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I saw the the question on this site, asking about why restarting a computer can fix things in general, and I figured I might press for additional insight.

On occasion I'll be scooting along on the web, enjoying Google Chrome and its many pleasant features when all of the sudden my internet connectivity will go "poof". To be more precise the laptop can still detect wifi networks and even connect to them, just not to the internet. Sometimes it'll time out whilst attempting to "identify" the network after I've told it to connect. This'll lead to me eventually needing to shut everything down and restart the computer, leaving me with far less of an issue.

What it's NOT:

  • The router, I've experienced the same issue regardless of which wifi signal (and router said signal originates from) I'm using. Though I have gone through the steps of shutting it down and turning it back one after a few minutes to no affect.
  • The wireless adapter on my laptop, I've gone through and turned it on and off and that never seems to work...
  • A driver problem, my wireless driver is up to date, and I've verified this as of this posting.
  • A constant or even consistent problem, the issue only occurs on a seeming random basis, sometimes occurring on a daily basis for a whole week, and sometimes not cropping up for whole weeks on end, though it does tend to happen at least once a month...

What I think it IS:

  • Something OS related, I would not be surprised if Microsoft did something retarded on windows 7 home premium 64 bit....
  • Something hardware related, MIND YOU, I mean in terms of RAM allocation and other things that I suppose a software restart or power cycle would naturally take care of...

What I'm looking for in terms of advice

Is there something I could do, that doesn't require me to restart the computer, that will restore my internet connectivity, when disconnects like this occur?

If you absolutely NEED me to post more system specifications and router info I can but I REALLY think neither is particularly to blame in this instance.

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Actually you are making false assumptions: even if you have up-to-date driver, *there is no guarantee it's bug-free. Absolutely no. Also, if your device is freaking out, there is no guarantee turning it off and back on fixes it. For example, there might be initialization, that is not executed when you just use "wifi off" switch (when driver is already loaded). –  Olli Mar 13 '11 at 11:36
    
My Envy 14 had the same problem of WiFi going poof all of a sudden, especially during heavy traffic ( torrents, downloads, et al). It wouldn't even detect any Wifi networks, and had to restart my system. Updating to the latest drivers by Intel fixed it though. –  Sathya Mar 14 '11 at 7:08

2 Answers 2

It may well be one of the system services that are failing in some way.

Next time it happens you should load up the Services control panel (search: services in start menu) and check through the list for any that would relate to wireless or networking.

Some common ones to look for are:

  • DHCP Client
  • DNS Client
  • IP Helpet
  • Network Connections
  • Network List Service
  • Network Location Awareness
  • Network Store Interface Service
  • WLAN AutoConfig

There may be others specific to your wireless hardware vendor.

Go through each of these in turn and restart them (little green & black |> symbol in the toolbar). If and when the network starts working again we will have identified the culpret.

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Okay, I'm fairly comfortable with your suggestion, I'll make sure to check those out the next time I find the issue occurring. Though unfortunately (fortunately?) because the issue is a bit inconsistent in manifesting, I can't quite guarantee when the next time I'll have a chance try your suggestion might be. –  Kaz Mar 13 '11 at 11:05

First obvious question - have you installed the recent SP1 service pack? That would be a good place to start, if not already done so. As it's now coming down through Microsoft Update I'm guessing you probably already have.

If it's timing out identifying the network, it might be struggling to grab an IP address from the DHCP server of the router. This could be due to a number of things, including problems with the DHCP Client on the laptop. DHCP leases expire after a certain amount of time, so that might help explain the "randomness". Are there any warnings or errors in the event logs relating to DHCP at all?

What you may like trying is giving your laptop a static IP address. This will bypass any issues you may be having with DHCP.

It would be interesting to see what ipconfig says when you next experience problems, i.e. when it is stuck on "Identifying". Drop into a Command Prompt and do ipconfig /all. enter image description here

Check that you have an IP address first off, probably 192.168.0.something for example. Check for a default gateway and DNS entries too. Next, try pinging 8.8.8.8 - if you can, this means you do actually have an internet connection - it just can't resolve hostnames like www.google.com. This would indicate a problem with either DNS on the router or more likely the DNS Client on your laptop as you mentioned you get the same problem with other routers? You might want to set static DNS Server entries on your wireless network connection to Google or OpenDNS.

Restarting the computer resets all the networking stacks, IPv4, Winsock and a ton of other things. In terms of an immediate fix, usually right-clicking on the Wireless icon in the system tray and clicking Diagnose will run the wizard that fixes the majority of problems like this. Saying that, giving yourself a static IP address as above may resolve the problem once and for all.

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