How to troubleshoot and fix your most common gadget issues
PCs, printers, smartphones, cameras, networks - your stuff will inevitably stop working. Here's how to troubleshoot and fix your most common tech issues.
If only some of the computers on your network can access the internet
You're dealing with an issue on your network, and the connection to your ISP is working fine.
First, open the command line (Start Menu, Accessories, Run, then type in cmd); type in ipconfig /renew.
This will tell your PC to get a new IP address, a step that can clear up several network issues.
If that doesn't work, try checking the networking settings on each of your PCs by going to Control Panel, Network and Sharing Center, Change Adapter Settings and opening up the panel for the networking device (Local Area Connection for wired networks, or Wireless Network Connection for Wi-Fi, usually) that you're trying to use, and click Details.
From here, you should find clues to what might be going on.
If it says 'No' under 'DHCP Enabled', then your PC is trying to use a pre-existing IP address, subnet mask, and DNS server information to connect to your network.
Normally, most home networks use DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) to automatically assign addresses to new PCs on the network, so all you have to do is plug in (or connect via Wi-Fi), and you're good to go.
Close the Details window and click Properties; click Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4), then Properties.
From here, just switch the radio buttons from 'Use the following IP address' and 'Use the following DNS server addresses' to 'Obtain an IP address automatically' and 'Obtain DNS server address automatically'.
If your IPv4 address starts with '169.254.', your PC is trying to use DHCP to get an IP address and Domain Name Server information for that network automatically.
However, an IP address starting with those two numbers means either that the DHCP server on the network (typically the router, in small home networks) isn't working, or that it's not enabled, and you'll need to manually enter the IP address, subnet mask, and DNS server information on your own.
You can do this by going into the Network Connections window, right-clicking on the network interface you're trying to use, and selecting Properties.
From here, you should select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4); click Properties, and then both the 'Use the following IP address' radio button and the 'Use the following DNS server addresses' radio button to enter them in.
However, you'll probably need to get that information from whoever set up your home network; most home networks use DHCP to cut down the hassle.
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