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Troubleshooting Wireless Network and Internet (Windows 8)

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This document pertains to HP and Compaq PCs using a wireless network (a router) with Windows 8.
The following sections provide detailed troubleshooting steps. Use the steps in the first section to solve most problems with a wireless network and Internet connection. If the steps in that section do not resolve the issue, go to the section that matches the network problem the computer is experiencing.
NOTE: If you are not using the latest version of Windows 8, some graphics and information in this document may vary. You can get the latest version from the Microsoft Store.

Before you begin: use Windows 8 diagnostic and troubleshooting tools

Windows 8 includes a network diagnostic tool and a network troubleshooter that help to identify network problems and provide possible solutions. Using these tools can help resolve many network and Internet connection problems. If the problem is not resolved after using these tools, go to the section that matches the symptom on your computer.
Windows 8 monitors the network and Internet connections. If it detects a problem, Windows 8 displays a message, and prompts you for permission to diagnose the problem. Click OK to allow Windows 8 to diagnose the problem and restore the connection.
To run the diagnostic tool manually, use one of the following options:
  • No error message is displayed, but there is no Internet or network connection:
    From the Windows desktop, right-click the Network Connection icon in the notification area, and then click Troubleshoot problems . Windows Network Diagnostics checks for problems.
    Figure 1: Troubleshoot problems
    Image of notification area
  • The Network Connection icon is missing in the notification area:
    From the Start screen, type repair to open the Search charm, and then select Identify and repair network problems from the search results.
    Figure 2: Searching for network diagnostics
    The search field for Identify and repair network problems
    The Windows Network Diagnostic tool opens and begins detecting problems. Read and respond to any onscreen instructions that open on your screen.
The Windows 8 Network and Internet Troubleshooter tests the network for problems and automatically repairs the network connections if applicable. Use this tool to test and repair the connection:
  1. From the Start screen, type control panel to open the Search charm, and then select Control Panel from the search results.
    Figure 3: Searching for Control Panel
    The search field for Control Panel
  2. Click View network status and tasks .
    Figure 4: Control Panel
    Control Panel, with View network  status and tasks encircled in red
  3. Click Troubleshoot problems .
    Figure 5: Troubleshoot problems
    Image of Network and Sharing Center
    The Network and Internet Troubleshooter opens.
  4. Click the item that matches the problem your computer is experiencing:
    Figure 6: Network and Internet Troubleshooter
    Image of the Network and Internet Troubleshooter
    • Internet Connections : Trouble connecting to the Internet.
    • Shared Folders : Trouble accessing files and folders on other computers on the network.
    • HomeGroup : Trouble viewing computers or files in a HomeGroup.
    • Network Adapter : Check to see if the network adapter is having problems.
    • Incoming Connections : Trouble accessing this computer from another computer on the network.
  5. Click Next , and then follow the instructions to check for problems.

