PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM/Unable to access Internet w/ computer


QUESTION: My computer gets online via wireless, it's an old 2009 edition model p6320y w/ an AMD Phentom(tm) II X4 820 processor, 2.80 GHz & has 8 GB RAM (64-bit operating system).  It also has one of those small external towers to receive wireless (it's been working since we got it).  The problem started a few days ago after the modem had abruptly disconnected and someone decided to reset it (before that point it was working), afterwards I've been having a bit of trouble connecting on both Chrome and Firefox.  On chrome it gives me the error codes dns probe finished no internet, and dns nxdomain (something along those lines, it happens randomly for which message I get).  I can get on the internet sometimes, which will work rather slowly compared to before.  Before, it had random moments where it would temporarily give me the "web page is not available" message, but it would last for around 10-20 seconds before it would connect again and it was quite infrequent so I didn't bother.  I've tried virus scanning (and clean up, the only part I didn't clean was the registry because I heard it can mess up the computer and the cleaner I use doesn't provide a back-up) multiple times, which did seem to have a rather insignificant effect on the performance.  I've tried trouble shooting via the regular troubleshooting and online guides, but neither worked, one said that the problem was the DNS server, but another checked the connections of my devices and says that the mini adapter isn't connected (it has to be, seeing as I can get on sometimes).  Sorry for not providing any screenshots, but I'm using my iPad, as it can stay on the internet.  An iPhone, an iPad, a kurio tablet, a windows 8 tablet, and a windows 7 laptop (unsure, the user doesn't use the internet much) all seem to not have trouble with the wireless connection.  I've asked an expert on Internet, but they referred me here (both they and I [now] think it has something to do with the hardware).  What might the issue be?

ANSWER: I would need more specific information about the machine itself - you mention a model number but don't mention who built the machine, and you mention that it has a 64-bit operating system, but not what family of operating systems (or version) it comes from. Details like that would be very helpful.

As far as the specific problem you're having - as long as you didn't have a problem with viruses before the devices were re-set, you probably don't have a problem with them now; so a virus scan is not likely to be the fix (most modern viruses actually want the machine online, so it can become part of a botnet - sure there are still nuissance viruses out there, but they're relatively rare, and if your virus scanner was up to date at the time of the problem, I would say we can start troubleshooting other avenues first). Registry "cleaning" should not "screw up" the machine, however various pay-to-play applications may certainly cause damage as they try to extract money from you (e.g. they'll either cause a problem (silently of course) and then ask you to pay for the "full version" of the application to "fix" your PC, or they will load-up a ton of garbage to blast you with ads/etc). I generally suggest CCleaner - it isn't loaded down with junk, it's free (although you can donate to the developer if you feel inclined), and it will create backups of the registry. That having been said, I doubt that's the problem either. You can grab it here: https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner

As far as your connection goes, I'll need to know exactly how the system is connecting - you mention a "mini tower" but not any details about that device, or what it's meaning to connect wirelessly to; is it connecting to a router? Or a wireless AP? Or does your modem have a built-in router/AP? What can you tell me about those devices?

On the machine itself, have you attempted to disable and re-enable the network adapter? (To do this, open up cmd and type "ipconfig -release" press enter, let it return, and then type "ipconfig -renew" and let that return - it should come back and give you an IP address that exists within your DHCP's IP range) Can the machine connect to your router/AP's configuration settings or at least ping that device consistently? Can it connect to or ping other machines on the network? (The target machine will need to be powered up and connected to test this). Does your router/AP employ some form of access control that is blacklisting your machine, or that your machine is not configured for? Is your machine being assigned an IP along with another device? (This is an uncommon and fairly easily fixed problem that some DHCP servers create - essentially two devices are assigned the same IP by accident, and both will have connection problems until at least one of them renews its connection and receives a new IP address).

Finally, have you tried flushing the browser cache, dns cache, etc and/or re-installing one of the browsers and seeing if that alleviates the issue?


