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Cannot Connect Vista to a Wireless Network or Router? Here's Help

Updated on September 13, 2017
wilderness profile image

Dan has been a homeowner for some 40 years, and has nearly always done his own repair and improvement tasks. He is a licensed electrician.

Suddenly can't connect Vista with our wireless network

My wife and I have a rather odd setup in our house - an old Belkin 54G router (about 8 years old) and a much newer Actiontec Q1000 wireless modem to our DSL internet line. Our older desktop is connected via a LAN cable to the router, while the laptop uses a wireless connection to the modem. We also have a wireless printer connected to the router and the router wired to the modem, again with a LAN cable.

All was fine until a few days ago when the laptop Windows Vista suddenly couldn't connect to the wireless router anymore. It could see the wireless router, the modem and several more wireless networks in the area, but could not fully connect with them. The laptop would connect on a limited basis, then disconnect and connect with some unknown, unsecured network, then disconnect there and try our own modem again. Never would it fully connect and there was never any internet access.

After several days of work and research we came up with the following solutions; hopefully one of them will help you as well.

Password - the First Effort

We received, at various times, messages that the password was wrong, the IP address was duplicated and that Windows help was not working (no internet connection - what a stupid requirement for providing help on getting a connection; to go on the internet for help!)

First on the list was the password. The correct security key is stamped on the back of our modem, and we knew the right password for the router as well. Our first effort was for the router, but it has never worked well, and we finally gave up, deciding it is too old to match up with newer equipment. We did finally find where to check the password on the laptop and got it corrected (it was wrong), but that did not solve the problem.

To check the password being used or reset it:

  • Click start
  • Click control panel
  • Click network and sharing center
  • Click manage wireless networks
  • Click the network you wish to check, and then right click that network
  • Click properties
  • Click security

The current key will not be shown; our key shows only 8 digits even though there are about 20. Input the new security key and click "OK". Restart the computer and see if it will connect.

Disable the TCP/IPv6

Windows Vista has a well known glitch in this item. It refers to the latest internet protocol, but is not necessary for use of the internet. Disabling this may slow your internet work, but I haven't found that to be so. To disable the version 6 protocol:

  • Click start
  • Click control panel
  • Click network and sharing center
  • Click network connections
  • Click wireless network connect, and then right click the same thing
  • Click Properties. Uncheck the "Internet Protocol Version 6(TCP/IPv6)"
  • Click OK

Restart the computer and once again test for a connection.

Wrong IP address

We found that our laptop was using the same IP address as the modem; that is incorrect. The computer should be set up to obtain an address automatically and ours had been input to be the same no matter what network was being used. To change the setting to automatic:

  • Click start
  • Click control panel
  • Click network sharing center
  • Click manage network connections
  • Click wireless network connection, then right click the same thing
  • Click properties
  • Click internet protocol version 4
  • Click properties
  • Click the check box for obtain an IP address automatically
  • Click the check box for obtain DNS server address automatically
  • Click ok

If you have not disabled the TCP/IPv6 repeat, beginning at step 7 where version 4 was chosen. You will probably have to restart the computer once more to see if the work has been successful.

These steps have worked for us, and once again we have internet service. If you have been having trouble and cannot connect Vista to a wireless router or network I would be interested to know if they have worked for you as well; you might consider leaving a comment to that effect if you were successful.

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© 2010 Dan Harmon


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    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 7 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      If he's got problems, I certainly hope he has an easier time than we did. It took us nearly a week to find and understand the information here! It worked though, which is why I wrote the hub.

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 7 years ago from UK

      I took the easy way out and sent this to my son :-))