. Turn on the modem and wait for the modem to complete the startup process.
  9. When all available LED lights are steady on the modem, connect the Ethernet, phone line/cable and power to the router.
  10. Wait till the router completes the startup and all available LED lights are steady.
  11. Turn on the PC and attempt to reconnect to the desired network.
If the above steps do not resolve the issue, continue with the following steps. If they do not resolve the connection to the internet problem, you should contact your ISP to get help with troubleshooting your modem and ISP setup.

Verify the wireless network switch is turned on

For the wireless network adapter to operate properly, you must perform two separate actions: turn on the power to the wireless device, and then enable the device to send and receive signals.
There are different ways to check the status of the wireless network and turn the wireless device on and off. If you use one of the methods to turned off your network device, you should use the same method to turn it back on.
Most notebooks have a switch or button on the case that sends power to the Bluetooth and wireless network devices. The wireless button or switch is usually located in one of three places:
On the top of the keyboardOn the side of the computerOn the front of the computer
An indicator light glows blue when the Bluetooth or WiFi communication devices are turned on. If the computer has both Bluetooth and WiFi and one of them is turned off or the device is disabled, the light glows amber. The indicator light does not glow at all when power to the device is turned off. The HP Wireless Assistant software must be used to enable or disable the individual wireless functions.
Wireless devices can be turned on and off using the HP Wireless Assistant. This tool is designed to control the wireless LAN and Bluetooth devices individually. The wireless LAN can be turned on while the Bluetooth is turned off, or vice versa.
The action of the HP Wireless Assistant control is independent of the wireless device power switch. It is possible for the wireless device LED to glow blue because power is being sent to the device, although the device is turned off. By default, the HP Wireless Assistant is configured to display a wireless connection On icon , or wireless connection Off icon in the Windows system tray. However, the computer can be set to not display in the icons in the system tray.
HP recommends that the HP Wireless Assistant be configured to display the icons as follows.
  1. Click Start , enter wireless assistant into the search field, and then select HP Wireless Assistant from the list.
    If HP Wireless Assistant is not installed, either:
  2. Verify the status of the installed wireless devices. They should all be on.
  3. Click Properties to open the Settings window.
  4. Select the Show Wireless Assistant icon in the notification area option, and then click Apply . The icon displays in the system tray area.
You can now monitor the network at a glance by checking the wireless power LED , the wireless LAN device on icon , and the network connection icon .
NOTE:If the HP Wireless Assistant is not installed, it is available in the Network drivers section of the Support & Drivers page on hp.com.
Not all HP notebook PCs are configured with an integrated wireless networking device. If the computer has an external wireless network adapter, the device is probably turned on whenever the PCMCIA or USB adapter is connected. See the manufacturer's documentation for specific instructions. To reset the connection, remove the adapter from the PCMCIA slot or the USB port, and re-insert it while Windows is running. Windows Vista should detect the wireless adapter and begin searching for the wireless connection. You can choose to connect to any of the wireless networks in the local area.
Some PCMCIA wireless network adapters have LED lights that indicate certain network behaviors.
  • If there is no light on the adapter, it may not be connected to the notebook properly.
  • If the light is blinking, then your notebook may be out of range of the wireless network or the network may not be configured properly.
  • A solid light usually indicates that the card is receiving the wireless signal and the network is configured properly.
If unplugging and resetting the adapter fails to resolve the problem, go the adapter manufacturer's web site to download any updated wireless adapter software and drivers.
If you do not have HP Wireless Assistant installed on your computer, you can use the Windows Mobility Center to control the wireless devices. Windows Mobility Center can turn all of the wireless devices on or off at the same time. It cannot turn the wireless LAN and Bluetooth devices on or off individually, as they can when using HP Wireless Assistant.
The action of the Windows Mobility Center control is independent of the wireless device power switch. It is possible for the wireless device LED to glow blue because power is being sent to the device, although the device is turned off.
To verify the status of the installed wireless devices, follow the steps below.
  1. Click Start , enter mobility into the search field, and then select Windows Mobility Center from the list.
  2. On the Windows Mobility Center window, verify that the Wireless Network graphic shows as Connected .
  3. On the Windows Mobility Center window, this graphic shows the Wireless Network is Wireless off . Click Turn wireless on .
    Your wireless network device(s) are now turned on via Windows Mobility Center.

