Help me, I deleted the Internet!

Imagine you starting your computer one day to open a website—but it just won’t work. There is no network connection. Drivers? Cable? Internet provider? Might be the culprits, but here’s another possibility to check.

The other day, a friend of mine tried to call me. He’d usually text instead of calling, so it meant something was wrong. When I saw the missed call and called back, he described a big problem: His computer could no longer open any websites. So… I decided to help him. First, the usual culprits were checked:

  • IP configuration was correct
  • Drivers were updated
  • Cable was not plugged out and not broken
  • Internet was working for my friend’s phone on the same WiFi

No network connections visible

Then I took a look in the Network adapters section (press Win+R, enter ncpa.cpl). And voilà—this was empty, no Ethernet nor WiFi adapter visible. Suspicious.

The solution: Dozens of disabled services

I was about to give up when we finally checked the Services list. These are background programs run by Windows. Here’s the full steps to get this fixed:

  1. Press Win+R, enter services.msc and confirm with OK.
  2. In the appearing list, check for any services, particularly with “Network” in their name, that are set to Disabled.
  3. Double-click them, and set them to Automatic.
  4. You may need to repeat this for any services that deal with networking and are disabled.
  5. After you’ve reached the end of the service list, reboot the computer.

Hopefully you’ll have proper network connectivity again now. Oh, and: I can’t tell you why this happened or what/who set these essential Windows networking services to be disabled. But after all, re-enabling them fixed the issue!