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PC won't connect to Wi-Fi

What to do if your PC or laptop won't connect

You can see the wireless network, but your PC or laptop won't connect to the internet. Our Helproom Editor explains what to do.

QUESTION My father's elderly desktop PC detects the signal from our BT Home Hub, but won't connect to it. Our netbook, three laptops and a printer all connect without problems. The desktop PC will connect only when sat directly next to the HomeHub. Is there any way to check whether this is due to an outdated wireless card? Anon

HELPROOM ANSWER If the PC is connecting when it's next to the Home Hub, but won't when it's further away, it's almost certainly a signal-strength issue. We don't know what kind of wireless card is installed in the computer, but often such cards have one or more antennae protruding at the rear. Ensure that these antennae are well exposed to ensure the best wireless signal.

It's worth putting one of your laptops in the desktop PC's usual location and checking whether it reports a similarly low signal strength in that room.

If any of your laptops are using an external USB wireless adaptor, try connecting it to the desktop PC to see whether a connection is possible. If you don't already have one, purchasing an external USB adaptor for the PC should solve your problem.

Look for one that comes with a USB extension cable, allowing you to place it in a more prominent position on the desk, rather than obscured by the bulk of the machine.

If the wireless card fitted inside the PC is an old or budget model, it might not be able to support the latest wireless standards available from the HomeHub. If it's a recent model supporting the 802.11n standard, buy a wireless adaptor that also supports this standard to ensure the best signal range and data speeds.

See all How to articles. Get free tech support in the Helproom Forum.

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