Verify the wireless network connection is enabled

For the wireless network adapter to operate properly, you must perform two separate actions: turn on the power to the wireless device, and then enable the device to send and receive signals.
Once you have verified that there is power available to the wireless device, verify that the device is enabled to send and receive signals.
The connection to a wired or wireless network can be disabled or enabled. To verify the status, do the following:
  1. Right-click the network connection icon in the system tray, and select Network and Sharing Center .
  2. Select Manage network connections .
  3. Verify the status of the wireless network. In this graphic, the wireless network is disabled.
  4. To enable the network, right-click the connection, and select enable . It may take a few seconds for the connection to become enabled.
If the connection to the network will not enable using the Windows Network and Sharing Center, or if it enables, but will not connect, use the HP Wireless Assistant to enable the wireless adapter.
To verify the status, do the following:
  1. Click Start , enter wireless into the search field, and then select HP Wireless Assistant from the list.
  2. Follow the on-screen instructions to enable the wireless adapter.
The wireless adapter should now be enabled.

Verify the current network settings

If you connect the computer to multiple home or business or public WIFI networks, the computer may be automatically trying to connect to the wrong network or use the wrong security settings.
When the computer detects a wireless network, if it has ever been connected to the network, it will attempt to re-establish the connection. The connection may not be to the network you want. You can specify what sequence the computer should use when multiple wireless networks are detected. Periodically, you may want to manually remove old or unused networks from the list of connections.
To determine what network the PC is connect to, or to select a different network, do the following:
  1. Right-click the network connection icon in the system tray and select Network and Sharing Center from the menu.
  2. The window displays the name of the network(s) and the types of connections.
    • If it is connected to the wrong network, select disconnect .
    • If you want to prevent a future connection to that network, select View status , and then de-select the three automatic connection options. Click OK to accept the change.
    • If the desired network is listed, but not connected or there is a poor connection, select View status , then select the Security tab, and then verify or change the security , security key (password), and key index values.
Incorrect configuration of your encryption settings is the most common cause of wireless network problems. In general, to resolve encryption problems, follow the steps below:
  1. Verify that the wireless network connection is enabled.
    1. Click Start and in the Search field, enter Network and Sharing , then select the Network and Sharing Center from the menu when the option appears.
    2. In the Network and Sharing Center, select Manage network connections in the left pane. The Network connections window appears.
    3. Examine your wireless connection. If it is disabled, right-click the wireless connection icon and select Enable .
  2. Verify that your notebook can see the name or SSID of the wireless network to which you are connecting.
    1. Click Start and in the Search field, enter Network and Sharing , then select the Network and Sharing Center from the menu when the option appears.
    2. In the Network and Sharing Center, select Connect to a network in the left pane. When the Connect to a network window appears, select Wireless from the drop-down menu.
    3. The network name to which you are connecting should be listed under wireless networks. If the name is not listed, follow the manufacturer's documentation on how to troubleshoot the wireless router.
  3. Confirm that the Network key configured in your notebook matches the Network key required by the wireless router or access point.
    1. Click Start , and in the Search field, enter Network and Sharing , then select the Network and Sharing Center from the menu when the option appears.
    2. In the Network and Sharing Center, select Manage wireless networks in the left pane. The Network connections window appears.
    3. In the Networks you can view and modify list, right-click the network name to which you are connecting and select Properties .
    4. In the Wireless Network Properties window, select the Security tab and enter the correct wireless encryption data by typing the Network key into the Network key: text box, and then click Okay to save these settings.
A common cause of poor network connectivity is accidently connecting to the wrong network. It is also possible for a connection to appear to be correct, but not actually exist. For instance, a power interruption to a router or a modem, or even a momentary break in the signal from the ISP can change IP addresses. These types of problems can be resolved by disconnecting from the network router and manually re-establishing the connection with the proper password and key index.
Before performing this method, verify that the wireless device is turned on and the network indicator light is glowing blue.
Use the following steps to disconnect from a wireless network, and then search for and manually re-connect to the desired wireless network.
  1. Right-click the network connection icon in the system tray, and then select Network and Sharing Center .
    Alternately, click Start , enter Network and Sharing into the search field, and then select the Network and Sharing Center from the list.
  2. If one or more wireless connections exist, click Disconnect . In a few moments the wireless network disappears from the display.
  3. In the Network and Sharing Center window, select Set up a connection or network in the left pane.
    DO NOT select the Connect to a network option. If the problem is an incorrect password or key index, this option will repeat the connection with the wrong information.
  4. In the Choose a connection option window, select Manually connect to a wireless network and click Next .
  5. Enter the required wireless network information, and then click Next .
    • Network name .
    • Security type . Must be the same security as set in the wireless router
    • Security Key/Passphrase .
    • Select Start the connection automatically .
    • Select Connect even if network is not broadcasting .
  6. If the wireless network exists, when prompted, select Use the existing network . The information you just entered will replace the previous values that cause the connection problem.
    Select the desired network, and click Connect .
    After a few moments, a message displays indicating that the computer is Successfully connected to the network.
  7. Once the connection is made, place the mouse pointer over the network connected icon in the system tray to verify the name, speed, strength, and status of the connection. If the connection is weak or slow, see Minimize interference and move the computer closer to the router .
At this point, there should be a good connection between your notebook and the wireless router or access point. Depending on your setup, you should have access to other computers and applications on the network, or access to the internet. If no wireless connection icon displays, the software driver is either missing or corrupt. See Reinstall WLAN Driver for details on how to correct this problem.
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.
To extend the usable range of the wireless network router, consider purchasing a different antenna from the router manufacturer, or use a signal repeater.

