Common Network Error Messages Solutions

If your network connection is not configured properly or suffers a technical failure, you will often see some error message displayed on the screen. These messages give helpful clues to the nature of the issue.

Use this list of common network-related error messages to help troubleshoot and fix networking problems.

Colored cables going in to a networking router.
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A Network Cable Is Unplugged

This message appears as a Windows desktop balloon. Several different conditions can generate this error each with their own solution, including bad cabling or issues with the device drivers.

If your connection is wired, you may lose access to the network. If on wireless, your network will probably function normally but this error message will become an annoyance since it pops up repeatedly until the issue is addressed.

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IP Address Conflict (Address Already in Use)

If a computer is set up with a static IP address that's being used by some other device on the network, the computer (and possibly also the other device) will be unable to use the network.

An example is two or more devices using the IP address

In some cases, this problem can even occur with DHCP addressing.

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The Network Path Cannot Be Found

Updating the TCP/IP configuration can resolve this issue when trying to access another device on the network.

You might see it when using the incorrect name for the network resource if the share doesn't exist, if the times on the two devices are different or if you don't have the right permissions to access the resource.

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Duplicate Name Exists on the Network

After starting up a Windows computer connected to a local network, you may encounter this error as a balloon message. When it occurs, your computer will be unable to access the network.

You may need to change the name of your computer to resolve this problem.

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Limited or No Connectivity

When trying to open a website or network resource in Windows, you may receive a pop-up dialog error message that starts with the words "limited or no connectivity."

Resetting the TCP/IP stack is a common solution to this problem.

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Connected With Limited Access

A technical glitch in Windows can cause this error message to appear when making certain types of wireless connections, which is why Microsoft provided a fix for it in a service pack update for Windows Vista systems.

You might still find this error in other versions of Windows too, though. It can also occur on a home network for other reasons that might require you to reset your router or connect and then disconnect from the wireless connection.

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"Unable to Join Network Failure" (error -3)

This error appears on the Apple iPhone or iPod touch when it fails to join a wireless network.

You can troubleshoot it the same way you would for a PC that cannot connect to a hotspot.

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"Unable to Establish the VPN Connection" (error 800)

When using a VPN client in Windows, you may receive error 800 when trying to connect to the VPN server. This generic message can indicate problems on either the client or server side.

The client could have a firewall blocking the VPN or maybe it lost connection to its own local network, which disconnected it from the VPN. Another cause could be that the VPN name or address was entered incorrectly.

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