Computer Help | Windows:

Diagnose Network Connection Issues By Interpreting The Windows XP/Vista/7 Notification Area Network Icon

Version: Default* | Print Friendly With Images | Print Friendly Without Images

For: Windows XP (32) | Windows Vista (32/64) | Windows 7 (32/64)

Last Reviewed/Updated: 04 Apr 2011 | Published: 08 Dec 2010 | Status: Active

  1. 1.  Introduction
  2. 2.  Fully Enable The Windows XP/Vista Notification Area Network Icon
    1. 2.1.  Fully Enable The Windows XP Notification Area Network Icon
    2. 2.2.  Fully Enable The Windows Vista Notification Area Network Icon
  3. 3.  Diagnose Network Connection Issues By Interpreting The Windows XP Notification Area Network Icon
    1. 3.1.  The Windows XP Notification Area Network Icon: Local Area Connection - A Network Cable Is Unplugged
    2. 3.2.  The Windows XP Notification Area Network Icon: Local Area Connection - Status: Limited Or No Connectivity
    3. 3.3.  The Windows XP Notification Area Network Icon: Local Area Connection - Status: Connected
  4. 4.  Diagnose Network Connection Issues By Interpreting The Windows Vista Notification Area Network Icon
    1. 4.1.  The Windows Vista Notification Area Network Icon: Not Connected - You Are Currently Not Connected To Any Networks
    2. 4.2.  The Windows Vista Notification Area Network Icon: Currently Connected To: Unidentified Network - Access: Limited Connectivity
    3. 4.3.  The Windows Vista Notification Area Network Icon: Currently Connected To: Network - Access: Local Only
    4. 4.4.  The Windows Vista Notification Area Network Icon: Currently Connected To: Network - Access: Local And Internet
  5. 5.  Diagnose Network Connection Issues By Interpreting The Windows 7 Notification Area Network Icon
    1. 5.1.  The Windows 7 Notification Area Network Icon: Not Connected - No Connections Are Available
    2. 5.2.  The Windows 7 Notification Area Network Icon: Unidentified Network - No Network Access
    3. 5.3.  The Windows 7 Notification Area Network Icon: Network - No Internet Access
    4. 5.4.  The Windows 7 Notification Area Network Icon: Network - Internet Access

1.  Introduction

The Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 (Windows XP/Vista/7) notification area Network icon provides network status and diagnostic information through icon overlays and icon mouseover infotips. This Web page describes how to diagnose network connection issues by interpreting the Windows XP/Vista/7 notification area Network icon.

i
This page assumes your computer obtains its IP address from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or router. In other words, this page assumes your computer network adapter's TCP/IPv4 and TCP/IPv6 properties are set to Obtain an IP address automatically, which is the Windows XP/Vista/7 default.

2.  Fully Enable The Windows XP/Vista Notification Area Network Icon

By default, the Windows 7 notification area Network icon is fully enabled and the Windows XP/Vista notification area Network icon is not fully enabled.

2.1.  Fully Enable The Windows XP Notification Area Network Icon

By default, the Windows XP notification area Network icon is shown when the network has limited or no connectively, and is not shown when the network is connected. To show the Windows XP notification area Network icon when the network is connected:

  1. Click Start | Control Panel | Network and Internet Connections | Network Connections.
  2. Right click the Local Area Connection corresponding to your network adapter (not 1394 Connection, if present) and select Properties.
  3. Check Show icon in notification area when connected.
    Windows XP Local Area Connection Properties: Show Icon When Connected
  4. Click OK.

2.2.  Fully Enable The Windows Vista Notification Area Network Icon

Unlike Windows 7, the Windows XP/Vista notification area Network icon animates (i.e., the icon's monitors light up) when network activity occurs (i.e., the computer is sending/receiving network data). By default, the Windows Vista notification area Network icon activity animation is turned off. To turn on the Windows Vista notification area Network icon activity animation:


3.  Diagnose Network Connection Issues By Interpreting The Windows XP Notification Area Network Icon

i
  • Unlike Windows 7, the Windows XP notification area Network icon animates (i.e., the icon's monitors light up) when the computer is sending/receiving network data.
  • Unlike Windows Vista/7, the Windows XP notification area Network icon does not distinguish between the presence or absence of an Internet connection.

3.1.  The Windows XP Notification Area Network Icon: Local Area Connection - A Network Cable Is Unplugged

Windows XP Notification Area Network Icon: Local Area Connection - A Network Cable Is Unplugged

This Network icon appears when the cabling between the computer and the network device is faulty or the network device is powered off:

Windows XP Notification Area Network Icon: Local Area Connection - A Network Cable Is Unplugged: Network Map

3.2.  The Windows XP Notification Area Network Icon: Local Area Connection - Status: Limited Or No Connectivity

Windows XP Notification Area Network Icon: Local Area Connection - Status: Limited Or No Connectivity

This Network icon appears when the computer finds a network device and is unable to obtain an IP address. With a routerless (i.e., direct) network connection, this occurs when the modem needs to be powered off/on or reset, the connection between the modem and the Internet is faulty, or the Internet is down. With a router, this occurs when the router needs to be powered off/on or reset:

Windows XP Notification Area Network Icon: Local Area Connection - Status: Limited Or No Connectivity: Network Map

3.3.  The Windows XP Notification Area Network Icon: Local Area Connection - Status: Connected

Windows XP Notification Area Network Icon: Local Area Connection - Status: Connected

When the computer is sending/receiving network data the Network icon lights up:

Windows XP Notification Area Network Icon: Local Area Connection - Status: Connected: Transferring Data

This Network icon appears when the computer finds a network device and obtains an IP address:

Windows XP Notification Area Network Icon: Local Area Connection - Status: Connected: Network Map


4.  Diagnose Network Connection Issues By Interpreting The Windows Vista Notification Area Network Icon

i
  • Unlike Windows 7, the Windows Vista notification area Network icon animates (i.e., the icon's monitors light up) when the computer is sending/receiving network data.
  • Unlike Windows XP, the Windows Vista notification area Network icon distinguishes between the presence or absence of an Internet connection.
  • With a functioning routerless (i.e., direct) network connection, the Network icon mouseover infotip reference to "Local" is misleading.