Test the individual components

Since this document addresses problems while setting up a new home wireless network, it may be helpful to test the individual components by temporarily connecting the computer to the components with a network cable, or installing updated drivers.
You can determine if there is a problem with the wireless router on a network by connecting the computer directly to the network router using an ethernet cable. If you cannot connect to the network wirelessly, but if you can see other devices on the network and access the internet with the wired connection, there may be a problem with the wireless device in the computer.
On the other hand, it may be a problem with an incorrect IP address or a security passphrase. It may be necessary to turn the computer's wireless network device on or off during the testing to verify that the router is set up with the correct name (SSID), security password, and network key.
  1. Move the computer closer to the router (if needed) and plug an ethernet cable into the network port on the computer and one of the available ports on the router.
  2. Right-click the network connection icon in the system tray, and select Network and Sharing Center .
  3. The window displays the name of the network(s) and the types of connections.
  4. Select Manage network connections .
  5. Verify the status of the wired network.
  6. If the wired network, or the wireless network, is Disabled , right-click the connection, and select enable . It may take a few seconds for the connection to enable.
    • If the Network and Sharing Center window shows connections from the computer to the network router, and from the router to the ISP or DSL modem, click the internet icon to open a browser and view a page on the web which means the router is configured.
    • If the Network and Sharing Center window shows connections from the computer to the network router, but not to the internet, the router may not be configured. See Reset and reconfigure the router .
    • If the network router cannot connect to the internet, and you have installed programs that required making changes to the firewall settings, refer to router manufacturer's help files for information on restoring the router to the factory default conditions.
  7. Once you have verified the direct wired connection to the internet, turn on the power to the wireless device, disconnect the ethernet from the computer, and manually set up a new connection to the wireless network.
If the above steps do not resolve the issue, try using a different ethernet cable. If that does not work, see HP Notebook PCs - Solve Internet or LAN Connection Issues When Using an Ethernet Cable to Connect to a Router or Modem for more troubleshooting ideas.
By connecting the computer directly to the ISP or DSL modem using an ethernet cable, you will determine if a signal is being received from the internet service provider (ISP). Open a browser and access any web site. If another computer is available, connect it directly to the modem to verify that it can connect.
  • If neither computer can connect to the internet, contact your ISP for technical assistance.
  • If one computer can connect but the other cannot connect using a direct connection, the problem is specific to that computer. See Advanced network and internet connection issues and then contact HP for technical assistance.
If no wireless connection icon displays within 15 to 30 seconds after enabling the wireless network, or if a Windows Device not Found error message displays, the software driver may be missing or corrupt. To resolve this problem, download and install the latest drivers and BIOS from the HP web site. While a driver can be accidently deleted one time, if the driver disappears from the Device Manager more than once, contact HP for technical support.
To get the updated wireless LAN adapter drivers and latest version of the BIOS for your notebook PC, go to the HP Drivers and Downloads page and search for updated drivers. You will need to know the exact model number or product number for your computer. Be sure to select the correct operating system.
If you cannot connect your computer to the internet, you can use another computer to connect to the internet and search for drivers. When downloading the files, use the Save option—not the Run option—to download the drivers to a memory stick, flash drive, a CD/DVD disc, or other portable media.
If the wireless adapter that you are using was purchased separately, consult the manufacturer's web site for the latest software.

