Dec 8, 2009

How to fix a "network cable unplugged" error

If you are experiencing a "network cable unplugged" error message, you have experienced the loss of a hardwired connection. In a world of insanely cryptic error messages, this one is relatively straight forward.
You might think that your first step is to check that your network cable is not actually unplugged. However, network cables don't fall out very often, the most likely cause of the error message is that your modem or router has lost power.
Your next step is to be sure your ethernet network adapter is enabled and working properly. In Windows XP; click Start>Settings>Network Connections. Generally, you'll see a wireless adapter (if so equipped) and a LAN (Local Area Network) adapter. You should disable the wireless connection and enable or repair the LAN connection. You can access these options by right clicking on the appropriate adapter.
Once you've determined that the modem and/or router have power, and your adapter is enabled, your next step is to...
You guessed it, make sure your network cable isn't actually unplugged. Your network cable is an ethernet cable, also known as a cat5 cable. It looks like a bigger version of a phone line and is generally some color other than black. The cable usually plugs into the back of either your desktop or your laptop and connects to your modem or router.
Once you've located the cable make sure it is firmly seated into the jack. You may wish to remove the cable and inspect it for damage. The connectors are very similar to standard phone jacks and connectors, there is a little tab that locks the connector into the jack. Your network cable is made up of small wires. Check at the connectors to see if any of these wires are broken or pulled out. If the cable is connected properly, you should see a green or amber light around the network jack. This means data is being transferred over the connection. If you don't see any lights, try a known good cable.
There is always the possibility that your network adapter is not functioning properly. You can check under System Properties>Device Manager>Network Adapters. If you see a red "X", Houston, you have a problem. You can try to repair, enable/disable the adapter and update the drivers. These options are accessible via a right click on the adapter icon.
If you must replace your network adapter, don't panic. Although you will need to open the case of your computer, it's a fairly easy job. You network adapter is also known as a NIC (Network Interface Card.)

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