Specific laptop has issues with Wi-Fi and Ethernet anywhere it goes, impossible to use


Dec 22, 2016
Disclaimer: I don't know much about tech terms so please explain them if you use them. I apologize if I left some things out - I typed this for an hour before it deleted itself, so I'm trying to hurry and re-type. This will also be long.

My computer:
An HP TouchSmart, hard to find on HP site but it's on retail sites with this descriptor: HP 15.6" Laptop PC with Intel Core i3-4005U Processor, 6GB Memory, Touchscreen, 500GB Hard Drive and Windows 8.1.

The problem is as follows:
- Only one of my laptops will suddenly stop working by slowing down for a second, before the internet stops working entirely. A caution symbol/red X/etc. will show up over the Wi-Fi bars.
- This happens anywhere I take it, not just my apartment. Also, my other laptop and desktop computer are fine.
- Under Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Change adapter settings, it shows "Ethernet" and "Wi-Fi". Ethernet is ALWAYS off and stating "Network cable unplugged".

My "work arounds" so far:
- Quickly turning off/on the Wi-Fi or disconnecting/re-connecting it when I notice it's about to mess up.
- At first, if that didn't work, I simply could restart my computer once or twice and it would be fine for a bit.
- It started getting worse. If I go to Device Manager > Network adapters and disable the Ethernet (labeled as Realtek PCIe FE Family Controller), uninstall it, and restart once or multiple times, it ends up working for a bit.
- Once I do that, and it seems to be working thanks to restart, I try to disable/uninstall the Ethernet right away. This doesn't ensure anything, but makes it work slightly longer.
- If it messes up after that last attempt, it's usually the remaining network adapter, "Wi-Fi," that has a caution symbol/red X. Other times, the problem is the Ethernet just mysteriously popped back up. Disabling/re-enabling it/uninstalling Ethernet, and restarting a few times helps.
- Plugging in the Ethernet cable to my laptop seems to help slightly, though even that messes up after a short while. It's the only solution to "Network cable unplugged", too.

I have no idea what could be causing this, aside from possibly the Ethernet and Wi-Fi are trying to work at the same time. I'm not sure what could have caused this to happen after over a year of owning this, but it's been going on for months. I apologize for the text wall, and thank you in advance if you take the time to reply.
It sounds to me like your WiFi card is going. I could be wrong, but that is what it seems like.

You might want to see if you can borrow (if you know anyone who has one) and external WiFi card that connects through your USB. See if this works for you. If it does, then you have to choose between replacing your internal hardware or just getting an external one of your own.


Dec 22, 2016

Thank you for your response! I hope that's the problem, because it sounds like the solution is fairly easy to handle.

I could look this up on my own, and definitely will do, but I might as well ask now - Is there much of a difference between getting an external one or replacing my internal one, or do you recommend a certain option?

Thank you again! I appreciate it a lot. I'll be trying this out ASAP.
Well, there are benefits to either. Like... Internal will be harder to remove/install but then it is inside. Out of the way. External obviously is outside, so you would have to remove it when moving the laptop around/putting in a case/etc. Also there is the risk of hitting it on something and damaging it and the laptop, were you to forget to remove it first. And, there is the fact that your port would be taken up by it, so not usable by other things at the same time.
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