Troubleshooting Windows 7 Wireless Problems

November 30, 2010, By Christian Cawley

If you have purchased a Windows 7 PC or laptop or updated an older operating system to Windows 7 you may well have experienced problems with wireless connectivity.

Certain devices, their wireless cards and wireless routers seem to have a few problems in correctly communicating – leading to pretty frustrating connectivity problems. It is easy to suggest users reboot their PC or laptop and router, so what else can be done?

And what benefit does rebooting the PC or router give?

We’re going to investigate some common fixes for Windows 7 wireless connectivity issues that shouldn’t occur and are easily resolved.

Wireless router connection in Windows 7The PC and Router Reboot

Rebooting a PC is a great way to clear out all of the useless clutter that is in your computer’s memory – and rebooting your router has a similar effect.

In fact it would be wise to shut both down for a few minutes, particularly if your router is a device that is generally left switched on. Upon restarting, in certain situations connection to your router should be possible, and the issue resolved.

Safe Mode with Networking

There is every chance that the reason you cannot connect to your wireless router is nothing to do with your router or wireless card and everything to do with your Windows 7 security software.

Booting into Safe Mode wit Networking can help here, accessed usually by tapping the F8 key after the PC’s POST screen (this is the screen that tells you about your motherboard and memory straight after the “beep”).

With networking activated in Safe Mode, you should be able to find out whether you have a network connection or not without worrying about getting around all of the functions of your security software. If you can connect without issue, then the problem is your internet security suite.

New Windows 7 and Wireless Router Drivers

There is one key problem with Windows 7 wireless connectivity that affects the majority of older wireless routers – which is why it only occurs with Windows 7. Some wireless connection types are not permitted with Windows 7, meaning you can see a router and connect to it, but be unable to access your network.

Problems such as this are best resolved with new firmware for your router and drivers for your network card, and these will be available from the websites of the respective device manufacturers. Note that you will probably need a physical cable connection to your router in order to update the firmware.

It Still Won’t Work – What Next?

If you’re still experiencing wireless connectivity problems you have a few paths open to you.

To begin with, you can try a new wireless network card in your PC, and perhaps try a PCMCIA or USB wireless dongle in your laptop to see if these deliver better results.

Using a cabled connection might be preferable for your PC, meanwhile, with wi-fi really only being of benefit to laptops and mobile devices.

If you can get hold of a new router, try connecting to this. A successful connection would point to a problem with your home router and its ability to communicate with your computer’s wireless card.

Finally, you will find the only course of action still open to you is to purchase a new wireless router that is fully compatible with Windows 7.

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