Cannot connect to the wireless network or to the Internet

If the computer cannot connect to the wireless network or Internet or displays a limited access message, follow these steps to try to fix the problem.
Test the connection after performing each step. If the problem is not fixed, continue to the next step.
Use the following steps to verify that your modem, adapter, and router and access points are turned on and connected correctly:
  1. Check your cable or DSL modem for disconnected cables or wires. Make sure the power cable is connected and the lights are on.
  2. Make sure that the wireless router is connected to the power adapter and modem. Make sure the lights are on.
  3. Reseat all the cables and power cords.
  4. Turn on the computer and open the Windows Desktop.
  5. On the Windows desktop, click the Network Connection icon in the notification area, and then click the name of the network.
    If the network name is not displayed, wait a minute longer to see if the name appears. If it does not appear, go to Cannot turn on wireless communication or turn off Airplane mode .
  6. Click Connect .
    If you can connect to the network and to the Internet, you are done. If not, continue with the next step.
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, the router, or the Internet service is interrupted momentarily, the IP address might change and disrupt the connections. The indicator lights on the equipment might indicate that a connection exists, but the IP addresses might not be correct. To re-establish the correct IP addresses, reset the power as follows:
  1. Press and hold the power button for at least five seconds to shut down your computer.
  2. Unplug the power to the wireless router and to the cable or DSL modem.
    Figure 7: Unplugging the power cord from the back of a router
    A power plug being unplugged
  3. Wait at least 30 seconds before continuing.
  4. Reconnect the power to the modem and allow it to re-establish a connection to the ISP. If the modem has indicator lights, wait until the lights indicate a connection.
  5. If using a separate wireless router, reconnect the power to the router and allow it to re-establish the connections to the modem and other components.
  6. After the modem and router have finished making connections, turn on the computer.
  7. On the Windows desktop, click the Network Connection icon in the notification area, and then click the name of the network.
    If the network name is not displayed, wait a minute longer to see if the name appears. If it does not appear, go to Use Windows 8 diagnostic and troubleshooting tools .
  8. Click Connect .
    If you can connect to the network and to the Internet, you are done. If not, continue with the next step.
Disconnecting from the network and entering all of the network information can resolve some connectivity issues. Use the following steps to disconnect from a wireless network, and then manually re-connect to the desired wireless network.
  1. From the Start screen, type control panel to open the Search charm, and then select Control Panel from the search results.
    Figure 8: Searching for Control Panel
    The search field for Control Panel
  2. Click View network status and tasks .
    Figure 9: Control Panel
    Image of Control Panel
  3. In the Network and Sharing Center window, click Set up a new connection or network .
    Figure 10: Set up a new connection or network
    Image of Network and Sharing Center
  4. In the Choose a connection option window, select Manually connect to a wireless network , and click Next .
    Figure 11: Manually connect to a wireless network
    Image of Set up a Connection or Network window
  5. 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
    Figure 12: Network information
    Network information
    NOTE:If the wireless network already exists, when prompted, select Use the existing network . The information replaces the previous values that are causing the connection problem.
  6. Click Close .
    Figure 13: Successfully added network
    Image of Successfully added network window
    The computer should connect to the wireless network automatically. If it does not, continue with the next step.
  7. From the Windows desktop, click the Network Connection icon in the notification area, and then click the name of the network.
  8. Click Connect .
  9. Enter the network pass phrase (or security key) for the selected wireless network, and then click Next .
    The computer connects to the network.
    Figure 14: Security key or pass phrase
    Type the network security key
  10. Click OK .
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 might 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.
If the test fails with the computer and the router in the same room, continue to the next step to force the device to re-establish all connection values.
When the computer detects a wireless network, if it has been connected to that network in the past, it tries to re-establish the connection. However, the connection might not be to the correct network.
To determine what network the computer is attempting to connect to and to select the network you want, do the following:
  1. From the Windows desktop, click the Network Connection icon in the notification area see if any wireless networks are connected.
  2. If connected, click the name of the network and then click Disconnect .
  3. Click the name of the network you want and click Connect .
    NOTE: The network you select may require you to enter security credentials such as pass phrase, before it makes a connection.
    Figure 15: Available Networks list
     A graphic showing an example list of available networks in range from the Charms window.
    Once the computer is connected to the correct network, check for Internet access. If the computer does not have Internet access or has limited access, continue with the next step.
Connect the computer directly to the network router using an Ethernet cable to determine if the connection problem lies with the router settings or with the wireless signal. It is not necessary to turn off the computer's wireless network device during the testing.
  1. Move the computer closer to the router (if needed) and connect an Ethernet cable from one of the available ports on the router to the network port on the computer.
  2. Wait for one minute, then check the Network Connection icon in the notification area on the Windows desktop.
    • If the icon has an X in the lower corner ( ), the connection is not working. Right-click the icon, and then click Troubleshoot problems . Windows Network Diagnostics checks for problems. If Window Network Diagnostics is not able to fix the issue, the router is not working properly. Go to Step 6: Reset and reconfigure the router
    • If the icon does not have an X in the lower corner ( ), the connection is working. Disconnect the Ethernet cable from the computer, and manually setup a new connection to the wireless network. See Manually connect to the wireless network .
If you have installed a new router or made changes to the router settings while trying to fix connection problems, reset the router to its factory settings, then run the manufacturer set up program to configure the router.
Use the following steps as a general guideline, but see the User Guide for the router for model specific information.
  1. Enter the default IP addresses for the router into the URL address field on the browser. The following list provides default IP addresses for several routers.
    • 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
    NOTE: These IP addresses are provided for informational purposes only and may not work with all router models.
  2. When the home page for the router displays, you might need to type a password to perform configuration tasks. See the User Guide for model specific information.
    NOTE:Most manufacturers allow you to reset the router to a default factory condition and then open router configuration screens.
  3. When you have administrator access to the router, change the router's default name, sometimes called an SSID, to a name that is different from other routers in your area.
  4. Set up Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) or wireless encryption (WEP), to prevent other computers from connecting to your home network.
  5. Enter a network access password, sometimes called a passphrase. Make sure to pick a password that is easy to remember, such as a phone number that you dial often or a phrase that is familiar.
Outdated firmware may prevent the router from accessing the Internet or certain Web pages. Log into the router's configuration menu (as was done in the previous section) and use the menu to update the router's firmware. Consult the User Guide that came with your manual for information on how to perform a firmware update. It is a good idea to connect the computer directly to the router using its network cable when doing the firmware update.
If no network connection icon is displayed within 15 to 30 seconds after enabling the wireless network, or if a Windows Device not Found error message displays, the software driver might be missing or corrupt. To fix this, download and install the latest drivers and BIOS from the HP Web site.
To get the updated wireless LAN adapter drivers and latest version of the BIOS for your computer, go to the HP Drivers and Downloads page and search for updated drivers. You must know the exact model number or product number for your computer. Be sure to select the correct operating system.
If the wireless adapter you are using was purchased separately, consult the manufacturer's Web site for the latest software.
NOTE:If the computer cannot connect to the Internet, use another computer to download the files to an external storage device. Install the updated drivers from external storage device.
If the computer was able to connect to the wireless network in the past, but now cannot connect, perform a Microsoft System Restore .
If you have completed all the steps and still cannot connect to the wireless network, contact HP for support.

