Connects to internet, but Windows doesn't realize it.

Discussion in 'Networking & Internet' started by stupidspencer, Sep 5, 2014.

  1. stupidspencer


    Sep 5, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Its rare that a customer brings me a computer with a problem I can't figure out how to fix, but here we are.
    The computer is a Dell Inspiron 1525 laptop running Windows Vista Home Premium SP2 32bit. The customer said it would not connect to the internet.
    After messing around on it, I found that it does actually connect to the internet through the wifi adapter (I didn't check if the ethernet connection works normally yet). The problem is that Vista doesn't realize it is connected.
    The computer runs great, has very little (if any) software installed that it didn't come with, and all services have been verified to be set to their default values. Windows is fully up to date, and the AV is too. I ran a full virus scan with the installed AV client, Norton 360, which found no threats. I then ran scans with several of the top online malware scanners and none of them found any threats. I temporarily disabled Norton, installed MS security essentials, and ran a full scan which also found no malware. I checked all the wireless network adapter settings and they are all default except that DNS is set to use Google public DNS: No problem, I use Google's DNS too.
    I then disabled the Norton firewall (windows firewall was already disabled to accommodate Norton). Problem persists with no firewall on. In fact, the problem persists with the whole Norton security suite, and all Windows security features disabled.
    My next step will be to roll back the wifi adapter driver and check for updated BIOS version, but before I go there, I thought I would ask y'all.

    Here are the specifics of the issue:
    --When I click to connect to my wireless network, the computer shows the "connecting" status everywhere that it should: Network+sharing center, available networks window, and system tray icon.
    --As soon as the status changes to "connected" in the available networks window, the system tray icon (and tooltip) show "not connected". Likewise, the network and sharing center shows "not connected"
    --When I attempt to have windows repair the connection, it always says no problems were found.
    --When I run the wireless adapter's self-diagnostics, no problems are found.
    --When I open a browser, guess what, I can surf the internet!
    --When I checked for windows updates, it had no problem using the internet to tell me there are 39 language packs available.
    --I am posting this right now using the customer's computer that is supposedly not connected to the internet. Weird, eh?
    --Despite actually being connected, Windows Live mail will NOT retrieve new messages and returns a connectivity error.

    And that last one is the whole reason that this problem is more than just cosmetic. The customer cannot retrieve her email through IMAP and needs to be able to for her work. She can obviously use the web interface to check it when not at work.

    Any ideas? Thanks
    stupidspencer, Sep 5, 2014
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