Wifi not connecting on laptop, but works on phone?
April 11, 2013 3:27 PM   Subscribe

My laptop refuses to connect to my home wifi network, saying a cable is unplugged. It's not.

My laptop has been working fine up until today. I started up and tried to connect. I got a message saying "a network cable is disconnected. I tried disabling the wired connection, thinking it was confused. I tried resetting the router and the modem, and shutting down/removing the battery from my laptop. I checked all the cables and made sure they were connected. I checked my wireless adapter in Device Manager, it says it's functioning properly and drivers are up to date. Nothing's worked.

The odd thing is that my iPhone can connect perfectly fine to the network. So I'm at a loss. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
posted by cozenedindigo to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This happened to me this morning after a Windows Update. I forget exactly what I did to solve it. I think I viewed my network properties and ran a diagnostic and I got a couple odd messages about whether the network was supposed to be connected to automatically or not and then I had to close and reopen my browser and it worked. Sorry to not be more specific but since you had the same problem on the same day (my phone worked too and that's how I knew it was my laptop and not my wireless or network).
posted by RoadScholar at 3:43 PM on April 11, 2013

This happened to the netbook my mom inherited from my brother when he went overseas. I did a bit of Google sleuthing and discovered there was a keystroke that disabled the network adapter. I think it was Fn+F11. Hit that and the stupid thing immediately connected to our WiFi. Might be a similar keystroke for your model?
posted by Verdandi at 3:43 PM on April 11, 2013

Response by poster: Sorry, forgot to mention: I have run the Network diagnostic already a few times and it hasn't worked. Neither has disabling and re-enabling wifi. :/
posted by cozenedindigo at 3:57 PM on April 11, 2013

What did the diagnostic say? Does it see any other wireless networks? Multiple things could be wrong: Driver issue, antenna unplugged from card, etc.
posted by NotSoSimple at 5:03 PM on April 11, 2013

Response by poster: It just said there was a network cable unplugged. It can see multiple networks nearby.
posted by cozenedindigo at 5:18 PM on April 11, 2013

I wrote a long troubleshooting list, but on preview i saw your post about seeing multiple networks. i just extracted the two relevant steps from my guide:

* go in to device manager(right click my computer/computer on the start menu or desktop>properties>device manager) and select network adaptors. Right click it and click "uninstall". Restart the computer.

* Look up your model of laptop and go to the manufacturers page for that card. Not the laptop manufacturer, the actual card. Get the very latest intel/atheros/etc drivers directly from that companies site. Then repeat the steps above, but don't reboot. If the "found new hardware!" thing pops up, just ignore it and let it sit there without installing any drivers. Run the installer app(or use windows pop up to select the folder you downloaded them in to if there isn't one) and then reboot.

Post back if that doesn't work.
posted by emptythought at 5:20 PM on April 11, 2013

I checked all the cables and made sure they were connected.

Did you try replacing the cable with a new one, just to reeeaaaaally make sure the wire's not the problem?

Sorry to bring it up if you already checked this. Your wording was a little ambiguous, so I thought it'd be good to bring it up. (Who hasn't had hours of frustrated trouble-shooting, just to realize the wire had gone defective?)
posted by meese at 5:25 PM on April 11, 2013

I've beaten my head against Windows' wireless networking manager many times. The absolute drop-dead method for making sure things aren't actually busted in my house is to boot from a Linux usb key. If it's also broken there then you may have an honest-to-goodness hardware failure.
posted by 1adam12 at 5:37 PM on April 11, 2013

1) Does the laptop have an external wifi on/off toggle/button? Try "turning it off and on again".
2) If you use a third party (non-Windows) wireless client to select your network usually, turn that off. Use the Windows one instead.
3) Can you see any wireless networks in the area? (usually your neighborhood would have a bunch of SSID to choose from). If you see many, including your own, remove your current profile and manually create a profile again.
If you see many but not your own, create a new profile for it.
4) If you can't see any networks in the area, disable the wireless adapter under network connection, then re-enable it. (I'm only familiar with XP, but I'm not on a Windows machine right now, so this may not be perfect).

5) If it still doesn't work, turn your wired connection on again, connect your laptop to the router with a cable. Can you get a connection? If not, there may be something wrong with your TCP/IP setting or even corrupted winsock. (I can continue further once you've tried the above)

Edit: Ah sorry, just saw your follow up answers. Try step 1, 2, and 5 at least.
posted by lucia_engel at 7:00 PM on April 11, 2013

Response by poster: Well, this is kind of embarrassing but it looks like I changed my WPA2 password and forgot about it? Somehow. Haha. So thanks everyone! That was a really frustrating problem, especially since it wasn't telling the password was incorrect.
posted by cozenedindigo at 3:10 PM on April 13, 2013

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