Wireless connection is slow

For a slow wireless connection, use the following steps to resolve slow wireless connections.
Test the connection after performing each step. If the problem is not fixed, continue to the next step.
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 might 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.
If the test fails with the computer and the router in the same room, continue to the next step to force the device to re-establish all connection values.
Downloading and installing the latest wireless LAN adapter driver can resolve many issues with a slow wireless Internet connection. Follow these steps to use Device Manager to find the latest WLAN driver:
  1. From the Start screen, type device manager to open the Search charm, and then select Device Manager from the search results.
    Figure 16: Searching for Device Manager
    The search field for Device Manager
  2. Double-click Network adapters , then right-click the name of the Wireless Adapter and select Update Driver Software .
    Figure 17: Update Driver Software
    Image of right-click menu
  3. Click Search automatically for updated driver software .
    Figure 18: Update Driver Software
    Image of Update Driver Software window
  4. If an updated driver is found, follow the instructions to install it.
    If Device Manager does not find an updated driver, you can check the wireless adapter manufacturer's Web site.
  5. In Device Manager, right-click the name of the adapter, and then click Properties .
    Figure 19: Properties
    Image of right-click menu
  6. Click the Driver tab. Make a note of the driver provider, date and version.
    Figure 20: Wi-Fi Adapter Properties
    Image of Wi-Fi Adapter Properties window
  7. Check the driver provider's Web site for an updated driver.
Watching streaming video over a wireless connection takes significant processing power. The video can skip (drop frames) when other software programs are active. Close any open software programs and try viewing again.
For even better performance, prevent unwanted software programs from opening with Windows and adjust Windows 8 performance settings. For more helpful tips on how you can increase performance, see Increasing System Performance Without Adding Memory in Windows 8 .
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. From the Start screen, type device manager to open the Search charm, and then select Device Manager from the search results.
    Figure 21: Searching for Device Manager
    The search field for Device Manager
  2. Double-click Network Adapters to expand the list, right-click the wireless (WiFi) adapter in the list, and then select Properties .
    Figure 22: Device Manager
    Image of Device Manager
  3. On the properties window for the adapter, click the Power Management tab.
  4. Remove the check next to the Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power option, and then click OK .
    Figure 23: Wi-Fi Adapter Properties
    Image of the Wi-Fi Adapter Properties window
Close the Device Manager, restart the notebook computer, and attempt to reconnect to the wireless network.
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.
Notebook computers use power settings to balance performance and battery life for users. If the power option is set to lower power setting to maximize battery life, it will reduce power to the network adapter. To avoid wireless issues, set the Power Saving Mode settings to Maximum Performance for both battery power and when plugged into the AC power adapter.
NOTE:Setting the Power Saving Mode to Maximum Performance will decrease battery life.
  1. From the Start screen, type power plan to open the Search charm, and then select Choose a power plan from the search results.
  2. On the Power Options window, select the Balanced (recommended) power plan.
  3. Click Change plan settings .
    Figure 24: Power Options
    Image of the Power Options window
  4. Click Change advanced power settings .
    Figure 25: Edit Plan Settings
    Image of the Edit Plan Settings window
  5. Click the Plus sign (+ ) next to Wireless Adapter Settings and Power Saver Mode.
  6. Select Maximum Performance from the drop-down list next to On Battery and Plugged in.
    Figure 26: Power Options
    Image of the Power Options window
Restart the notebook PC and attempt to reconnect to the wireless network.

