Internet Connection Not Working After a System Restore? Fix Your Internet

Let's Fix the No-Internet Issue

So you recently did a system restore or computer restore to the desktop computer hardwired to your modem or router, and now you cannot connect to the Internet.

Your wired Internet connection is not working and you just keep getting the dreaded "Page can not be displayed" error. You were hoping to fix your wired computer to make it work better and now you have no Internet at all.

I can hear you thinking to yourself, "What did I do?" Don't stress or panic, we can fix this.

The first thing to try would to be to try to access a different web address. If the computer is older, the default home page may no longer be valid or no longer exist. You may just need to update your home page.

If that does not work, and you have double-checked that the network cable is connected securely at both ends, I have a feeling I know why this is happening.

Ethernet Card / Network Adapter Card
Ethernet Card / Network Adapter Card

So Why Can't I Connect to the Internet?

Most likely the driver file is missing for the network adapter inside your computer. Without that file, Windows is unable to talk to the hardware that you plug your Ethernet or network cable into.

What Exactly is a Driver File?

Drivers are unique files for each of the devices in your computer. In this case we want to make sure you have the correct one for the network adapter in your computer. Each make and model device has a unique driver file made just for it.

The driver file tells Windows the brand and model of the network card, what its specs are (speeds and capability, etc.), and how to talk to it.

Let's See If a Missing Driver File Is the Issue

Depending on the version of Windows, the exact procedure will vary slightly along with the visual display of the window itself. These directions will work with any version:

  1. Click the Start button.
  2. Right click on Computer or My Computer.
  3. Click Properties.
  4. Click Device Manager. If you do not see Device Manager, click on the Hardware Tab, then you should see it and then click Device Manager.

Now you should see an alphabetical list of the computer's devices.

Find Network Adapter and double-click on it. It should expand that category to show what it contains.

I highlighted my network card. See how there are no weird symbols to the left of its name, like a red X, an apostrophe, question mark or down arrow, etc. That is good. In my case, my network card is working well. If yours is having an issue it may show one of these symbols.

Note: Ignore the 1394 Net Adapter: it is the Fire-Wire port on the computer and has nothing to do with your Internet connectivity. If your network card is listed in there, it may have a different name than mine. Sometimes in the name it mentions Fast Ethernet or 10/100 or Gigabit or NIC. That will clue you in that you are looking at the correct one.

Not seeing your network card in the Network Adapter section? See the category labeled Other devices? It may be down there.

In this screenshot, it looks like Windows is trying to bring to my attention that my sound card, technically referred to as my Multimedia Audio Controller, is having an issue. If my sound card was working properly, it would have been filed away under the Sound category; instead it is showing under "Other Devices."

If your network card is having issues such as my sound card, you may see it inside "Other Devices."

Since my network card is fine but my sound card is having an issue, I will use the sound card as an example. Just pretend it is my network card, the concept is the same.

Looking at the Device Properties

Whereever you find your network card, whether it looks like it has an issue or not, double-click on it.

Double clicking on my sound card, I get the Device Properties window as shown above. Again, all versions of Windows display a little differently.

If you see your network card is missing its drivers file, sd as my sound card id, that is definitely an issue as to why you can not get on the Internet with this computer with a wired connection.

How Do You Get the Correct Driver File and Fix It?

To get it working again, you have these options:

  1. If you installed the network card or someone did it for you, see if you can find the original network adapter installation/driver CD that came with it. Running that can often instantly fix the problem.
  2. Open up the computer and take the card out and examine it very closely. You may be able to find a brand and model number printed on the chips or circuit board. Then visit the manufacturer's web site and download the driver files for free, usually under the "Support" section of the site.
  3. If you are able to find the driver file and download it to the computer, I find it works best if you right-click on the network card and choose to uninstall it. Then reboot the computer. It should find it again and either automatically pick up on the new driver file or ask you to choose it; if the latter, point Windows to its location.
  4. Buy a new network card. You can get a new network card, running Gigabit speed, for often under $20.00 including shipping. New network cards always come with a CD with the driver files and installation directions. It is an easy upgrade.

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