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I'm sorry that I forgot so much information.  It's an HP Windows 7 (home premium) computer w/ service pack 1 (I can't find anything related to a version in terms of updates).  I believe the computer doesn't have an internal adapter, so the tower was provided as an external means of connecting wirelessly.  I think it's the Atheros 802.11 a/b/g/n Dualband Wireless Network Module.  It connects to our modem (I believe it has a built-in router/AP).  I do believe it's a model of the first one under "wireless gateways" http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/internet/comcast-supported-routers-  (ours being TG862).  There's nothing particular about it.  I may have been bit lost on the last part after ipconfig, I'm not well-versed in this and apologize for my mistakes.  I tested default gateway that pinged quite well. 2ms w/ no loss (IPv4 didn't have a problem either).  I believe the router doesn't Blacklist this computer.  I tried flushing the dns cache once, but I may not have done it correctly (may I ask how it's done).  I also installed mozilla after the problems occurred, so I don't think the browsers are the issue.  I thank you for the help provided so far.  It's very informative.

ANSWER: I'm still not finding tons of information about this "mini tower" device (the HP specifications show a PCIe-based internal WiFi adapter, however I've not found mention of an external tower antenna associated with it; is this an after-market add-on?) - so let's get more simple: how does it connect to the computer? What does the cable look like? Is it a USB device? Or does it connect via a little screw-terminal wire?

Flushing the DNS cache: http://compnetworking.about.com/od/dns_domainnamesystem/f/what-is-a-dns-cache.ht (the simple answer: "ipconfig /flushdns" in cmd). To run the various command line stuff - hit the start menu, in the search area (near the bottom) type "cmd" without quotes - the result you want is called "cmd" and has a little black box with the letter C in it as an icon. Open that up, and try ipconfig release/renew, and then flushdns if that fails (you type them in without quotes, you cannot type all three in at once, go in the order shown thus far: release, renew, flushdns).

Regarding the router device - can you log into it? That is, it will have an IP address on your network (probably something like or or, etc (you just type that, and nothing else, into your browser's address bar - it'll pop up and ask you for credentials, most often the username on these devices is "admin" and the password is whatever it's set to)). Once logged in, does it show you attached devices, or a list of the machines connected to it? (You may have to poke around a little bit - I'm not extremely familiar with the webUIs associated with Comcast's own branded parts) Does the problem computer show up?


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: The mini tower is connected via a 2 screw-terminal wire, it's a tiny, black tower-like object (it's been awhile so I can't remember if it came with it or not, it may have been a package with the monitor I have and such), it kind of looks like the antennas shown here, only in a more tower-like shape http://www.legitreviews.com/gigabyte-z77x-up7-intel-z77-motherboard-review_2134. (Second image down).   Surprising how nothing pops up on it though.  I tried flushing the dns, but it just tells me "Could not flush the DNS Resolver Cache: function failed during execution".  I think I got to our IP address network, but I'm not sure what the password could be ( the screen shows Status, HW/FW versions, Event Log & CM State.  They have advanced, but I can't get to it yet).  I'm going to get a USB network adapter to see if the problem lies within the adapter itself.  What's weird is that yesterday (or today rather, it was around 12 AM), I was getting good connection  for several hours like nothing was wrong with it and it worked fine, but when I got on later today, I couldn't even get on google.

Given that this is such an intermittent problem, and it seems to connect and then drop with no warning, I'd encourage you to try the new adapter. If it works, I'd suggest removing the old adapter from the system, which will require opening the case to remove the add-in card that the antenna is connecting to.

Regarding logging into the Comcast setup - it may be locked out for users, it depends on how Comcast ocnfigured that device before sending it out to you. You might have to call them and/or schedule a service appointment (if you have their "line service" add-on to your account you won't have to pay for the service appointment) to get any further with that device - unfortunately.


PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM

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