Troubleshooting Windows Networking

Ok, ok. What’s a Windows article doing on a Linux blog? Well, I wanted to help a friend with a networking issue, and I thought maybe someone else might find it helpful as well. Every Linux user will end out running into Windows at some point anyway either through a remote desktop or virtual machine, so maybe it’s not too far off topic.

If you see something that I missed or a different approach to the problem, please comment below.

Here’s the issue … a friend’s computer connects to the wireless at their house but doesn’t have Internet. Other devices in their house connect, so it leads me to believe that the router is working although it could be an issue with DHCP and the other devices don’t need to renew their IP address. But, the laptop doesn’t work at their friend’s house. That makes me think that the problem is mostly with the laptop itself.

Run IP Config

You need to open the command prompt first. The start menu has changed through the versions of Windows, so it may look different for you. If you are on Windows 10, you can enter “cmd” in the “Ask me anything” search box.

On the Windows 8 start menu, there should be a search in the upper right hand corner where you can type “cmd”. Across all of the versions, you should be able to hold the Start key down on the keyboard while pressing R to get the Run dialog. There, type “cmd”.

At the command prompt, type “ipconfig” and press enter. (Note: you can type “ipconfig /all” to get more information.)

What we are looking for is the IP address. That is a series of 4 numbers separated by periods. In my picture, my IP address is

What does the IP address tell me?

First of all, if you have an IP address, you are most likely connected to some kind of network. If you don’t have an ip address, there’s a good change that either your ethernet cable is not connected or your wireless isn’t connecting.

Second, if you have a IP address that starts with “169.254” that means that your DHCP is not working. DHCP is the technology that allows your router for your network to assign the appropriate address to all of the devices that will make them work on it’s network. It’s important because it allows you to move your laptop from network to network without having to worry about changing any of these settings or even knowing what they are.

Checking Networking Settings

You can view the way your network adapter is setup in the control panel. Again, the control panel has changed over the years, but you should be able to open the control panel by searching for it again in the start menu.

Next, click “Network and Internet” in the control panel. Then, click “Network and Sharing Center”.

In the network and sharing center, you should be able to see your network connections. If you click on the network that you are having trouble with, you can see the settings.

In the network “status” window, click the “Properties” button. Then, find Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPV4) in the list and select it. Finally, click the “Properties” button for that item.

Unless you have been told to specifically configure an ip address, you should have the “Obtain an IP address automatically.” This means that you will be using the network’s DHCP feature.

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