Using the Network troubleshooter in Windows 7

Lots of people use networks, but most people don’t have the time or inclination to become networking experts. Instead, we often rely on someone more knowledgeable to troubleshoot our network problems. But what if you don’t have someone available to help you? The Network troubleshooter in Windows 7 provides a way for anyone to diagnose and repair network problems.

Networks are complex

Networks rely on complex technology, so diagnosing the root cause of a network problem can often be a difficult task. For example, if you can't access a website, you will see an error message, but the message might not be necessarily very helpful since it typically won't pinpoint the exact problem. The problem could be caused by a number of issues with your computer, the web server, or the network between your computer and the web server.

The Network troubleshooter can help

When a network problem occurs in Windows 7, the Network troubleshooter helps to diagnose and repair the problem. For example, when you see some error messages such as “Page cannot be displayed” or “Server is not available,” you have the option of using the Network troubleshooter to identify the problem. To open the Network troubleshooter from network-related error messages, click Diagnose or Troubleshoot.

Picture of an error message showing the Diagnose button
Error message with a Diagnose button

Some programs, such as Remote Assistance, automatically detect when there’s a problem and give you the option of running the troubleshooter. Here are some other ways to access the Network troubleshooter:

  • Right-click the network icon (Picture of the wireless network icon or Picture of the wired network icon) in the notification area of the taskbar, and then click Troubleshoot problems.
    Picture of the Troubleshoot problems option
    Troubleshoot problems option
  • Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click Control Panel‌, and then, in the search box, type troubleshooter. Click Troubleshooting, click Network and Internet, and then click the type of problem you are experiencing.
    Picture of the Network and Internet troubleshooters
    Network and Internet troubleshooters
  • Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click Control Panel‌, and then, in the search box, type network. In the list of results, click Network and Sharing Center, and then click Troubleshoot problems.
    Picture of the Troubleshoot problems option in Network and Sharing Center
    Troubleshoot problems option in Network and Sharing Center
  • Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click Control Panel‌, and then, in the search box, type adapter. Under Network and Sharing Center, click View network connections, right-click a network adapter, and then click Diagnose.
    Picture of the Diagnose option in Network Connections
    Diagnose option in Network Connections

After diagnosing a problem, the Network troubleshooter will suggest ways for fixing it. Sometimes the troubleshooter can even fix the problem automatically without any intervention from you. For example, if your network adapter has difficulty resuming from sleep, the Network troubleshooter can automatically reset the adapter and driver.

The Network troubleshooter can also detect whether a computer's wireless networking capability is turned off. This is a common problem, which might have led you to call technical support in the past. But with the Network troubleshooter, you can fix this problem yourself.

Picture of a Network troubleshooter dialog box with wireless capability turned off
Network troubleshooter dialog box showing that wireless capability is turned off

After you run the Network troubleshooter, a problem report is stored in the troubleshooting history for future reference. If troubleshooting didn't fix the problem, sharing this report with a technical support person can help them identify and solve complex network problems faster.

The problem report contains one or more event logs. Network administrators and technical support personnel can use the information in the event logs to analyze connectivity problems or help interpret the conclusions. You can find this information by clicking View detailed information on the final page of the troubleshooter, or by following these steps:

  1. Open Troubleshooting by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, and then, under System and Security, clicking Find and fix problems.

  2. In the left pane, click View history.

  3. Right-click the troubleshooting report, and then click View details.

For more information, see Use Network troubleshooter event logs to solve network problems.