Home networks are increasingly an everyday feature of home computing, and make it easy to swap files between computers and print documents to networked printers. Though it's fairly easy to set up a home network, problems do sometimes arise.
Problems connecting to a home network
Run the Network troubleshooter to help find and fix some of the most common problems automatically. To open this, click the Start button, then click Control Panel. Type troubleshooter into the search box of the Control Panel window. Click Troubleshooting, then choose option Network and Internet.
New software conflicts
If you’ve just installed new software, this can cause some of your connection settings to change.
To see if they have changed, click the Start button and click Control Panel. In the Control Panel search box, type adapter. Click View connections under the Network and Sharing Center. Right-click the connection, then click Properties from the pop-up menu. Check to see if your network settings have changed.
If you are using a home network with a 'homegroup' (the name Windows 7 gives to a home wireless network), ensure that the computer you are trying to connect to has been added to the homegroup as a recognised computer.
To do this, click the Start button and click Control Panel. In the Control Panel search box, type homegroup. Click Choose homegroup and sharing options, and click the Create a homegroup button.
Make sure that you have enabled file and printer sharing on your home network. To do this: click the Start button and click Control Panel. In the Control Panel search box, type homegroup. Tick the items you want to share in the Share libraries and printers section.
Check your router
Check your router, especially if it is slightly older. New networking features in Windows 7 can make older routers not work with newer computers. To find out if your router is compatible, download the Internet Connectivity Evaluation Tool from Microsoft's website on another computer, then install it on the computer that can’t connect to the internet.
Check your cables
Check that all your cables, such as your Ethernet cable, are securely plugged into both your computer and the router. If in doubt, unplug then plug each cable back in.
Problems connecting to other computers on the network
If you can’t connect to other computers on the network, or share files and printers with them, it could be that Network discovery is switched off in Windows 7.
Click the Start button, then click Control Panel. Type network into the Control Panel search box, then click Network and Sharing Center. In the left panel, click Change advanced sharing settings.
Expand the network profile by clicking the arrow, then click Turn on network discovery, then click Save changes. You may have to enter your administrator password at this point.