Advanced network and internet connection issues

If the computer did connect to the wireless network at some time in the past, but now cannot connect to the wireless network router or to the ISP or DSL modem, and you have performed all of the previous troubleshooting actions, perform the following actions, and if necessary, contact HP for technical assistance.
If your wireless connection suddenly stops working when your notebook is operating on battery power, you may want to disable some of the power saver settings.
Notebooks use power settings to balance performance and battery life. If the power option is set to lower power setting to maximize battery life, it will reduce power to the network adapter. You should set the Power Output settings to 100% (maximum performance) for both battery power and when plugged into the AC power adapter. Follow the steps below to verify the correct settings:
  1. Click Start , enter power into the search field, and then select Power Options from the list.
  2. Select the High performance power plan.
Close the Device Manager, restart the notebook PC and attempt to reconnect to the wireless network.
Most wireless devices can be configured to turn off power to reduce the power drain on the battery. This is usually not a problem when the notebook is connected to an AC power adapter. However, when operating on battery power, the adapter can be turned off to save power. To disable this power setting, do the following steps.
  1. Click Start , enter device into the search field, and then select Device Manager from the list.
  2. Click the plus sign (+) next to Network Adapters , right-click on the wireless (WiFi) adapter in the list, and then select Properties .
  3. On the properties window for the adapter, select the Power Management tab, and then de-select the Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power option.
Close the Device Manager, restart the notebook PC, and attempt to reconnect to the wireless network.
If you have installed a new router, or made several changes to the router settings as you tried to resolve connection problems, you should reset the router to its factory condition and then run the manufacturer's setup program to configure the router. Use the following steps as a general guideline, but see the User Guide that came with the router for model-specific information.
NOTE:Most manufacturers allow you to reset the router to a default factory condition, and then provide a wizard to guide you through the complete installation and configuration process. To reset the router, disconnect the AC power and press the reset button on the back of the router.
  1. Enter the default IP addresses for the router into the URL address field on the browser.
    • 3Com: http://192.168.1.1
    • D-Link: http://192.168.0.1
    • Linksys: http://192.168.1.1
    • Netgear: http://192.168.0.1
    These IP addresses are provided for informational purposes only.
  2. When the home page for the router displays, you may have to enter a password to perform any configuration tasks. See the User Guide that came with the router for model-specific information.
    NOTE:Most manufacturers allow you to reset the router to a default factory condition, and then provide a wizard to guide you through the complete installation and configuration process. To reset the router, disconnect the AC power and press the reset button on the back of the router. You can now start the configuration process.
  3. When you have administrator access to the router, change the default name of the router, sometimes called an SSID, to a name that is distinguishable from other routers in your area.
  4. Set up wireless encryption (WEP) or Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), to prevent other computers from connecting to your home network.
  5. Enter a network access password, sometimes called a passphrase. Make sure that you pick a password that is easy for you to remember, such as a phone number that you dial often or a phrase that is easy for you to remember.
  6. If the router is connected to the ISP or DSL modem, open the browser and verify the computer has access to the internet.
Computers may become inundated with spyware and viruses, which can be brought on by a lack of a firewall. See HP Notebook PCs - Improving the Performance of Your Notebook PC for more information on how to protect your computer from these threats.
Additionally, make sure that the firewall settings allow you to access the internet. Refer to your help file for your firewall for more information about its settings.
If you are unable to resolve the issue of a wireless connection that worked previously, but now is unable to connect, performing a system restore may be the final option. Microsoft System Restore, if set up to do so, will create restore points automatically and periodically. Use an existing restore point to return your system to the condition that it was in when the wireless connection worked. See HP Notebook PCs - Using Microsoft System Restore for more information.

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