How to reconnect your computer to a network, if it’s having trouble

Windows 7 and Windows 8 do a pretty good job of connecting to networks automatically. And if your network goes out (maybe from a power failure or a switch going offline), Windows will generally reconnect without a problem. But sometimes it needs an extra kick. Also, if your laptop goes into sleep at one location and wakes up at another location (when going from home to work, for example), you might get a mysterious notice about “IP address conflict”.

The first thing to try when encountering these problems is the “release and renew” two-step. You release all your network adapters (wired, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) from their connections, then restore any available connections.

All it takes is typing in a few commands. (If you’re in a corporate environment, you may need administrative permissions.) Here’s how:

  1. Press + R to display the Run dialog box.
  2. Type cmd (for a command prompt) then press Enter or click OK.
  3. In the box that comes up, type:
    ipconfig /release then press Enter.
    (There’s only one space: before the slash)
  4. Now, type:
    ipconfig /renew then press Enter.

    You’ll see some messages scrolling up. Some may tell you that it can’t renew when media are disconnected (for example, if you don’t have an Ethernet cable plugged in), but at least one message should tell you that your connection is restored.

    If you want to make sure you have an Internet connection, try pinging a web site. I find that Yahoo works pretty well. In the same box, type:
    ping www.yahoo.com then press Enter.

    If your Internet connection works properly, you’ll see four replies, like this:

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