Windows 10 – Can’t connect to this network – Troubleshooting cheat sheet

Can’t connect to this network – on Windows 10? Use this troubleshooting cheat sheet

Here’s a common problem – the dreaded Can’t connect to this network message. This article is meant to be a quick and dirty cheat sheet. As such, there’s not a lot of explanatory text.

Troubleshooting steps – eliminate ISP as source of issue

How many devices are experiencing issues? If multiple, suspect the problem is the Wi-Fi router, cable or DSL modem and any associated network gear.

Wi-Fi or Wired or both?

Are wired Ethernet devices having issues as well? If not, suspect Wi-Fi router issue, or individual computer issue

Reboot Network Equipment, if multiple problems, or Wi-Fi only problem

  • If wired is not an issue, reboot the Wi-Fi Router – pull power for 10 seconds, plug back in. This will disrupt wired clients, if the Wi-Fi is the router.
  • If wired also an issue, reboot all network gear: Wi-Fi router, cable or DSL modem, and network mini-switches

Once network gear has rebooted completely, and cable modem is operating normally, proceed to next step. If cable modem is not operating properly (no upstream link light, etc.) engage ISP for additional troubleshooting

Investigate Windows 10 Network Adapter

  • Generate a wireless network report. From an administrator command line run: netsh wlan show wlanreport
  • Check ping to default gateway: Run ipconfig, attempt a ping, or other gateway address as listed by ipconfig.
  • Run Network Troubleshooter tool from the search box. Identify and repair network problems as needed.
  • Run netsh winsock reset to reset the TCP/IP stack.
  • Run netsh int ip reset
  • Run ipconfig /release to release the DHCP IP address.
  • Run ipconfig /renew to renew the DHCP IP address.
  • Run ipconfig /flushdns to flush DNS cache.

Suspect an incompatibility with network adapter driver

Perform the following:

  • Upgrade the network adapter driver: From Device Manager, find the network adapter, and use Update driver > Search automatically for updated driver software
  • Upgrade the network driver via vendor download. Use Device Manager and Browse my computer for driver software, after downloading the latest driver from the vendor.
  • If driver was updated prior to start of issues, try a rollback. From Device Manager, use Roll Back Driver on the Driver tab of the network adapter entry.
  • As a last resort, uninstall the network driver and restart. Windows should re-install the network driver. Be sure to have an alternate means to download driver on another machine, if necessary.
  • Other potential issues

    • Toggle firewalls , by using netsh advfirewall set allprofiles state off. Remember to re-enable using: netsh advfirewall set allprofiles state on.
    • Disable anti-virus and anti-malware – remember to re-enable.

    Last resort: try Network Reset

    As a last resort, Windows 10 version 1607 and higher supports Network Reset: Settings > Network & Internet > Status > Network reset.

    About the author


    I'm an all around computer junkie, interested in many aspects of programming, operating systems, and enterprise IT technologies. I love Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows and more!