Internet connection problems are most commonly caused by disconnected cables or by routers and modems that aren't working correctly. First, try running the Network troubleshooter to see if it can diagnose and fix the problem.

  • Open the Network troubleshooter by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Identify and repair in the search box, and then tapping or clicking Identify and repair network problems.

If running the Network troubleshooter didn't solve the problem, then follow these steps:

  1. Make sure all cables are connected. For example, make sure your broadband modem is connected to a working phone jack or cable connection, either directly or through a router.

  2. Remove the power cord from the modem and router.

  3. After all lights on the devices have gone out, wait at least 10 seconds, and then plug the modem and router back in.

    Some modems have a battery backup that prevents the lights from going out. For this kind of modem, press and quickly release the reset button. If you don't see a reset button, remove the battery instead.

  4. If you're setting up a new PC for the first time, check if your router is fully compatible with Windows. Because of the new networking features in Windows, some older network routers aren't fully compatible and can cause problems. For a list of routers that are compatible with Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1, go to the Windows Compatibility Center.

  5. Make sure your router and the network adapter in your PC will work together. To work, the network adapter in your PC must use a wireless standard that is equal to or older than the router’s wireless standard. For example, if the network adapter in your PC uses the 802.11n wireless standard (also called Wireless-N) but your router uses 802.11g, (also called Wireless-G), you won't be able to connect because the Wireless-G standard is an earlier version and doesn’t recognize Wireless-N.

    However, if the router uses Wireless-N but the adapter in your PC uses Wireless-G, you should be able to connect if the router is set to mixed mode, since Wireless-N works with some or all of the earlier standards (802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g).

If these steps didn't solve the problem, try the steps in the following sections that apply, or see Why can’t I connect to a network?

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I can't connect to the Internet through a broadband connection (DSL, cable, or fiber optic)

  • Check to see that the network (Ethernet) cable is plugged in correctly into the Ethernet port on the modem and on your PC. Each end of a network cable should look like this:

    A network (Ethernet) cable
    A network (Ethernet) cable
  • Verify that you're not using a DSL filter between the phone jack and the modem.

  • Check the lights on your modem. These can sometimes indicate the location of the problem—whether it's the Ethernet, DSL, cable, fiber optic connection, or the power to the modem.

  • Reset your IP address. Here's how:

    1. Open Command Prompt by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Command Prompt in the search box, and then tapping or clicking Command Prompt.

    2. At the command prompt, type ipconfig /release, and then press Enter. This releases your current IP address.

    3. At the command prompt, type ipconfig /renew, and then press Enter to get the new IP address.

      The DHCP configuration for all adapters will be renewed. To renew the IP address for a specific adapter, enter the adapter name that appears when you enter ipconfig at the command prompt.

  • Ask your Internet service provider (ISP) to verify that its servers are functioning correctly, and that you have an ISP user account and access to the ISP service.

  • If you've recently replaced your router or modem, and your ISP uses MAC address filtering, your ISP will need to add your new device to the list of devices that can connect to the network. If you suspect this is the case, contact your ISP for assistance.

My connection is listed as "Limited"

This means the PC has successfully connected to the router, but the PC wasn't assigned a valid IP address, so you can't actually get to the Internet. It can also indicate that a valid IP address was assigned but that the PC doesn't have Internet connectivity. If you're connected to a home network, try restarting the router. If you’re connected to a domain network or a public network, contact technical support for that network.


  • PCs running Windows RT 8.1 or Windows 8.1 can't join a domain. You can only join a domain if your PC is running Windows 8.1 Pro or Windows 8.1 Enterprise.

I can't connect to the Internet through a dial-up connection, or I'm being disconnected

  • Make sure you're dialing the correct number, including any required access numbers (such as 9), and that the number isn't busy.

  • Make sure the phone jack is working. To test this, plug in a phone to see if there is a dial tone.

  • Make sure the phone cable is plugged into the "line" jack on your modem, not the "telephone" jack.

  • Make sure the phone cable isn't defective by plugging a phone into the "telephone" jack on your modem. If there's a dial tone, the phone cable is working.

  • If you have call waiting, try turning it off, and then try connecting again.

  • Your ISP might have disconnected you if you weren't interacting with the website for a while. Try connecting again.

  • If someone picked up the phone while you were online, you might have been automatically disconnected. Try connecting again.

  • Most dial-up modems work only with analog phone lines. Verify that you have analog phone lines installed, or, if you have digital phone lines installed, verify that your PC has a digital modem.

  • Make sure your modem is working properly. For more info, check the info that came with your modem or go to the manufacturer's website.

  • Contact your telephone company to verify the quality of your phone line.

  • If your PC has two network connections, the networking software must choose which connection to use for network traffic. The networking software picks the connection with the best performance. For example, if connection A has Internet connectivity but slow performance, and connection B has no Internet connectivity but better local network performance, the networking software will route network traffic over connection B. This means that you won't be able to view websites, so Windows will report that you only have local connectivity (no Internet). Technically, this is correct, but it's not what you want. To force your PC to use connection A—the connection with Internet connectivity—disconnect connection B and try again.

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