My advice to Mum and Dad…

By | December 12, 2016
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The other day I had a call from Mum and Dad… or I called them, I can’t remember.

And after we’d chatted about family and Christmas and so on, it came:
“Tim” in the voice that tells me a computer related question is coming…

It turned out Mum had been using her PC when it had suddenly lost the internet connection. In fact it hadn’t just lost the connection to the outside internet – it had lost it’s wifi connection to the router (the device that plugs into the wall and sends out the wifi signal) they have.

Other devices in the house were still fine (which is why we could Skype on Dad’s tablet) so it wasn’t the cable to the house.

She’d left it for a while but with no luck – and even tried turning it off and on again with still no luck.

She had got an error message come up, saying that it had an IP address error.

Well, I gave her a couple of things to try that had a good chance of sorting it out – and heard back the next day that the first one had worked.

And it occurred to me that losing the internet isn’t unusual – and most of the time one of the same two things will sort it.

In fact for most versions of Windows, Mum’s approach of turning it off and on again is absolutely right. For versions of Windows before Windows 10, this will often sort it. Same if you have a tablet – make sure you turn it off fully, not just put it into sleep mode and wake it up again. Most of the time, that’s all you need to do.

But in Windows 10, it actually does a more complete shut down and restart if you choose restart from the start menu instead of turn off, then waiting and turning it on again. It’s the other way round from older versions.

So since Mum has Windows 10, I got her to choose restart instead of turning it off and on again. And that sorted it.

I said there were two things to try – that’s the first.

The second is to turn the router itself off. First you want the computer, tablet or whatever turned off, then turn the router off. Wait 5 minutes or so for the memory to completely clear, then turn it on again. Again, wait five minutes for it to finish turning on, then turn on the PC, tablet or whatever.

Most of the time, that’ll solve it.

If you’re interested, usually this happens because the router gives an “IP address” to each device and sometimes it gets confused and either gives the same one to two devices or forgets what address it gave one device. Restarting it makes it give them out again.

A tip if you buy one of the “online media services”
TV – it’s changed a lot. Not only do we get digital TV through aerials now, but you can catch up with what you missed online, using iPlayer, ITVplayer and the others.

And there are also services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and so on which have totally separate TV that you watch over the internet. You have to pay, but compared to the cost of normal terrestrial TV, it’s good value. And I suspect this is the way TV will go in the future.

But if you have bought one of these packages, there’s something to check. Because with some of them, you don’t just get the TV programmes.

I don’t think this applies to Netflix but with Amazon Prime, you get a bundle of different things included as part of your membership. As well as the TV there’s free delivery on most orders from Amazon, there’s a huge variety of music you can listen to included (including several Christmas “playlists”, I’ve discovered…) and if you have a Kindle you can also “borrow” books to your Kindle, included.

And yet when you join they don’t give you a straightforward list of “These are the things you get as a member”.

I’m not trying to talk people into signing up for Amazon Prime, just saying that if you are a member, it might be worth checking what’s included. You might find there’s something you didn’t know about that you’d really like to make use of.

22 thoughts on “My advice to Mum and Dad…

  1. trevor

    did the problem with the internet occur during the overnight monday to tuesday because i had exactly the same happen to me

    Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      I think it was over the weekend – but looking at your email address it’s a different broadband supplier, so I think it was probably coincidence that it happened at a similar time – this time, at least!

      Reply
  2. Elizabeth

    This happens to me fairly often, but not to my husband. I simply plug in a dongle and that does the trick.

    Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      It’s frustrating, isn’t it – still, at least you have a way to sort it out!
      Tim

      Reply
  3. Ken Henshaw

    I have noticed that loss of wifi appears to coincide with Windows updates. Somehow the updates change the wifi setting from ON to OFF so I now check Settings first.

    Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      Hmm – I’ve not come across exactly that issue before – at least you know how to turn it back on again.
      You could try looking in Device manager (type it in in the start menu) next to the wifi adaptor, to find a power management option – it could be that it’s got a box ticked to turn the wifi adaptor off to save power – if so, unticking it would help.
      Tim

      Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      The router is the small box that plugs into the wall – they usually have one, two or three antenna sticking up. They plug into the wall twice – once for power, once into the phone line and they “broadcast” the wifi signal that your laptop, tablet or whatever uses.

      Reply
  4. Alan Thorpe

    I have had a similar problem but it is connected to the Wi-Fi, it says it is not connected to the internet. I think it is associated with the start up. Sometimes Edge has a problem as well. It starts but will not open any webpage. Restart sorts it out but it is annoying. I have two W10 computer and it only happens on the oldest. I suspect something needs to be updated but I have no idea what.

    Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      If you go into the start menu while the problem is happening and type “connection troubleshooter” (without the quotes) you should get an automatic program come up that can try to find the source of the problem – might be worth doing as it might be able too sort it out for you or at least tell you what the problem is.
      Tim

      Reply
  5. Alan Berry

    I have had a problem on email recently. Whan browsing through my email boxes the page has been freezing up & I get a message saying this page is unresponsive & asking me to click on “kill” or “wait for page to recover” Any ideas what might be wrong? I have windows 10 & use Chrome to access my mail.

    Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      It could be a problem with Chrome rather than the email itself – I’d try using a different browser (eg Firefox or Edge) for a bit and see if you get the same problems – if not, then you can either stick with Firefox or Edge or try uninstalling Chrome and installing it again as I suspect that’ll fix it.
      Tim

      Reply
  6. Diane Ayres

    I keep losing the internet connection. The light on my wi-fi router (ethernet) goes off, I’m not really sure what the ethernet is?

    Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      The Ethernet lights tell you if something is plugged in (and working) on one of the sockets where you can plug a network cable in and connect a PC or whatever to the other end.
      If you’re only using wifi you probably shouldn’t have anything plugged into these, but if you are using a cable to connect your PC it could be as simple as a failing cable – a replacement one is only a pound or two (depending on length) so it might be worth trying a new one.
      I’d try restarting the router first by turning it all off then waiting, then turning it on, though, just in case.
      Tim

      Reply
  7. Elizabeth

    This happens to me from time to time, though not to my husband. I plug in a dongle and that solves the problem

    Reply
  8. Frances Brocklehurst

    Thank you – your email was a great help to me as I was in the same situation as your Mum! All well now. Happy Christmas to you all. Frances.

    Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      Hello
      it’s a bit of a vague term – really it means any gadget where you plug the gadget itself into the computer (as opposed to a printer or mouse or whatever, which might have a long cable coming out of it).
      In practice usually people mean a type of dongle that lets you get the kind of broadband a mobile phone uses but on a laptop.
      Tim

      Reply
  9. John Welch

    As usual, a very helpful reply to one of my problems Looking at the weather fore cast for your area fror next few days, 215t Feb 2017, hope you don’t get flooded out. Good luck to you all.

    Reply
  10. John Welch

    As usual, a very helpful reply, covering some good points. Looking at the weather forecast for next few days, that is for period 21st feb weather forecast for 21st February is to be wet in your area. hope you all get through it safely.

    Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      Thanks! The weather was a bit wild, but we emerged unscathed. We didn’t really end up with any flooding (right where we are it tends to run off into the sea so we’re generally OK) but the wind was, well, bracing to say the least!
      Tim

      Reply

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