My Laptop Stopped Connecting to the Wireless Network

By Matthew Schieltz

Laptops can experience connectivity problems for a variety of reasons, such as electrical power outages or mysterious network "kicks" that throw you off the connection. Solutions for laptop connectivity issues vary and often involve checking and modifying network connection settings. However, some problems require moderate to advanced troubleshooting that involves connecting your laptop directly to a modem.

Things You'll Need

  • Laptop
  • Wireless router
  • Internet modem
  • Ethernet cord

Step 1

Confirm that your laptop is attempting to connect to the correct network. Click on the Internet access or network connection icon in the system tray, located at the bottom of the screen near the clock. Click "View Wireless Networks" if using Windows XP. Look for the name of your network in the list. Click on the network name if it is not already selected, and click the "Connect" button to have Windows attempt establish a connection. Right-click the name of the network and select the "Connection" tab. Confirm that the "connect automatically when this network is in range" box is checked. Click "OK."

Step 2

Change your wireless network adapter settings and confirm that the adapter is working properly. Click the "Start" button. Right-click "My Computer" in Windows XP or "Computer" in Windows 7 and Vista. Select "Manage." Click "Device Manager" from the list. Double-click "Network Adapters" to expand the list. Right-click your adapter and select "Properties." Confirm that the "status" box in the "General" tab reads "This device is working properly." Click the "Power Management" tab. Remove the checkmark from the "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power" checkbox. Click "OK," close out of Device Manager and attempt to establish an Internet connection.

Step 3

Change your computer's Workgroup name to the correct name if connected to an ad-hoc (computer-to-computer) wireless network. Click the "Start" button and click "Control Panel" to open it. Select the "Performance and Maintenance" section in Windows XP or the "System and Security" section in Windows 7 and Vista. Click "System" in Windows XP to open the System Properties box. In Windows 7 or Vista, click "System" and then "Advanced system settings" to open this. Click the "Computer Name" tab. Look at the "Workgroup" name and ensure that this is the correct name for your ad-hoc network. Click the "Change" button, enter the correct name in the "Workgroup" space and click "OK." Windows will automatically attempt to re-connect to the wireless network.

Step 4

Perform a complete power-cycle on your modem, wireless router and computer. Shut down your laptop. Unplug both the Internet modem and wireless router from their electrical outlets and wait for at least two minutes. Re-connect the Internet modem first, wait for connection lights to appear and re-connect the wireless router. Turn on your laptop and attempt to connect to the network.

Step 5

Configure your wireless router with different settings. Find an Ethernet cable. Connect the Ethernet cable to your laptop and to the modem to establish a direct Internet connection. Open the Windows Command Prompt, type "ipconfig /all" and press "Enter." Write down the numbered address listed as the "default gateway." Open an Internet browser window and type the default gateway into the address bar. Enter the router's administrative user name and password and press "Enter." Go to the "basic setup" section and confirm that "DHCP" is set to "enabled." Go to the "status" section and find the "DHCP refresh" and "DHCP renew" buttons. Click the "renew" and then "refresh" buttons to refresh the router's IP address. Go to the wireless security section and change the wireless "shared key" or "password." Save the settings. Closer the browser window. Unhook your laptop from the Internet modem and attempt to establish a wireless connection.