4.1.  The Windows Vista Notification Area Network Icon: Not Connected - You Are Currently Not Connected To Any Networks

Windows Vista Notification Area Network Icon: Not Connected - You Are Currently Not Connected To Any Networks

This Network icon appears when the cabling between the computer and the network device is faulty or the network device is powered off:

Windows Vista Notification Area Network Icon: Not Connected - You Are Currently Not Connected To Any Networks: Network Map

4.2.  The Windows Vista Notification Area Network Icon: Currently Connected To: Unidentified Network - Access: Limited Connectivity

Windows Vista Notification Area Network Icon: Currently Connected To: Unidentified Network - Access: Limited Connectivity

This Network icon appears when the computer finds a network device and is unable to obtain an IP address. With a routerless (i.e., direct) network connection, this occurs when the modem needs to be powered off/on or reset, the connection between the modem and the Internet is faulty, or the Internet is down. With a router, this occurs when the router needs to be powered off/on or reset:

Windows Vista Notification Area Network Icon: Currently Connected To: Unidentified Network - Access: Limited Connectivity: Network Map

4.3.  The Windows Vista Notification Area Network Icon: Currently Connected To: Network - Access: Local Only

Windows Vista Notification Area Network Icon: Currently Connected To: Network - Access: Local Only

When the computer is sending/receiving network data the Network icon lights up:

Windows Vista Notification Area Network Icon: Currently Connected To: Network - Access: Local Only: Transferring Data

This Network icon appears when the computer finds a network device, obtains an IP address, and is unable to connect to the Internet. This only occurs with a router and when something on the WAN (i.e., public) side of the router is not functioning, including when the cabling is faulty, the modem is powered off, the modem needs to be powered off/on or reset, or the Internet is down:

Windows Vista Notification Area Network Icon: Currently Connected To: Network - Access: Local Only: Transferring Data: Network Map

4.4.  The Windows Vista Notification Area Network Icon: Currently Connected To: Network - Access: Local And Internet

Windows Vista Notification Area Network Icon: Currently Connected To: Network - Access: Local And Internet

When the computer is sending/receiving network data the Network icon lights up:

Windows Vista Notification Area Network Icon: Currently Connected To: Network - Access: Local And Internet: Transferring Data

This Network icon appears when the computer finds a network device, obtains an IP address, and connects to the Internet:

Windows Vista Notification Area Network Icon: Currently Connected To: Network - Access: Local And Internet: Transferring Data: Network Map


5.  Diagnose Network Connection Issues By Interpreting The Windows 7 Notification Area Network Icon

i
  • Unlike Windows XP/Vista, the Windows 7 notification area Network icon does not animate (i.e., the icon's monitors do not light up) when the computer is sending/receiving network data.
  • Unlike Windows XP, the Windows 7 notification area Network icon distinguishes between the presence or absence of an Internet connection.
  • The Windows 7 notification area Network icon is identical for "Unidentified network - No network access" and "Network - No internet access."

5.1.  The Windows 7 Notification Area Network Icon: Not Connected - No Connections Are Available

Windows 7 Notification Area Network Icon: Not Connected - No Connections Are Available

This Network icon appears when the cabling between the computer and the network device is faulty or the network device is powered off:

Windows 7 Notification Area Network Icon: Not Connected - No Connections Are Available: Network Map

5.2.  The Windows 7 Notification Area Network Icon: Unidentified Network - No Network Access

Windows 7 Notification Area Network Icon: Unidentified Network - No Network Access

This Network icon appears when the computer finds a network device and is unable to obtain an IP address. With a routerless (i.e., direct) network connection, this occurs when the modem needs to be powered off/on or reset, the connection between the modem and the Internet is faulty, or the Internet is down. With a router, this occurs when the router needs to be powered off/on or reset:

Windows 7 Notification Area Network Icon: Unidentified Network - No Network Access: Network Map

5.3.  The Windows 7 Notification Area Network Icon: Network - No Internet Access

Windows 7 Notification Area Network Icon: Network - No Internet Access

This Network icon appears when the computer finds a network device, obtains an IP address, and is unable to connect to the Internet. This only occurs with a router and when something on the WAN (i.e., public) side of the router is not functioning, including when the cabling is faulty, the modem is powered off, the modem needs to be powered off/on or reset, or the Internet is down:

Windows 7 Notification Area Network Icon: Network - No Internet Access: Network Map

5.4.  The Windows 7 Notification Area Network Icon: Network - Internet Access

Windows 7 Notification Area Network Icon: Network - Internet Access

This Network icon appears when the computer finds a network device, obtains an IP address, and connects to the Internet:

Windows 7 Notification Area Network Icon: Network - Internet Access: Network Map