Troubleshoot Network & Internet Problems in Windows 7 & Windows 8

Network and Internet TroubleshootingWhen you have problems with your network and/or Internet connection, don’t hesitate to use the troubleshooting wizards bundled with Windows 7 and Windows 8. They are easy to use and they can help you identify what’s wrong and how to fix your problems. In this tutorial I will show how to start these network and Internet troubleshooting wizards and how to work with them in order to fix problems.

How to Find the Network & Internet Troubleshooting Wizards

One of the easiest ways to access the network and Internet troubleshooting wizards is to open the Network and Sharing Center and click or tap the "Troubleshoot problems" link.

This is how the Network and Sharing Center looks like in Windows 7.

Network and Internet Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows 8

In Windows 8, the Network and Sharing Center is a bit different. However, the "Troubleshoot problems" link can still be found at the bottom of the window.

Network and Internet Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows 8

This opens the list of Network and Internet troubleshooting wizards available in Windows.

Network and Internet Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows 8

As always, you can also use search to launch these wizards. In Windows 7, type the word "trouble" in the Start Menu search box. Then, click the Troubleshooting search result.

Network and Internet Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows 8

In Windows 8, go to the Start screen, type the word "trouble" and filter the results by Settings.

Network and Internet Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows 8

Then, tap the Troubleshooting search result.

Another way is to type the word "trouble" in the search box found on the top right of the Control Panel.

Network and Internet Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows 8

Clicking or tapping or Troubleshooting reveals the Troubleshooting window, where you find all the troubleshooting tools included in Windows.

Network and Internet Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows 8

To display the troubleshooting wizards we are interested in, click or tap Network and Internet.

You can start any of the available wizards, depending on the problem you are facing:

  • Internet Connections - this wizard helps when you are connected to the network but the Internet doesn't work or you have trouble accessing particular websites;
  • Shared Folders - use this wizard when you have problems accessing shared files and folders on other computers and devices from your network;
  • HomeGroup - when you have problems viewing computers or shared folders that are part of the Homegroup, use this wizard;
  • Network Adapter - this wizard is useful when you have problems with your wireless or network adapters. It helps with anything that is related to your network connection;
  • Incoming Connections - this wizard is helpful when other computers have trouble connecting to your computer's shared files and folders;
  • Connection to a Workplace Using DirectAccess - this wizard can be used when you have problems connecting to enterprise network domains. It is available only in Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 8 Enterprise.

Start the Network & Internet Troubleshooting Wizards from the Command Prompt

The network and Internet troubleshooting wizards can also be started using the Command Prompt or the Run window.

Copy and paste the following commands:

  • To open the Internet Connections troubleshooting wizard - msdt.exe -id NetworkDiagnosticsWeb;
  • To open the Shared Folders troubleshooting wizard - msdt.exe -id NetworkDiagnosticsFileShare;
  • To open the HomeGroup troubleshooting wizard - msdt.exe -id HomeGroupDiagnostic;
  • To open the Network Adapter troubleshooting wizard - msdt.exe -id NetworkDiagnosticsNetworkAdapter;
  • To open the Incoming Connections troubleshooting wizard - msdt.exe -id NetworkDiagnosticsInbound.

How to Use the Network & Internet Troubleshooting Wizards in Windows 7 & Windows 8

Each troubleshooting wizard is a bit different because it solves the specific problems it is supposed to solve. To help you understand how to use a troubleshooting wizard, I ran the Network Adapter wizard in order to understand what is wrong with the wireless network connection on my Windows 8 laptop. Using other wizards works the same way, using the same principles.

At the beginning of the troubleshooting wizard, before you press Next look for a link named Advanced.

Network and Internet Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows 8

Click or tap on it. This reveals some interesting options. For example, the Network Adapter wizard can automatically apply repairs. Check the appropriate box to enable this feature and click or tap Next.

Network and Internet Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows 8

The troubleshooting wizard detects that I have several network adapters and asks me to select the one I want to troubleshoot. In this case, I selected WiFi and pressed Next.

Network and Internet Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows 8

NOTE: The Network Adapter troubleshooting wizard displays also virtual network adapters, if you have installed virtualization software that uses such devices (e.g. VirtualBox).

The troubleshooting wizard starts the diagnostics process and displays a progress bar like the one shown below.

Network and Internet Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows 8

When it detects problems, it also tries to apply the fixes it believes are appropriate and then verifies if the problem still exists.

Network and Internet Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows 8

At the end of the whole process, the troubleshooting wizard shares details about the problem and its status.

Network and Internet Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows 8

In my case, the problem remained unfixed. The Network Adapter wizard proposes additional options via the "Explorer additional options" button. If you want to view detailed information about the problem(s) it identified and what it has done to fix things, click the small link that says "View detailed information".

To close the wizard, click or tap Close

Click on Close and you are done.

NOTE: If the troubleshooting wizard you have used hasn't detected any problems but you still have issues, you may have not used the correct wizard. In this case, try another troubleshooting wizard, which is related to the problem you are experiencing.

Troubleshooting Problems with a Wireless Network

If you have troubles connecting to wireless networks, we recommend reading the following troubleshooting guides:

Conclusion

Both Windows 7 and Windows 8 provide a complete list of troubleshooting wizards which can help you identify the root cause of your networking problems. When I have an issue, I use these wizards and, in most scenarios, they are able to identify the root cause.
Even when they cannot help me fix the problems I encounter, they provide information that is valuable to technical support staff that can fix things for me.