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July 22, 2010

Windows 7: Basic Home Network Troubleshooting

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One of the features that are included with Windows 7 is a better designed troubleshooting system which has been designed for the typical user. This troubleshooting centers on the use of the Troubleshooter.

This article focuses on the various network troubleshooting options which can be utilized with Windows 7. We’ll go over how to troubleshoot your internet connections, shared folders, HomeGroups, network adapters and incoming connections.

How to Troubleshoot Your Windows 7 Home Network

Windows 7: Basic Home Network Troubleshooting

The first thing which must be done is to launch the Network and Internet Troubleshooter. This is done via the Network and Sharing Center from the control panel. To launch the control panel, select the Windows 7 Orb and select the Control Panel option as shown below: 

Windows 7: Basic Home Network Troubleshooting

By default, the control panel window is organized by category as shown below. Select View network status and tasks to reach the Network and Sharing Center, as shown below:

Windows 7: Basic Home Network Troubleshooting

Windows 7: Basic Home Network Troubleshooting

Once in the Network and Sharing Center there is an option at the bottom of the window to Troubleshoot problems, select this option and the Network and Internet troubleshooting window will open.

There are a number of different troubleshooters which are available depending on the specific problem that occurred. These troubleshooters include:

  • Internet Connections
  • Shared Folders
  • HomeGroup
  • Network Adapter
  • Incoming Connections
  • Connection to a Workplace using DirectAccess

Since the focus of this article is on home network troubleshooting, we won’t cover the last troubleshooter on connecting to a workplace using DirectAccess.  

Windows 7: Basic Home Network Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting Internet Connections in Windows 7

The first of the troubleshooters, the Internet Connections option, is used when there is an issue with reaching the Internet. Selecting the Internet Connections option will bring up the following window:

Windows 7: Basic Home Network Troubleshooting

When the Next button is selected, the troubleshooter will begin and prompt about whether the problem is general and can be tested based on reaching the Microsoft web page or whether the problem is specific to a webpage which can be entered for the troubleshooter to check.

Once these options are selected the troubleshooter will verify site reachability and suggest any fixes if any problems are found.

Windows 7: Basic Home Network Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting Shared Folders in Windows 7

The second troubleshooter is used if there is a problem with shared folders. Once you select the Shared Folder Troubleshooter the following window will be prompted:

Windows 7: Basic Home Network Troubleshooting

When the Next button is clicked the following window will be prompted and the entering of a valid local path will be requested (for example: \\networkname\folder)

This information is then used by the troubleshooter to verify connectivity; if unable to connect, the troubleshooter will suggest a course of action based on the results of the analysis.

Windows 7: Basic Home Network Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting Windows 7 HomeGroups

The next troubleshooter which can be used is for problems with the creation or the joining of a HomeGroup.

Windows 7: Basic Home Network Troubleshooting

Once the Next button is pressed the troubleshooter will request which type of action was being attempted: the creation of a HomeGroup or the joining of an existing HomeGroup. This window is shown below:

Windows 7: Basic Home Network Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting Network Adapters in Windows 7

The next troubleshooter is used if you think you might have a problem with the network adapter.

Windows 7: Basic Home Network Troubleshooting

After clicking on the Next button the troubleshooter will prompt you to select an adapter which you think might have the problem or the select to troubleshoot all network adapters. Once this option is selected the troubleshooter will verify the correct configuration of the network adapter(s) and check to see if the adapter(s) appear to be working correctly.

If problems are found the troubleshooter will suggest fixes to be completed in order to get the adapters working correctly.

Windows 7: Basic Home Network Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting Incoming Connections in Windows 7

The final troubleshooter which is covered in this article is for Incoming connections. This troubleshooter is quite handy if there is a problem with other computers accessing the resources of the local machine.

Windows 7: Basic Home Network Troubleshooting

After the next button is pressed the troubleshooter will prompt the selection of a specific resource which is trying to be reached. Once this option is selected, the troubleshooter will verify that the feature is configured properly and prompt you, should any problems be found with potential solutions to the problem.

Windows 7: Basic Home Network Troubleshooting

Windows 7 Troubleshooting

Windows 7 has given us a number of new features which make the troubleshooting of the system more accessible by less technical users. This is very important in modern computers as many people have to use them but the skills required to fix them are not globally taught or understood.

The Windows 7 troubleshooters which are built in make the basic troubleshooting of these features easy and step-based which allows many common problems to be fixed without expert help.

About the Author

is an accomplished networking consultant for SR-W Consulting (http://www.sr-wconsulting.com) and writer/editor for infoDispersion (http://www.idisperse.info). Sean has been in the IT field for over 15 years, working with companies like Cisco, Lucent, Verizon and AT&T as well as several other private companies. Sean holds certifications with Cisco (CCNP/CCDP), Microsoft (MCSE) and CompTIA (A+ and Network+). His educational accomplishments include: a Master’s of Science in Information Technology with a focus in Network Architecture and Design, a Master’s of Science in Organizational Management, a Master’s Certificate in Network Security, a Bachelors of Science in Computer Networking, and an Associates of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems.

Author's Website: http://www.sr-wconsulting.com


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