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Best ways to resolve startup issues

Occasional trouble getting online is common. After a couple of attempts, there are several things to check to resolve the problem.

If you are using wireless on a laptop, there may be a wireless switch somewhere on the work surface or on the sides of the laptop. Be sure it’s in the “on” position.

The wireless signal your computer needs may be weak or out of range. To check the signal in Windows 7, type “Manage Wireless Networks” in the Start Menu search field, or right-click the wireless icon on the desktop and click “View Available Wireless Networks” for other Windows versions. Your proximity to the wireless router can affect the signal. Interference from concrete, metal, and walls can weaken the signal.

The next step is to reset the modem. Go to the boxes that are located near where the Internet cable comes into your home. You may have a single device, or both a broadband modem and a wireless router. The devices need to be powered down, then restarted after a few seconds. When you power them up, start with the modem connected to the cable line, then any additional devices after. It may take a minute to reconnect your Internet service provider and your computer, so look for a notification on the computer’s task bar for the status.

If you are still not able to get online, make a call to your ISP. There could be a problem with service to your home or to your area. Brighthouse or Verizon will work with you on the phone to try to determine the cause of the problem. If they determine that the problem is not with their service or the modem they have provided for you, they may advise you to have your computer checked by a technician.

Within the computer, a likely culprit is the network interface card. The NIC connects directly to the motherboard and provides the port for a high speed connection. A power surge can incapacitate a NIC. Replacing a desktop’s internal NIC should be under $20 for the part plus a basic labor charge.

To avoid a labor charge, a desktop or laptop computer’s internal NIC can be replaced with an external one, which connects through USB, with PCMCIA and ExpressCard for laptops. These parts range from about $15-$30 for wired, and between $20-$50 for wireless.

Other problems with the computer which could be causing Internet issues include viruses, missing drivers, and software conflicts. A standard diagnostic by a certified technician would check for these.

Patty Harshbarger, owner of Computer Renaissance in Bradenton, can be reached at (941) 753-8277 or patty@cr-bradenton.com.

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