Basic Internet Troubleshooting
Just today I had to troubleshoot someone’s Internet. Fortunately, I was able to successfully fix it. While, I was doing this, I thought I would post a general guideline to help others troubleshoot their own Internet problems.
These steps are only to check the physical connection and hardware. I will be posting later on how to troubleshoot through Windows itself.
Step 1: Check your computer connection – I know this sounds obvious but before you start over thinking the problem, make sure your computer is actually plugged in, or if you have a wireless connection, make sure it is enabled on your computer. Sometimes after a lot of use, the clip on the jack can become loose and slip out without you knowing it, or it may have just fallen out by accident. For those of you on a wireless connection, there is usually some kind of indicator on your computer that it is switched on. The most common is an icon that looks like a tower with waves coming out of it. This icon is located in the bottom right hand corner of your desktop next to the time. On a laptop it is usually somewhere above your keyboard. This icon should be illuminated green or blue. If it is orange, then it has been disabled somehow. Check around the edge of your laptop for a physical switch that turns the wireless on or off. If you cannot find a switch and there is a lighted icon on your laptop, try touching it. A lot of newer computers have a touch activated switch.
Step 2: Make sure the other end of the cable is plugged into a router or modem – Always check this too, as it may have come loose as well. Especially if your router is on a desk and you have pets. Especially cats. They can inadvertently unplug the cable just by crawling around.
Step 3: Check your cables and ports– If you have another cable, try swapping it with your current one and see if that resolves the problem. Sometimes cables can go bad. Also try plugging your cable into a different port on your router. Ports can go bad as well. If this is the case, I usually use a Sharpie marker to mark the bad port.
Step 4: Make sure your router or modem has power – I know this sounds silly, but believe me, this has been the root cause of a lot of “no internet” problems. Double check to make sure it is plugged into the back of the device and plugged into the wall or power strip. If it is plugged in to a power strip make sure it is switched on as well.
Step 5: Make sure all the lights on the modem and router are on – Anytime your modem or router is working properly, there will be several LED lights lit on either device. The modem should have a power indicator, Internet indicator, PC Link indicator and Cable Activity indicator. The router should have a power indicator, Internet indicator and wireless indicator. All of these lights should be green or blue in general signifying they are working properly.
Step 6: Check the On/Off switch on your Modem – Most modems will have a physical switch that turns your Internet connection on or off. This is to protect your Internet while you are away from home or if you have children and don’t want them on the Internet at all hours of the night. Make sure that it has not been switched off by accident.
Step 7: Reset both your modem and router – Unplug both devices and let them sit for about 5 minutes. Then plug your modem back in first and wait until it cycles through its startup process. This usually takes a couple of minutes. Once you see all the LED lights back on plug your router back in and give it a few minutes to do the same. You should see all of the lights on your router back on as well. After this process, try accessing the Internet again.
Step 8: See if all computers are down or if it’s just yours – If you have another computer or a friend close by, see if any other computers are having the same problem. If a friend can bring their laptop over to your house and get on the Internet, then the problem lies within your computer itself. Or if you can access the Internet from another computer in your house, then you know the problem is isolated to your particular computer.
Step 9: Get ready to dive into Windows – At this point if you have tried all the steps listed here and you still don’t have Internet access, you will need to check settings and configurations on your computer. This can get a little tricky and confusing, but there are a couple of things you can do that are not too hard. Some of you may want to enlist the help of a friend at this point.
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Hope this helps anyone who is having Internet troubles. Please let me know if you found this article useful.