Wireless communication (Wi-Fi) is turned off or Airplane mode is turned on (portable devices only)

Wireless communication can be turned on and off in Windows or using a keyboard key or button. These settings work independent of each other. It is possible for the wireless device LED on the keyboard to glow blue even if communication is turned off in Windows. First check the status of the wireless device LED. If the LED glows blue but the wireless device is turned off, you can use the PC Settings in Windows to turn on the wireless devices.
NOTE:You cannot turn off Airplane Mode using a keyboard key or button. Turn off Airplane Mode in Windows using the steps in the first section.
The action of the Windows 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.
NOTE:Turning on the wireless devices automatically disables Airplane Mode.
To verify the status of the installed wireless devices, follow the steps below.
  1. From the Start screen, type wireless devices to open the Search charm, and then select Turn wireless communication on or off from the search results.
    Figure 27: Searching for wireless devices
    The search field for Turn wireless devices on or off
  2. On the Network section of PC settings, check the status of wireless devices. If Wi-Fi is turned Off , click the toggle switch to turn it On .
    Figure 28: Turning off wireless devices
    The Network section of PC settings, with Wireless devices encircled in red
    NOTE:If you cannot click the toggle switch, the wireless device is turned off using the keyboard key or button. Go to Turn on device using the wireless keyboard key or button .
    NOTE:If the Wireless window displays the text No wireless devices are available , either the wireless network connection or the network adapter is disabled. To resolve this issue, use Windows Network Diagnostics. For more information, go to Use Windows 8 diagnostic and troubleshooting tools
    Your wireless network device(s) are now turned on.
Most notebook computers have a wireless keyboard key, switch, or a button on the case that turns the wireless network device on or off. In some cases, the wireless keyboard key or button might be inadvertently disabled by an accidental press. The wireless button or switch is usually found as one of the F keys on the keyboard or as an illuminated button above the keyboard.
NOTE:You cannot turn off Airplane Mode using a keyboard key or button. Turn off Airplane Mode in Windows using the steps in the previous section.
Figure 29: Example of a wireless keyboard key (yours may be different)
 Photo showing a wireless keyboard key with LED illuminated
The indicator light glows blue when the wireless communication devices are turned on. When the devices are disabled, the light glows amber.

Cannot share files with another computer on the network

If you can connect to the Internet but cannot access files on another computer on the network, use the steps in this section to resolve the issue.
If all of the computers on the network are running Windows 8, you can use a HomeGroup to share files between the computers. For more information, see Creating a Wireless Home Network .
If one or more of the computers on the network is not running Windows 8, the easiest way to share files on your network is to place them in the Public folder. Any file or folder you put in the Public folder is automatically shared with the people connected to your network. To turn on Public folder sharing, follow these steps:
Turn on Network discovery and file sharing on each computer that you want to access on the network.
Any file or folder you put in the Public folder is automatically shared with the people connected to your network. To turn on Public folder sharing in Windows 8, follow these steps:
  1. From the Start screen, type control panel to open the Search charm, and then select Control Panel from the search results.
    Figure 30: Searching for Control Panel
    The search field for Control Panel
  2. Click View network status and tasks .
    Figure 31: Control Panel
    Image of Control Panel
  3. Click Change advanced sharing settings .
    Figure 32: Network and Sharing Center
    Image of Network and Sharing Center
  4. Select both Turn on network discovery and Turn on file and printer sharing .
    Figure 33: Advanced sharing settings
    Image of Advanced sharing settings window
  5. Click Save changes .
To share non-public folders, do the following:
  1. Move the mouse pointer to the lower left corner of the screen, right-click, and then select File Explorer from the menu.
    Figure 34: Searching for File Explorer
    The search field for File Explorer
  2. Browse to the folder you want to share.
  3. Right-click the folder, select Share with , and then click Homegroup (view) , Homegroup (view and edit) , or Specific people .
    Figure 35: Share with
    Share with Homegroup
  4. If you choose Specific people , the File Sharing window is displayed.
  5. Click the down arrow and select the user you want to share with. If the user is not listed, type the user name and then click Add .
    Figure 36: File Sharing window
    File Sharing window
  6. Click an arrow under Permission Level to set the permission level for each user or group.
  7. Click Share .
Do the following to access shared files and directories:
the Step 2: Install updated Wireless LAN Driver
  1. From the Start screen, type network to open the Search charm, and then select Network from the search results.
    Figure 37: Searching for Network
    The search field for Network
  2. Click the name of the computer or device to access.
    If you cannot access the computer or device, go to Using the Windows 8 Shared Folders troubleshooter .
  3. If prompted, enter the user name and password to connect to the computer or device.
Windows 8 has a Shared Folders Troubleshooter that tests for problems accessing shared files and folders on other computers. Follow these steps to use this tool to check for problems with shared folders:
  1. From the Start screen, type control panel to open the Search charm, and then select Control Panel from the search results.
    Figure 38: Searching for Control Panel
    The search field for Control Panel
  2. Click View network status and tasks .
    Figure 39: Control Panel
    Image of Control Panel
  3. Click Troubleshoot problems .
    Figure 40: Troubleshoot problems
    Image of Network and Sharing Center
    The Network and Internet Troubleshooter opens.
  4. Click Shared Folders .
    Figure 41: Network and Internet Troubleshooter
    Image of the Network and Internet Troubleshooter
  5. Follow the instructions to check for problems.

