How do I troubleshoot network issues?

Troubleshooting network issues can seem like a daunting task. Therefore we have put together a few simple tips and procedures for you to follow to establish the problem and get your network up and running again.

The first step if you are running Microsoft XP is to check View Network Connections. To get there click Start then My Network Places then finally click View Network Connections on the left hand side of the window (shown below).

Once you are in View network connections it will show you all of your network connections. It will give you a status of each, the most common faults being 'Network cable unplugged' or 'Disabled'.

In Windows Vista and 7 you can find out similar information to the above in Network and Sharing Center. To access this click Start, Control Panel, select Network and Sharing Center (shown below).

If the message 'Network cable in unplugged' appears, don't worry this is something that can easily be put right. Cables can easily get knocked out without people realising. The first step is to check that all network cables are connected correctly into the back of your PC. If you don't know what a network cable looks like there is a picture of one below. Ensure that the cable is also plugged in correctly at the other end. This could be into a wall socket or into another computer. Sometimes it may not look obvious that the cable is unplugged, so it is beneficial to unplug the cable then ensure yourself that it is plugged back in correctly.

If you are sure all cables are correctly connected and you are still seeing the same 'Network cable is unplugged' message, the cable(s) may be defective. Cables can quite easily become damaged, so it is worth checking for visible damage on the cables. Sometimes the damage is not visible so it is worth swapping the cable with another cable that you know is in working order.

If you are trying to connect to another computer it is important to make sure the computer you are trying to connect to is switched on. People often panic but the problem is usually caused by something as straightforward as this. Also make sure Network discovery is turned on because if it's turned off the device will not be visible on the network.

Another common resolution is to make sure the router and modem are turned on. Even if you don't normally turn them off someone else might have done without informing you. Same applies when you can't connect to a server. If other PC's on the network can't access the server either it is likely that someone may have turned the server off either accidentally or without informing you.

The main tip to resolve network issues is to check the basics first because most of the time it is the really simple things that cause the issue.

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