Windows 10 killed my internet access

The art of profiting out of inadequacies of a product seems like a unique and modern business phenomenon. Car and motorbike makers, for example, profit by making new models improving on their older ones. Software business is probably the biggest beneficiary of the practice as the time it takes for a software to become outdated or obsolete is pretty short. The richest man in the world Bill Gates is not an automobile maker but mainly a software producer or rather upgrader. Ever since he made the Microsoft Windows OS (Operating System) turning computers accessible to people at large decades ago, Bill Gates has been mainly doing just that, upgrading and selling. People find it irresistible or compelling to upgrade their OS every time he comes out with a new version. It is like horses running eternally after a carrot permanently dangled in front. Lay users, and Microsoft’s clientele is mostly them, would say that the upgrades don’t make much difference to the work they were doing with their earlier version.

There are alternatives to Microsoft Windows OS that are available for free but there are so many popular application software dependent on the OS that people using high end professional quality application software do not prefer the free OS alternatives. I got hooked to Windows OS with its XP version and when I bought HP Pavilion desktop computer afterwards it came with the next upgrade, Windows Vista. My laptop a few years later came with its next, Windows 7. I bought Windows 8 when I assembled my own high end PC as replacement to the HP Pavilion couple of years ago. I understood practically that new OS meant learning to do the old tasks in different ways and not necessary quicker or better. So, I decided not to upgrade at all or at least postpone it as much as possible, next time. But no matter what people decide, Bill Gates keeps upgrading because, among other reasons, his OS by virtue of its universal popularity has become the prime target of online virus and software piracy.

When Windows 10 came (there was no windows 9) in July last year I just ignored it. Coincidentally the new version, reportedly, didn’t find as good a reception with people as the previous ones. Microsoft then played the standard trick in its book and announced a last date for free upgrade to Windows 10 and it was signal to fishes like me to take the bait. The upgrade is free for those already having the earlier version in their computer, for a limited period.

As July 2016, the last month for free upgrade neared, I looked for a window (in my schedule) to upgrade to the new Microsoft Window. Contrary to their advertisement that it takes only a few hours to upgrade, it takes days including downloading the OS and sorting out issues with the new version. Downloading takes a major part of a day in India with its slow internet. Then it may be sudden non functioning of some feature in the computer or compatibility issues with other existing software applications. Window 8 took about 20 hours to download but Windows 10 took only about 12 hours even though it is of larger size, thanks to an unusual spell of above average net speed from BSNL that I was experiencing since the past few weeks.

Everything looked fine this time after downloading and installing the OS except that the internet was not accessible which I had rarely experienced after upgrades. I would have been stuck if I hadn’t a second computer which is a must for anyone who enjoys maintaining a computer and all its software by himself. So, I could connect up my laptop and google search for solutions to the problem. Google brings up information on how same and similar issues were solved from forums and blogs on the internet. I always post the solutions that worked out for me, such as this one, on my wordpress site and I wish more people did the same. The google search showed that many users had their internet access snapped after upgrading to Windows 10 but they all had Wi-fi connection. As my internet access was hard wired I searched further. As usual it is with Internet access related issues there were instructions to check the modem and its connections which I ignored as all the lights on the modem were on and the appropriate ones were blinking indicating its health was normal. Another routine advice that appear is to update what are known as ‘drivers’ which are actually software specific to different hardware parts in the computer, in this case network adaptors. Internal updating came up with the message that the existing driver was the latest. I knew I had to check for the latest from the driver’s manufacturer, Intel. Even though I was skeptical, as too often the problems persisted even after updating the drivers, I still went ahead. Noting the name of the network adaptor from the Device Manager page of my computer, I checked the Intel website which didn’t show any upgrade for the driver nor did an independent site.

Looking for other solutions I found a recommendation to uninstall the driver and then restart the computer, letting it automatically install the same driver again. Seemingly naive but the suggestion worked as my computer was able to access internet for the first time since upgrading to Windows 10. But the next morning there was no internet access again but it could be accessed after I repeated the previous day’s action and found soon that it was not necessary to even uninstall the driver but a mere restart was enough to access internet. It was not a full solution as it wasted time and caused the annoyance of having to start and then restart the computer to access internet.

Meanwhile my computer started giving a more helpful error message: ‘one or more network protocols are missing’. That helped me zero on a list of solutions which required typing instructions through Command prompt window. But even all that failed and I did then what seemed like a surgical cure, of the software kind, but with warning of dire consequences if I botched up. It was to export certain software keys from the registry of a good working computer and then import the same into the defective one. As the export and import did not involve shipping beyond geographical borders but only between two computers on my table with a pen drive used for shipping,  I did the operation immediately but carefully. But what seemed like a sure shot solution vaporized too as it still couldn’t make my computer access the internet on normal starting. It was back to square one, as it often happens with computer trouble shooting.

Finally, I went back to Intel’s driver software web page and looked closely. There was a driver with a different name but with the subtext that it was for Windows 10. I downloaded it, clicked the installation button and it installed like a breeze. I was a bit fatalist after days of trying to unsuccessfully solve the problem and I didn’t care to take backup of the existing driver software. If it didn’t work I was going to try the mother of all solutions – reset the computer and do what is called a clean installation. That is how some of the users had solved this seemingly unsolvable problem. But I was in for a surprise as the computer continued to access internet after the new driver installation and internet became instantly accessible on starting the computer. There was no need for a restart. So, after about a week I have settled down with the latest Windows upgrade. Life is back to normal apart from having to find new ways to some old features on the computer because they got rearranged by the new Windows OS.

Desktop after Windows 10 Install

No changes to desktop view other than the background and task bar at the bottom, after Windows 10 installation

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