Windows is asking for my User Name and Password, or network security key (passphrase)

A User Name and Password or network security key can be important for keeping your network secure. However, if you have not set a User Name and Password, or if you have forgotten or cannot find the network security key, this can prevent access to the network. Follow the instructions in one of the following sections.
A network security key or passphrase may have been entered by the person who set up the network or the Internet Service Provider (ISP) may have provided a security key.
Figure 42: Security key or pass phrase
Type the network security key
If you do not know or do not remember the security key, you can use one of the following methods to get it:
If another computer is connected to the network, you can use that computer to display the network security key. Follow the steps for the operating system on the computer you are using to find the key:
Follow these steps to view the network security key on a computer using Windows 8:
  1. From the Windows desktop, click the Network Connection icon in the notification area to display the available networks.
  2. Right-click the name of the network, and then click View connection properties .
    Figure 43: View connection properties
    Image of right-click menu
  3. Click the Security tab, then check the box next to Show characters .
    Figure 44: Wireless Network Properties
    Image of Wireless Network Properties window
    The Network security key is displayed.
Follow these steps to view the network security key on a computer using Windows 7 or Vista:
  1. Click Start , then click Control Panel .
  2. Under Network and Internet, click View network status and tasks .
  3. In the View your active networks area, click the name of the wireless network.
  4. Click Wireless properties .
  5. Click the Security tab, then check the box next to Show characters .
    The Network security key is displayed.
If you have forgotten the network security key, you can connect a network cable from the computer to the wireless router. This will allow you to access the router settings and view or change the security key. Follow these steps to view the security key using a network cable:
  1. Connect a network cable from a network port on the computer to one on the wireless router.
  2. Wait for Windows to connect to the router.
  3. Open a Web browser and type in the router IP address to connect to the router. See the following table for common router IP addresses, user names, and passwords.
    NOTE:The information listed in the table is commonly used by popular router manufacturers. If the information is not correct for your router, check with the manufacturer.
    Common Router Settings
    Router Brand NameRouter IP AddressUser NamePassword
    3Com http://192.168.1.1 admin
    D-Link http://192.168.0.1 admin
    Linksys http://192.168.1.1 admin
    Netgear http://192.168.0.1 admin password
  4. If prompted, enter the default router user name and password.
  5. Once you have entered the router configuration screens, search for the security key or passphrase. The key may be listed in a section or tab labeled Wireless Security .
If Windows prompts you to enter a User Name and Password to connect to a network, manually configure the network connection to resolve the issue.
Figure 45: User name and password
Image of user name and password screen
Use the following steps to manually configure the desired wireless network:
  1. From the Start screen, type control panel to open the Search charm, and then select Control Panel from the search results.
    Figure 46: Searching for Control Panel
    The search field for Control Panel
  2. Click View network status and tasks .
    Figure 47: Control Panel
    Image of Control Panel
  3. In the Network and Sharing Center window, click Set up a new connection or network .
    Figure 48: Set up a new connection or network
    Image of Network and Sharing Center
  4. In the Choose a connection option window, select Manually connect to a wireless network , and click Next .
    Figure 49: Manually connect to a wireless network
    Image of Set up a Connection or Network window
  5. 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
    Figure 50: Network information
    Network information
    NOTE:If the wireless network already exists, when prompted, select Use the existing network . The information replaces the previous values that are causing the connection problem.
  6. Click Close .
    Figure 51: Successfully added network
    Image of Successfully added network window
    The computer should connect to the wireless network automatically. If it does not, continue with the next step.
  7. From the Windows desktop, click the Network Connection icon in the notification area, and then click the name of the network.
  8. Click Connect .

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