If you can't connect to the internet on your PC or laptop, here's how to reset network settings in Windows. 

First, though, try and establish where the fault lies. Can other devices in the house get online? Can you load websites via a different web browser? If the answer to both is no, chances are your broadband connection is down, or the router needs resetting. Try powering off your router and restarting it a minute later. For more, see How to fix broadband connection problems

If the issue seems to be limited to Internet Explorer, it could be that a proxy server has been set - maybe without your knowledge. We explain separately how to change proxy settings in IE

Alternatively, it could be a software or hardware problem with your computer's network adaptor. Often, restarting your computer will fix this, but you can also make sure Windows is fully up to date by opening the Control Panel from the Start Menu and searching for 'Windows Update'. 

How to reset network settings in Windows 10

If you have Windows 10, open the new Settings app by clicking the cog icon on the Start menu. Click on Network & internet. It should open on the Status page, but if not, click Status at the top of the menu in the left-hand pane.

How to forget Wi-Fi networks Windows 10

Scroll down on the right until you see Network reset. Click this and you'll see a button to 'Reset now'.

How to forget Wi-Fi networks Windows 10

In other versions of Windows, you can open the Control Panel from the Start menu, go to Network and Internet and then Network Connections. You'll see something like this:

How to reset network settings Windows 10

Select the appropriate adaptor - Ethernet if you have a network cable connected to your computer or Wi-Fi if you usually connect to your router wirelessly - and right-click on it. Click Disable. Then double-click on it to enable it again. This often fixes connection problems, but you can also select a connection and hit the Delete key on your keyboard to remove it. 

To reinstall it, go to Device Manager in the Control Panel and press the 'Scan for hardware changes' icon - circled below - to find it and Windows should automatically install its drivers.

How to reset network settings Windows 10

How to forget Wi-Fi networks in Windows 8 and 10

If the problem is that your computer keeps connecting to the wrong Wi-Fi network, here's how to make Windows forget them.

Windows 10

Step 1. From the Start menu, click the cog icon to open the Settings app.

Step 2. Click on Network & internet, then click on Wi-Fi in the left-hand menu

Step 3. On the right, click on Manage known networks. 

How to forget Wi-Fi networks Windows 10

Step 4. Click on the network you no longer want to use, and click the Forget button.

Windows 8

Step 1. Press the Windows key and C to bring up the Windows 8 Charms bar. Click Settings, then Change PC Settings.

Step 2. In the left-hand menu, click Network and then Manage known networks

How to make Windows 8 forget wi-fi networks

Step 3. Click on a network name and then on the Forget button, and it will be gone from the list.

How to make Windows 8 forget wi-fi networks

How to reset TCP/IP settings

There's also a way to reset Windows' TCP/IP settings if you have problems connecting to the internet from a particular laptop or PC. Microsoft has a downloadable 'Fix it' which you can get here.

How to reset internet settings in Windows

Step 1. Close all Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer windows.

Step 2. Launch Internet Explorer and click on the cog icon in the top-right corner. Then choose Internet Options.

Step 3. On the Advanced tab, click Reset. A new window will appear explaining everything that will erased by continuing. If you tick the 'Delete personal settings' box, it will remove browsing history, cached files, and reset your home page(s).

How to completely reset internet settings in Windows

Step 4. Restart your computer when IE has finished restoring the settings. If you get an error message when you try to reset, you can open Task Manager and look through the processes list and kill off all other Internet Explorer processes. If you don't know how to do that, it's easier to restart your PC, launch IE and repeat steps 1-3.