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Network failures after standby are not uncommon in older machines. Fortunately, fixing network problems after standby is not difficult - usually.

I have a Dell running Windows XP Home addition. When I put my computer in standby or sleep or if it has been inactive for several hrs , when I resume use I find I cannot connect to the internet - or the browser says "website cannot be found" like it's not connected. I use DSL and the connection works fine on my other computer with no problems. I restart the problem goes away for a short time - till it is inactive again. What gives? I have 2 hard drives on this computer. My other drive never has this problem. I have even deleted, reformatted and reinstalled windows XP and the problem is still there.

I wouldn't expect the hard drives to be a factor at all.

What you're describing isn't terribly uncommon, and points to either of a couple of places.

What you're describing is simply a lost network connection. As you say, the computer cannot connect to the internet - at all - so pages can't be retrieved, and the error you see in the browser is the result. If you have other machines on your local network, you probably can't see or connect to them either, until you reboot.

The issue here is power management. When you put a computer into standby, software is not unloaded, but left in memory while most all of the other hardware is turned off to conserve power. When you resume from standby all that hardware is turned back on, and then needs to not only be re-initialized, but it needs to be restored to the same state it was in before standby. That's when things can get confused.

As I said, there are two common causes:

"Your first step should be to check with the manufacturer of your computer ... for an updated BIOS for your machine."

BIOS - Your computer's BIOS, the software that's 'built in' to the hardware of your computer and which acts as an interface between Windows and the hardware, plays a very large role in power management. Problems with standby were very common in older laptops as the BIOS on many computers wasn't handling every scenario properly.

Your first step should be to check with the manufacturer of your computer, Dell in your case, for an updated BIOS for your machine. Installation is typically a download which you then run, or copy to a boot floppy or CD and then boot from.

Drivers - as I said, "waking up" from standby requires that each piece of hardware be re-initialized, and that's in part the job of the drivers for that hardware. You didn't mention what kind of network connection or interface you are using, but if it's drivers don't handle resume properly, the result could be a dropped network connection.

Your second step, should the first not resolve the issue, would be to locate updated drivers for your network interface. Once again this is probably something you would locate on your computer manufacturer's site - Dell, in your case.

If neither of those options work, next steps become a little more hazy. I'd certainly make sure that Windows itself was fully up to date with a visit to Windows Update.

Article C2790 - September 19, 2006 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

September 20, 2006 10:35 AM

My computer restarting after working around 6 times in a day? what will be the problem. Power settings are ok. and we load default setting in BIOS. please give suggessions as earliest.


September 23, 2006 6:16 AM

I had this problem all the time on both my computers. I was using Norton systemworks, so I installed registry mechanic, and the same thing happened. I uninstalled completely all traces of both programs, and downloaded AVG free edition anti-virus, have had absolutely no problems since. Don't know what anti-virus you are using, but this might help. One computer has windows XP home, and the other it the pro version. Good luck.

October 11, 2006 9:23 PM

That is my problem with DSL too! Sometimes I cannot connect to the internet after standby, and it works after restart. It is more offen when DSL connected to PCI USB Card - not motherboard USB...

November 2, 2006 1:11 PM

I agree that your problem is caused by either BIOS or driver settings. However I daubt that updating these will solve your problem. As is normally the case the "updater" will simply copy your previous settings.
I would advise you to look at your driver/BIOS settings. Don't be afraid because if you mess something up just undo it later. A wrong network / power management setting can't just wipe your HD clean ;-).
You might even learn something in the process other then with a wishfull update.
How To?
Drivers: Configuration Settings -> System -> HardWare -> Device Management... Select your network device and right click -> settings ... -> Power Management
BIOS: press delete(default) button before windows loads and go to the power management section where you will find all sorts of interesting options.

unchecking "turn this device of to save power" in driver settings normally does the trick.

Hope i helped...

March 4, 2007 10:58 AM

If you cannot connect to the internet after resuming from stand-by or hibernate mode, and you use Zone Labs security software, then that is the culprit. Just ask them; they'll tell you. Or uninstall your Zone Lab software, and see if the problem vanishes.

February 1, 2008 2:55 PM

Check out Microsoft's support article KB328647 on this problem at:

June 1, 2008 11:13 AM

When troubleshooting another problem, the support desk for my router manufacturer told me to remove my LAN connection from "Network Bridge" I think the steps on my Windows XP PC were:

Start | Control Panel | Network Connections
Right click on "Local Area Connection" | Remove from bridge

I don't recall if other steps were required to reestablish the connection, but my "Local Area Connection" is now on "LAN or High-Speed Internet." This seemed to fix the problem of no network connection after waking up from sleep mode. I'm not sure why my Local Area Connection was in the "Network Bridge." My PC came that way from the local shop that custom built it for me.

I have a wired LAN connection to a router to a cable modem.

A. K. Bhardwaj
July 6, 2008 3:27 PM

I fixed the same problem with my Windows MCE HTPC by checkmarking everything but the last box in the Power Management settings of my NIC card. This allowed Windows to turn the NIC on or off and I guess initialise it in the process.

August 14, 2008 6:51 AM

I disabled my Ethernet connection and it worked. Now I remember that the problem started after I connected my laptop to Internet through the Ethernet connection

sandra lansbury
October 25, 2008 9:26 AM

I have windows xp home edition on a toshiba portable. New update from microsoft puts me into standby when left idle. Cannot re-connect to internet without switching off. Help required (as simple as you can make it)

Daniel Ross
December 7, 2009 7:17 AM

I had the same problem on my Gateway laptop. Status bar indicators showed that I was connected but sites would not load.

After disabling my ethernet connection the wireless worked again for me as well. Good tip Andres!

Dan Schrum
January 18, 2010 4:44 PM

I spent 25 min on the phone with gateway support for them to tell me they would charge me $109 to fix this problem which I solved by disabling my ethernet connection as recommended by an above poster. Thank you all very much for saving me money and a little bit of dignity. I discovered that this issue was caused by a windows update that changed my internet settings after the 1rst of the year.

Nitesh Deviprasad Agrawal
April 23, 2011 4:48 AM

I am having same problem, also my O.S. is updated, but yet i am facing the same problem. I also updated my BIOS, but the problem still exists. Please help !

May 11, 2011 4:16 PM

I resolved the issue by change my Network Adapter properties Power Management set 'ALLOW this device to brint the computer out of stantby ' ON or set 'ALLOW the computer to turn off this device to save power' OFF either one will resolve the issue


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