How to Fix Unidentified Network Errors in Windows

Reconnect your Windows PC to the internet

Unidentified network errors on your computer prove especially vexing because they're non-specific enough that they don't support an obvious troubleshooting strategy. However, Windows 10's networking subsystem is integrated enough that most unidentified errors resolve through standard network-troubleshooting procedures.

Steps in this article apply to a Windows 10, 8, or 7 device connected to an unidentified network, but still cannot access the internet.

Causes of Unidentified Network Errors

Windows 10 has many cool features, like automatic Windows updates. However, some automatic updates to the operating system generate problems instead of addressing them.

When patches are installed they modify system files and, on some occasions, also affect device drivers. If any of these files are related to the network adapter on the device, it could be one of the reasons for errors like an unidentified network.

Network and Sharing Center showing unidentified network

How to Resolve Unidentified Network Errors

When you troubleshoot a wireless problem, any of the devices on the network could contribute to the error. While troubleshooting the Windows device might not be enough, it's still the best place to start.

  1. Run the Windows Troubleshooter. Press the Win+I to open Settings, then select Update & Security > Troubleshoot > Internet Connections. The troubleshooter checks for, and addresses, common problems automatically.

    networking status
  2. Restart your computer. A reboot clears certain memory values and re-initializes the networking system.

  3. Restart your router. Sometimes internet-access errors aren't related to your Windows device but to your router. By doing a restart and ensuring the router starts up up properly, you can confirm what the actual source of the problem might be.

  4. Verify your internet connection. Sometimes, disruptions by your internet service provider prove the culprit. Particularly in dense residential neighborhoods served by Digital Subscriber Line technology, some peak-access times, like evenings, prove too much of a draw for the neighborhood's network to handle. Your ISP may offer a downtime detector. Similarly, verify whether your billing account is current. Many ISPs shut off access without warning after you accumulate a certain past-due status.