What to Do When You Can’t Access Your Network Computer on Windows 10

If you can’t access your network computer on Windows 10, there are a few things you can do to try and fix this issue.  The first and most obvious solution is to, check if the computer is turned on and connected to the network.

Always start with the easiest solutions and work from there.

Once you have verified that the computer is turned on and connected, your next most obvious troubleshooting tip is to restart the computer.  Yes, I know too easy…but stay with me, it’s called the process of elimination.

You can also check the network adapter or NIC (Network Interface Card) to ensure it’s working properly.  Your network adapter is the component that allows you to connect to your network and the internet.

If you’re still having issues up to this point of your troubleshooting, it’s time to look at the network level (i.e. the modem, router, switch, etc.).  This is more of an involved process and requires a little more tech-savvy to do. 

So let’s break down the various troubleshooting tips mentioned here, for better clarification.

Check Your Network Adapter

Let’s start with troubleshooting your network adapter, and see if it’s working correctly.  The first place to start is the Network and Sharing Center via the Control Panel.  Here’s how to do that in Windows 10:

  1. Click the search bar in the lower-left corner of the screen and start typing Control Panel. 
  2. When you see Control Panel come up, click on it and you will get the following screen.
    Control Panel - You Can't Access Your Network Computer on Windows 10
  3. Click on Network and Internet, which will bring you to Network and Sharing Center
  4. Click and open the Network and Sharing Center
  5. On the left side of the Window, there’s an option that says Change Adapter Settings.
    Can't Access Your Network Computer on Windows 10
  6. This option will allow you to see and troubleshoot the network adapters installed on your computer, both wired and wireless.
    Network Adapters - Can't Access Your Network Computer on Windows 10

You can also troubleshoot your network adapter from the Device Manager.

Usually, if there’s something going on with a particular hardware device, the Device Manager will be able to confirm it.  An exclamation point is a visual indicator within the Device Manager that something is wrong with a particular hardware component. 

Replacing the Network Adapter

On a desktop computer, replacing an internal network adapter card is pretty simple.  You can purchase a universal Network Interface Card from Amazon or at your local electronics at a pretty reasonable price.

Most people can replace an internal network adapter card (NIC card) on a desktop themselves, as it doesn’t require much tools or experience to do.  However, if you are uncomfortable doing this yourself, ask a tech to help you with this process. 

To put some visual instructions for this process, see the installation video below.

Once the installation is complete, test if your adapter is working properly.  

Reboot Your Modem/Router

If after doing the local troubleshooting on your computer and not seeing any improvement, then I’ll recommend you put your attention on the router or modem itself.  Again, start with the easiest thing.

Reboot your router. 

Although this is a straightforward process, I offer a word of caution. 

Inform everyone connected to this router or modem that their internet connection will be down temporarily BEFORE you rebootOtherwise, you’re going to piss some people off. 

You have been forewarned…  

When rebooting your router or modem, you can use the power button on the back of the unit or unplug it completely.  I do the latter to ensure that it’s completely offline and all memory or cache has been cleared out.

When I unplug the modem, I usually wait about 2 minutes and then plug it back in.  This gives enough time for the device to completely reset before booting back up.

A final heads up in this category.

I’ve used the terms modem and router interchangeably, and that’s because they can perform the same functions.  A modem and a router can be two devices in one, or they can be separate devices.  Most ISP (Internet Service Providers) usually provide you with a modem that’s also a router. 

If this is the case for you, as it relates to rebooting, then you only need to reboot that device only.

However, if you have a modem separate from your router, then unplug both devices and power the modem on first, since it’s the one that’s connected directly to your ISP.  Then power on your router.

Windows Update

Windows updates can be a little tricky at times, and can sometimes be the culprit for many malfunctions within Windows.  Sometimes a recent update could cause a particular driver for hardware to malfunction, or not work at all.

Create a restore point

Before I start doing any type of troubleshooting that includes changing up drivers or doing any updates, I first create a restore point so I can always revert back to that point if the troubleshooting goes south. 

To create a restore point in Windows 10, do the following:

  1. Type Control Panel in the search bar in the lower left-hand corner of your screen.  When the Control Panel window opens, click on System and Security in the upper left, as shown below.
    System and Security - Can't Access Your Network Computer on Windows 10
  2. On this next screen click on System.
    System Settings
  3. Once you click on System, Windows 10 will take you to its default settings page, which looks a little different from previous versions of Windows.  You will be presented with the following screen:
    Windows 10 Settings - Can't access Your Network computer on Windows 10
  4. Here you get all the details of your computer.
  5. What you want to look for here is System Protection, located on the right under the category Related Settings.  This will take you to the System Properties window.
    Can't Access Your Network Computer on Windows 10 restore point
  6. Simply click on Create on the lower right-hand side and this will start the process of creating a restore point. 
  7. The entire process can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes to complete. 

Perform a System Restore

In the last example, we created a restore point.  Now we’re searching for other restore points that Windows created automatically. 

We can actually use System Restore as a troubleshooting solution.

I’ve done this on many occasions, and it has saved me a ton of time.  

To get the process started, go back to the same window I showed as before, the System Properties window.  This time, instead of clicking the Create button, click on System Restore, as shown below.

System Restore - Can't Access Your Network Computer on Windows 10

Look for a restore point date that’s before a time you start noticing you can’t access your network computer.  Follow the prompts to get the restoration process going.

This can take a little longer to complete. 

I’ve seen it take as long as a few hours to complete, depending on what’s going on with that particular computer.

So be prepared to wait a little while.  Keep in mind, however, that if Windows hasn’t created any restore points, other than the one you created in the example above, then this would not be an option you can use.

Perform a Windows Update

Having the latest updates is always a good thing because it allows Windows as an Operating System to run better. 

Running updates won’t necessarily solve your networking issues directly, but it can help.  Plus it doesn’t hurt to have the latest updates installed, particularly from a security standpoint.

To do a Windows Update, start with the Settings option in Windows:

  1. Click Start and go to Settings.
  2. Click Update and Security as shown below:
    Windows Settings - Can't Access Your Network Computer on Windows 10
  3. Follow the prompts on the other screen to have Windows search for new updates and install them as needed.

Check Antivirus or Security Software

Can't Access Your Network Computer on Windows 10

Your antivirus, aka your security software, can also interfere with your connection to your local network connections.

This software can sometimes block access to certain devices on your network.  To fix this, simply add the device to the list of allowed devices in your software’s settings.  If you’re still having trouble, make sure that your firewall is not blocking all incoming and outgoing traffic.

If that doesn’t work, you can try uninstalling the software and see if that makes any difference.  Just be sure to re-install your anti-virus afterward so your computer is not left naked to browse the internet. 

Yes, I said naked.  

If all else fails and you’re still having connectivity issues, then reach out to your IT department or local tech to help you solve the issue.

Final Point

There could be a variety of reasons why you can’t access your network computer on Windows 10.  The most common ones I’ve discussed here in this article and given you a few tips to solve them.

In solving this particular issue, remember to start with the most obvious and easiest solutions first.  Then move to more complex troubleshooting that involves a bit more tech-savvy to do.

This process of elimination, starting with the local computer and then moving to the network devices, will definitely help to solve that networking issue you’re having.



Computer Network, Computer Service, Computer Support, Control panel, Microsoft, Microsoft Windows, modem, Network Adapter, NIC Card, operating system, Router, System properties, window 10

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