Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Frustrating "Local Access Only" Problem - Vista Worries

Being the 'computer handyman' of the family, I was fiddling with my sister's relatively new notebook that has a Vista Home Basic Edition installed on it. After keeping her notebook, up-to-date with all the security patches, service packs and similar things - the weirdest thing (ok! not something totally weird, if you are used to working on a PC :)!) happened. The notebook lost all contact to the outside world. You got it right! - the notebook lost its wireless connection. I was getting a 'Local Access Only'.

The notebook had Vista Home Basic Edition with SP1 installed. Googling, I realized that this was not an isolated issue but a prevalent problem among Vista users. This is a consolidated list of numerous recommended things I tried, before resolving the issue -
  1. Using Windows Diagnostics Mode to resolve the problem automatically. I received the message that the notebook was unable to acquire a new IP address and was asked to reset the router.
  2. Reset the router and modem individially and reset them together.
  3. Disabled DHCP and assigned a static IP to the notebook
  4. Connected the computer using a wired connection to the modem
  5. Uninstalled and reinstalled the wireless adapters numerous times
  6. Checked to see if the wireless adapters (NIC) had any more updates
  7. Was unable to connect in the safe mode with networking turned on
  8. Turned the IPV6 off to see if that was the issue
  9. Removed Symantec and AVG Anti Virus Software running in the system
  10. Turned Windows Firewall off to make sure that was not holding back the connection.
  11. Turned DHCP broadcast flag to ON in the Registry. Read more in this Microsoft KB Article
  12. Gateway problem. Type 'route print' in the Command Window (Start->Run->Cmd->Enter). If you see a entry against the Default Gateway, enter 'route delete' and then press Enter.
After all this, I was all set to 'Restore' the system to a prior date when the Wireless Connection was working perfectly fine - and surprisingly, it did the trick! Go to 'Start->Data backup and Recovery' and select the Restore Point when things were working perfectly ok.

Its true that sometimes, the solution can lie just under your nose and you may overlook it :)

Bottomline - The guess is that, Windows has some software updates that might cause this problem to arise. So, once you have the system restored - you should be able to reinstall the Microsoft updates one by one to get hold of the culprit. I will update this blog with the details once I can pinpoint the software update!