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How To Check Internet Connectivity in Windows

written by: Lucinda Watrous•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 8/28/2008

Several things can contribute to your Internet connectivity issues, and figuring out the source of the issue can prove very frustrating.

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    If you cannot get access to the Internet, it can definitely be a pain in the neck. While more than one thing could be the cause of your Internet outage, here are some steps you can take to narrow down the cause to either your ethernet card, your modem and/or router, or your service provider.

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    Things You'll Need

    • Windows
    • Internet Connection and Service
    • Router and/or modem to troubleshoot
    • Ethernet card (to troubleshoot)
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    Step One

    First, you'll want to reset your modem, by removing the cable or DSL line and the power. If you have a router, remove the power to reset this device as well. Now, check for Internet connectivity. You can do this by going to: Start > Run. Type cmd in the box. Click OK. Now type the word ping, followed by a web address, like, or If you are getting a "host cannot be found" message, then you still do not have Internet service. Proceed to step two.

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    Step Two

    If you're still having Internet connectivity issues, you'll want to check your network connection. Go to Start > Control Panel > Network Connections. If you see a red x, something is wrong with the connection. Make sure your ethernet cable is securely inside the port in the back of your computer, and that the lights are blinking. If this causes the connection to refresh, that was your problem.

    If not, you either have a bad card, or the drivers have not been installed. Before you go on to the next step, right click the connection in the network connection window, and disable the connection. Now, do the same thing again, this time enabling the connection. This will cause the connection to refresh.

    Test your connection again, by repeating the ping step from step one. If this does not work, move on to step three.

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    Step Three

    Now, we're going to check your ethernet card. Open the device manager by going to Start > Control Panel > System. Look for the panel that says hardware, and then click the button that says "Device Manager." Now, in the list that comes up, you'll want to look for Network Devices. If there is an X by your card, you likely have accidentally disabled the card. Right click it, and click "Properties." Select "Enable this Device", click apply, and OK. If there is a yellow box, you need drivers. You'll have to use the disc that came with your system (or the card if you are not using an integrated system card), or download the drivers from the manufacturer, from another computer with an Internet connection.

    If you need to download the drivers from another computer, you should use a flash drive, an external hard drive, or some other form of transferable media (CD, floppy disc) to get the files, so that you can transfer them back to your computer. When you visit the manufacturer's site, be sure to save the files to that drive (look in My Computer to find out what drive letter your flash drive or external has been assigned); or you can save them to the "My Documents" folder and burn them to a CD. When you have saved the files, go back to your computer and insert your flash drive, or whatever medium you used to save the files. Look for the file name you downloaded on to it, and double click it. This will allow it to run and install on to your computer.

    If you still cannot get the drivers to install, you can try the "Add Hardware" option in the Control Panel, which will automatically search for hardware installed in your computer that does not have active drivers. Point the computer to look in the location where you have stored the driver files, and it should find them on its own.

    Once you have done these things, check your Internet connection again by repeating the ping step from step one.

    If this does not work, you'll need to contact customer service for your Internet service provider to see if there are any outages in your area. If you are using a leased modem, they will also be able to help you determine if the modem has gone bad.

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    Tips, Warnings, and Other Information

    • Contact Customer support for your modem (if you're not using a leased one from your ISP) to see if your modem has gone bad.
    • Contact Customer support for your router if you have followed all the steps and are still having a problem when all signs point that you should not be. If you suspect the router, connect your computer directly to your modem and test your connection.
    • Contact your ISP to verify your TC/IP settings to make sure this is not the cause of the problem.