There’s nothing worse than receiving a Windows error that prevents you from accessing the internet. Seeing an error message that reads, “Windows can’t communicate with device or resource,” isn’t uncommon, and can quickly throw a wrench in your day.

If you received this message, there’s no need to panic. We’ll explain exactly what this error means, and how you can fix it.

What Is the “Windows Can’t Communicate With Device or Resource” Error?

You’ll usually see the “Windows can’t communicate with device or resource” error when you can’t connect to the internet, and run Network Diagnostics.

When you encounter this error, this means that your computer can’t connect to the phonebook of the internet, a.k.a. the Domain Name System (DNS). This system automatically translates website names into IP addresses, allowing you to browse the web with ease.

Your computer’s primary DNS server is typically supplied by your internet service provider. A secondary DNS server is also put in place just in case the primary server goes down. Despite this, your computer’s settings can sometimes get out of whack, causing you to experience issues connecting to the internet.

If you can’t get the “Windows 10 can’t communicate with device or resource” error to go away, here are some fixes that might help.

1. Ensure Your DNS and DHCP Clients Are Running

Before you try any of the following fixes, you’ll want to make sure that your DNS and DHCP clients are running. To do this, head to the Start menu search bar, and type in “Services.”

DHCP Windows 10 Services

Select the Services app, and you’ll see a list of all services that are running on your device. Check the services labeled DNS and DHCP. If “Running” isn’t listed under the “Status” column for either of the services, you’ll need to fix that.

DHCP Client Properties

Enable DNS and DHCP by double-clicking on each of the services. If the service has been stopped, simply select Start. You should also make sure that you select Automatic from the “Startup type” dropdown menu.

When that’s done, click Apply > OK.

2. Uninstall and Reinstall Your Network Device

Outdated or incorrect drivers can sometimes cause the “Windows can’t communicate with the device or resource” error. In this case, it’s best to wipe the slate clean and uninstall your network device.

To access your network devices, hit Windows + X to open the Quick Link menu. Select Device Manager from the list, and click on Network adapters.

Uninstall Network Device

Select your network device, and click Uninstall device. When that’s done, right-click Network adapters and then hit Scan for hardware changes.

Scan for Hardware Changes

Windows should automatically detect your “new” network device. It will then proceed to install the default drivers that come with the device. Now you can reboot your computer and check your connection.

3. Manually Update Your Network Drivers

Although network drivers are usually updated automatically on Windows 10, it doesn’t hurt to try manually updating your network drivers anyway. To do this, press Windows + X > Device Manager > Network adapters.

Network Adapter Driver Search

Find your network device in the dropdown menu, right-click it, and hit Update driver.

Windows will now give you two ways to find new drivers. Select the option that reads Search automatically for updated driver software.

From here, Windows will search your computer and the internet for any updates. If there are new drivers, be sure to install them.

4. Clear Your DNS Cache

A corrupted DNS cache can also cause error messages. To fix this, you’ll have to flush out your DNS cache.

Clear DNS Cache Command Prompt

To get started, type “Command Prompt” into your Windows 10 search bar. Right-click Command Prompt from the search results, and select Run as administrator.

Flush DNS Command Prompt

Once the program appears, type in the following lines of code, one after another:

ipconfig /flushdns
ipconfig /registerdns
ipconfig /release
ipconfig /renew

Not only does this clear your DNS cache, but it also makes your computer reset any corrupt configurations that could be causing the error message. After that, hit Enter, and you can close the Command Prompt.

5. Configure Your Adapter Settings

If the above fixes still didn’t work, your network adapter’s settings may be interfering with your connection. To start configuring your settings, head to the Control Panel, and select View network status and tasks underneath the Network and Internet heading.

After that, choose Change adapter settings from the menu on the left side of the screen.

Change Adapter Settings Control Panel

Right-click on your connection, and select Properties.

Network Internet Settings Control Panel

Ensure that the box next to Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) is checked off. From here, double-click on the IPv4 option.

Network Settings IPv4

Fill in the bubbles next to Obtain an IP address automatically and Obtain DNS Server address automatically. When you’re done, hit OK.

Network Settings DNS Address

To make this fix more effective, you can also repeat the same steps with the item that reads Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6).

6. Switch to a Public DNS

If you’re still unable to connect to the internet, you may have a problem with your DNS. Switching to a public DNS, such as Google’s DNS, can help solve this issue. In fact, you might even find that switching to a different DNS can help you increase your internet speed.

To get started, you’ll have to access your network settings using the same method outlined in the previous step. Simply open the Control Panel, navigate to View networks status and tasks > Change adapter settings. Right-click on your connection, and choose Properties.

Google Public DNS

Double-click on Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) once again. This time, you’ll want to fill in the bubble next to Use the following DNS server addresses.

Now, type in the address for Google’s DNS. In the fields below, type these numbers:

  • Preferred DNS server: 8.8.8.8
  • Alternative DNS server: 8.8.4.4

After pressing OK, restart your computer to see if your internet connection returns.

Resolving Windows 10 Errors and Getting Back Online

Fixing Windows 10 errors isn’t always the most pleasant task. It’s especially annoying when you urgently need to use the internet, and your computer suddenly starts malfunctioning. That said, these workarounds should make the problem-solving process a lot less stressful.

Having a communication issue between your PC and your primary DNS server isn’t a super difficult fix. Once you’ve finally resolved this issue, it’s important to be prepared to encounter even more troublesome issues in the future, such as the notorious Windows blue screen error.


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