Windows 10 Creators Update – Network Issues (again)

So, it’s been a while since this update came out and I have only just had the pleasure (?) of getting it installed on my machine.  In fact this is the second time it has been installed on the machine because the first time caused some issues that forced me to revert it back to the previous version.  The good news is that everything is working fine now.

Before I allowed the update to be installed  (you can do that with the Pro version of Windows 10) I visited the the Dell support page that lists the machines that were tested and proven to work.  The computer is a 5 year old Dell XPS 8700, a pretty good machine with reasonable parts. The computer is a 5 year old Dell XPS 8500, a pretty good machine with reasonable parts, even though this was not on the list I still proceeded with the update.

So, what was the problem and how did I fix it.  The main problem was that I could not access the Internet once the upgrade was installed.  So (using an iPad) I searched the Internet for references to this machine and any issues with the update, all I found were generic guides on how to update the network drivers for the WiFi card, pretty difficult when you cannot connect to the Internet.  I tried many of the suggestions, even uninstalling the network card drivers and reinstalling them, nothing worked.

The WiFi card is built onto the motherboard and is Dell branded but is made by Qualcomm so you’d think that there should be no issues with it.  The strange thing is that the WiFi card was working correctly, I could connect to another machine on the network and browse files etc.  I tried to using ping and tracert but all I got was a General Failure message.

Luckily for me I have multiple WiFi networks, a 802.11G network (let’s call it Glasgow) that comes courtesy of the AT&T U-Verse box, an 802.11N network (let’s call it Newington) which also has an extender (called Eltham).

I was connected to Newington and nothing I tried would get me to the Internet even though it indicated that it had Internet access.  The machine saw the Glasgow network so I connected to that, and low and behold the machine lit up like a Christmas tree, hello Internet!

The next couple of hours were taken up by the machine updating Windows Store apps, more Windows updates, I also installed a fresh version of McAfee (just in case it was firewall related).  The machine rebooted, more updates and yet another reboot.

My next course of action was to try to work out what was going on with the settings for the Newington network versus the Glasgow network, I didn’t have to.  For some unknown reason the computer is now connected Newington and everything is working correctly.

So what happened between me installing the upgrade, connecting to Newington and connecting to Glasgow.  The only thing I surmise is that when the machine connected to Glasgow and a new set of Windows updates were applied they must have contained an updated to the network stack or an updated network driver that was not in the original update itself.

Note: I checked the version of the network driver and it has not changed so it must have been something in the original update itself.

I could have saved myself a lot of time by just trying to connect to all of the 3 WiFi networks, or I could have run an Ethernet cable from the modem to my machine (not easy because the machine is in the basement).  The new set of Windows updates seemed to be the key, getting them on the machine was the trick.

Now the fun starts to see what else is in the update proper, so far everything I use seems to work fine, browsers, CD rippers, iTunes.  There are new apps for mail, calendar, and contacts that all seem to be able to aggregate data from multiple sources, i.e. iCloud, Yahoo, Google, etc.  And these seem to be able to sync across Windows 10 machines that you own, more to come on that in a later post.

[Update] The machine in question is a Dell XPS-8500 not an XPS-8700 as originally stated, according to the Dell website this model was not tested and they did not update the drivers.  From their web site.

The table below lists Dell XPS desktop computers that have been tested with Windows 10 Creators Update. If your computer model is not listed, Dell is not testing the device, and drivers have not been updated for that model.

Therefore technically I should have expected problems but was surprised that a very common WiFi card had issues.



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