Laptop Can’t Connect To The Internet

There could be several reasons why your laptop can’t connect to the Internet. We’ll run through a few of the most common here but there are a few things that need to happen for a laptop to gain Internet access through WiFi. You need to have a router, modem or access point configured properly, you must have a working Wifi adapter on the laptop, and you need to have passwords to any security the gateway device might be running. There are other things, like firewalls and other security that might prevent your laptop to connect to the Internet, but for the sake of this article, we’ll assume you are trying to gain access to the Internet from a working connection in your home.

Configure The Router If Laptop Can’t Connect To The Internet

Laptop Can't ConnectIf the router has not been configured yet, you will need to physically plug into it via an Ethernet cable and follow the router’s and your Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) instructions for setting it up. Routers will not just work right out of the box. You will need to enable wireless, configure it as a DHCP server so it gives your laptop an IP address and you will want to change the default login and password, as well as set up WPA-2 wireless encryption. You may also be required to clone your laptop’s MAC address. You can not do this initial setup through wireless, as the laptop is not on the same network as the router. Once the initial setup is complete, you can reboot the router and unplug the Ethernet cable.  If you configured the router to use WPA-2 or WEP encryption, you will need to click on the WiFi icon in your system tray and enter the password for your network.

Make Sure WiFi is Enabled

If the router is configured but you still can’t get access to the Internet, make sure you did not inadvertently disable the WiFi adapter. Laptops will usually have a switch or button that enables and disables the WiFi. It might also be associated with a function (FN) key. If you can’t find it, consult your laptops documentation. If the WiFi is turned on in hardware, it could also be turned off in software. Navigate to the Control Panel and look for the Network Connections icon. You will likely find two adapters in there, one for the wired and one for the wireless. Make sure they are enabled. You can also check their properties from here. Right-click the adapters and check their properties. Under TCP/IP, make sure they are set to Obtain IP Address Automatically. If your router is setup to be a DHCP server, it will give the laptop an IP address.

Laptop Can’t Connect To The Internet After Troubleshooting

If  your laptop can’t connect to the Internet after configuring the router, try disabling any firewalls you have running. You can also try rebooting all devices. This will often fix DHCP and DNS issues. Power down the laptop, unplug the router and modem, then slowly power each up in reverse order. If you still cannot connect to the Internet and have confirmed the router and laptop are setup properly, you can try bypassing the router and plug directly into the modem (if they are separate). If you can’t connect either wired or wireless, you should contact your ISP for further assistance.

If your laptop can’t connect to the Internet after these suggestions, please join our forums or read our other networking tutorials for additional help.


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