Perhaps one of the most annoying and frustrating things in the modern world is when you log onto your computer after a hard day’s work to browse your favorite websites, only to be presented with the most offensive screen ever: “The webpage cannot be found.” You press refresh. It pops up again. How can this happen? How did this happen? Is it your fault or the internet’s fault?
As usual: the very first step to approaching this, or any other computer or tech-related problem, is: don’t panic! The very biggest issue you’ll find when troubleshooting a problem (or helping someone else through their problems) is that the emotional stress someone’s feeling while addressing a problem can cause undue harm or even deter from an overall solution that could have, otherwise, come along much quicker. Read all about my history with allaying people’s destructive emotional hurdles in this rather unrelated Error Codes Pro article!
Let’s hear it for your ability to use your favorite search engine effectively! You’ve landed here on Error Codes Pro either due to this very strange thing you need to fix: One or More Network Protocols Are Missing on this Windows Computer – or, some other error, and now you’re reading my work for pleasure! Either way you got here, pat on the back for your Internet skills! Sometimes you’ve simply tried to access the website’s server too many times (more on that issue and how to solve it here), but the “429 Runtime Error” is completely different from what has presented itself on your screen this time. This time, the error is due to a complete lack of any information being transferred between your internet provider and your computer.
So you utilize your computer’s troubleshoot option and are told that “One or more network protocols are missing on this Windows computer.” What does it mean? What do you do now? When can you start watching cat videos again?
Unlike HTTP error codes, this error isn’t about the website you’re visiting, nor is it about specific pages not loading on a website where you were able to access other pages with ease; rather, it’s about your computer’s ability to connect to the internet at all. What to do with this information can seem frustrating and confusing, but fear not, because this article will tell you exactly how to find the root of your connectivity problem and fix it- and it’s probably simpler than you think.
Root Cause & So What Exactly Are Network Protocols?
Understanding the topics you’re about to embark on a journey to fix is a very important step in this process, and not everyone knows everything about the internet, or how computers connect to it. So let’s define the phrase “network protocols.” According to lifewire.com, “a network protocol defines rules and conventions for communication between network devices.” These protocols can help connect devices to each other, creates the rules and guidelines needed for proper connection, and even help transfer data from one place to another. Network protocols are absolutely needed for any type of connection to a source outside of your computer.
So it makes sense that, if your computer is unable to connect to the internet at all, it would be because of an issue with the network protocols. Identifying this is key, because it tells you what exactly isn’t the problem with your connection, and offers you way to fix the actual problem (more on that later).
Now, unlike an IP configuration error (more on that here, though, if you’d like to read about it), network protocols aren’t associated specifically with the address used by your computer to connect to the internet. Rather, there’s an issue on your actual computer that’s keeping you from accessing the internet.
Okay, Great. I Get that My Computer is Unhappy! Now What?
So you know what you’re up against now: something on your computer is keeping you from watching those cat videos, and all you have to do at this point is figure out what exactly it is, and then find a way to fix it.
Luckily, Windows comes with a troubleshoot option that you’re probably already familiar with. Once you’re at the end of the troubleshoot road and you’ve been given the “network protocols” error, click on “view detailed information” at the bottom of the troubleshoot box. Here, you should be able to see what exactly is causing the network protocol error, and from there, you can go about the correct way of fixing the issue. In this case, it is likely a problem with the Windows Sockets registry.
Note that at this point, it’s probably not a computer memory problem (read all about memory across devices right here on Error Codes Pro!), as the error only affects your ability to connect to the internet and not your ability to access things stored directly on your computer. Let’s get into the nuts and bolts of it, and examine four very different possible solutions (as well as one Hail Mary in the Conclusion).
Solution #1: So Let’s Fix the Error Already! The Old “Turn It Off and On Again” Trick
There’s a reason why the typical electronic techie’s first question is “have you turned it off and back on again?” It’s always best to try the easiest solutions first. In this case, that solution is to ensure all cables are connected securely. Even if you think they are, it’s best to double check- and maybe disconnect and reconnect them- to make sure they are secure and that there’s nothing obstructing their ability to connect properly.
Go ahead and try to access the internet again. If that worked, great! If not, fear not, and read on. There are a couple more things you can do.
“You can’t just turn love on and off.” – Shania Twain
Solution #1.5: Ah! Help! The Oldest Trick In the Book Didn’t Help!
Not good enough for a whole #, however still a good trick that might help you ultimately resolve the scenario: enter Solution #1.5! Another option is to reset the TCP/IP stack. See HandyAndy’s Tech Tips video where he explains- along with double checking your cables- how to reset that stack using your computer’s command prompt, and what to do if there is an error in your registry.
Solution #2: Still Nothing has Worked… All is Lost… Help!
Yet another option, and one that is much easier and safer than digging around in your computer’s registry, involves simply navigating to the protocols dialogue in your computer and reinstalling what you can. On Tom’s Hardware, one member lists the steps to do this: navigate to your “Network & Internet” settings, then depending on how you connect to the internet click on “Ethernet” or “Wi-Fi”. From there, select “Change adapter options”, then right-click on the issue you discovered on the “view detailed information” screen of the troubleshooter. A taskbar should appear beside your pointer with the option to select “Install”, and from there “Protocol”. This is where anything you can install to correct the adapter’s issue will be hiding. Simply click on that item, install it, and you should be able to access the internet.
Solution #3: Maybe It’s Not Even Me? Who Should I Call?
Pro Tip: Not the Ghostbusters, in this case.
If you’re still having issues connecting to the internet, try calling your Internet Service Provider to make sure they aren’t experiencing any outages that could be affecting you. This is often an overlooked option, but it can save you a lot of headaches and time, especially after you’ve already installed what you could.
Solution #4: Nope, They’re All Well and Good. It’s Me. Help!
Another thing that could be affecting your ability to connect to the internet is your firewall. Quick test to see if it’s the issue: disable it. If your internet connection is back to normal, then it’s time to see about changing your firewall!
If you’ve come this far and you’re still looking for a resolution – and none of the above tips helped, even at all – fear not! The answer is somewhere on the Internet. The fact is, you’ve actually used the Internet well enough to find these words you’re reading now – so, pat on the back for you! I have some final words of advice to get you out of this pickle.
Otherwise, if you’re reading these words and this article solved your issues – congrats! Check out my other articles for witty, informative tips by clicking my name as author, above, or search for your other nitty-gritty Windows, Mobile, or even Mac, Linux,…. Appliance? … error codes, in the top right of Error Codes Pro!
Pro Tips Galore:
- Reformat reinstall Windows. Honestly, this is the last resort (or one of the first resorts… in some cases…) for most techies. There’s info on Google on how to do it – or, even here, I go into some detail on a non-destructive reformat reinstall on Error Codes Pro!
- Ok, maybe the above link told you the ‘secret sauce’ to your next Google Search. I admit it.
- Get searching on your favorite Search Engine! The answer (truth?) is out there!