How to get Mac and Vista to share the same wireless internet access.
August 28, 2008 6:32 PM   Subscribe

Why would my Vista-running laptop suddenly refuse to share Internet access with my Mac OS X 5.4? (more inside)

Apologies if a similar question has been asked here; I searched the topic and didn't find an answer on-point (or, perhaps more likely, didn't understand what I read and missed the solution.)

Long-time Mac user, new to Windows. And fairly ignorant in the ways of wireless internet. Anyway, moved into our new home and for the past two weeks, I accessed the Internet wirelessly using the modem Comcast provided when setting up our service. Both the iMac (running OS X 5.4) and the Dell laptop (Windows Vista) were able to access the wireless internet with no problem. We've done nothing to either machine (that we are aware of), but as of yesterday, the web browsers we run on the Vista platform--Firefox, IE-- won't connect to the internet. Further, the iTunes running on the Dell will no longer connect with the iTunes on my Mac (which it had been doing for the past two weeks); the icon for the shared music will appear on the iTunes-on-Vista, but when we click on it, it just hangs.

What makes this puzzling to us is that the laptop running Vista remains connected to our wireless internet signal -- full bars, excellent signal strength. We've run the internal diagnostic software built into Vista, and it says that everything is operating fine -- this despite the fact that we can't actually use the internet on the laptop because while the computer says it is connected to the Internet, not of the applications act as if the computer is.

Everything works fine on the Mac; no interruption of Internet access on the Apple. And being a long-time Apple user, I'm not sure where to begin troubling-shooting the Dell laptop. Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
posted by herc to Computers & Internet (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My wife has an HP laptop running Vista and it took a while for me to get it to reliably connect to our router and the Internet. I have a Mac Mini, Vista HP tower and Ubuntu HP tower that have no problem at all. Go figure.

Now, about your problem. You are upfront about your lack of Windoze experience (so I don't blame you), but I think more info is needed. Also, I think the title of your question suggests that the Mac and Vista are not "sharing" the Internet, which made me think you were using one as a gateway for the other. But you said for a couple weeks both machines were connecting to a common cable model and/or router, right? So they are peers (one is not hosting the other)?

I assume you have checked the "Internet" switch that some laptops have. I can't tell you the number of times I found that turned off. Also, I have heard of cases where when the laptop goes to sleep and then wakes up later, the Internet switch gets turned off by the hardware and/or driver. I don't know Dells though.

Do you have automatic Windows updates enabled? It's possible you had an update pushed out that impacted your wireless driver.

Have you tried connecting with a CAT-5 cable instead of wireless (assuming that's an option you have)?

Do you have WPA2 security on your router (or maybe your cable modem just has wireless, in which case ignore this question). Signal strength just says if the laptop can "see" the router, not whether it is permitted to talk to it. Could it have forgotten the WPA2 security password. I also had trouble with the clocks being out of sync between the Vista laptop and the router (diff time zones by accident) and the WPA2 passwords were immediately expiring.

Have you tried doing Pings and Trace Routes from both machines (and do you know what they are)? In Windows go to Programs - Accessories - Command Prompt and in Mac go to Applications - Utilities - Terminal. In both the PING command would be "ping" or "ping" (or whatever your router/cable model IP address is). In Windows the trace route command is "tracert" and in Mac it's "traceroute".

I'm by no means an expert. If someone down thread seems to have more knowledge then ignore me and listen to them.
posted by forthright at 8:20 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

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