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I've been asked by a neighbor to try and fix their computer (the plight of having a CS degree I suppose)

Anyway, the problem is they can't connect to the internet (bad card or drivers was my first thought too!), however upon testing it seems to be deeper than that. The computer can seem to see the network and communicate to it but it can't acquire a network address, (the icon in the system tray has that annoying little yellow dot that bounces back and forth). I have tried both wireless and wired and the same result, so I don't think it's a driver issue since both drivers would need to have the same problem.

My assumption is that there is a problem with the OS, but I don't know where to start testing or how to troubleshoot further so any advice is welcomed!

System Info: Sony Viao Laptop Windows XP SP 2

If you need more info I can provide it.

Thanks in advance!

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obvious question, is the router you're connecting to working properly? – Xantec Nov 21 '10 at 1:31
What do you mean by able to see the network and communicate to it? Can it see a share on another computer? can it ping the router? or is the device just getting link from the router? Have you tried a new cable? have you reset winsock ( Can other computers get access to a local and internet connection through the router? – MaQleod Nov 21 '10 at 2:02
@Xantec, Yes it is, there are 3 other computers currently connected and running on it. Also this same issue happens on other networks. – Shaded Nov 21 '10 at 2:58
@MaQleod, I mean I can get the SSID of networks and get all the way to the Acquiring Network Address step of connecting. – Shaded Nov 21 '10 at 2:59
Examine the settings in any firewall or security programs. Something may be indavertently set to block all network traffic. – Bavi_H Nov 22 '10 at 3:08
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Sometimes it helps to completely uninstall the interface card/device via Device Manager, including the drivers & all.

After a reboot after they're re-installed fresh with all defaults.

Even if it doesn't resolve the condition in an of itself, you'll have a known good baseline to continue troubleshooting from.

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It may be missing the drivers for motherboard wired and wireless! You could check the Sony VAIO site for them and (re)install them.

It can be a driver issue if both those drivers weren't installed.

You could test a USB Wireless adaptor you know works(install the driver for that obviously as you'd know), and if it works, that just suggests even more, that it is a motherboard or internal to the laptop driver issue affecting the built in wired and wireless. The issue possibly being that they're simply not installed.

That can happen if windows was reinstalled and on reinstall, the wired and wireless ethernet drivers weren't then installed.

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If you've installed the drivers from the Sony website (avoid the Windows Update drivers if you can), then the next step is to test it for malware.

Then run Dial-a-fix on it to ensure the DLLs and so forth are all correct.

Then run XP Service Pack 3. If there are any damaged system files, that'll sort it out nicely.

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