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How to troubleshoot a laptop wireless network connection

In the past year or so, I have been troubleshooting more laptop computers unable to keep a stable wireless network connection. The laptops will connect to the Internet, and within a minute, they automatically disconnect. So here is how to troubleshoot a laptop wireless network connection.

Quite often, performing standard network troubleshooting can fix the issue. But there are other times that it does not. But the one thing they all have in common is all of the WiFi adapters have Bluetooth included.

The first thing I look at when a customer tells me their wireless (WiFi) network connection keeps dropping is the power settings for the adapter. The default power setting for network adapters allows Windows to turn them off to save power. To change this setting, open Device Manager and locate the Network adapters section.

How to bring up the Device Manager in Windows 11

  1. Left-click on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Start menu.
  2. In the upper right-hand corner of the Start menu, left-click on All apps.
  3. Scroll down the list of programs and left-click on Windows Tools.
  4. Left-click on Computer Management.
  5. Under Commuter Management (Local), left-click on Device Manager.


  1. Right-click on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Power User menu.
  2. From the context menu that appears, left-click on Device Manager.

How to bring up the Device Manager in Windows 10

  1. Left-click on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Start menu.
  2. Scroll down the list of apps and left-click on Windows Administrative Tools to expand the folder.
  3. Left-click on Computer Management.
  4. Under Computer Management (Local), left-click on Device Manager.


  1. Right-click on the Start button to bring up the Power User menu.
  2. From the context menu that appears, left-click on Device Manager.

Once you have Device Manager open, scroll down the list of devices until you reach Network adapters. Double left-click on the Network adapters category to expand it.

Device manager open to network adapters

Double-click on the adapter you want to change to bring up its properties.
Network adapter properties power management tab
Select the Power Management tab and make sure the Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power is unchecked.

If changing the power settings on the wireless (WiFi) network adapter does not fix the problem, the next step would be resetting it. This is a simple procedure that can drastically improve your network connection. Resetting the network adapter(s) in Windows 10 and Windows 11 is the same, but getting to the simple way of doing it is different.

How to reset your network adapter in Windows 11

How to reset your network adapter in Windows 10

If resetting your network adapter(s) does not fix the problem with your wireless (WiFi) network connection dropping, the next step would be reinstalling the wireless (WiFi) network adapter. You have to get back into the Device Manager to perform this task.

Once you have Device Manager open, scroll down the list of devices until you reach Network adapters. Double left-click on the Network adapters category to expand it.

This time find the wireless (WiFi) network adapter in the list that appears that you want to remove and reinstall. Right-click on that device and select Uninstall device from the context menu that appears. A dialog box will appear, warning you about uninstalling the device. If the uninstall dialog box has the option to Delete the driver software for the device, go ahead and select that option.

If your laptop has WiFi and Bluetooth, it is also recommended to uninstall the Bluetooth device. Follow the same procedure inside of Device Manager for Bluetooth as you did for Network adapters.

When you are all done uninstalling devices, restart your computer. Once your computer restarts, Windows will automatically reinstall the device driver(s) with the factory defaults.

Now if none of the previous steps helped your wireless (WiFi) network connection from disconnecting automatically, there is a last resort option that is guaranteed to work.
USB WiFi adapter
It is a USB WiFi adapter. I know what you are thinking. Why not just replace the existing WiFi card? You could find a replacement WiFi card and have to open up your laptop to change it out.

Or you could get a USB WiFi adapter, plug it in, and be ready to surf the Internet in seconds. When given a choice between the two (2) options, all of my customers have chosen the USB WiFi adapter with no complaints of dropped Internet connections.

How a computer technician deals with email

Even though I am a computer technician, I still have the same email problems as everybody else. But I have learned a few simple things to avoid spam, phishing, and unwanted email. So here is how I deal with email.

How a computer technician deals with email

Now I am not your average email user. Polls show that the average person has between two (2) and four (4) email addresses. I currently have twelve (12) addresses I actively manage (check daily).

I also primarily use a computer to check my email since I have so many accounts and get so much junk mail. I have only three (3) of those addresses on my phone (only the essential ones) and only read mail; I rarely respond to mail on my phone. And since I only read mail on my phone, I only use the built-in email app.

But on my desktop, that is an entirely different story. Since I was initially in the corporate work environment, I became used to using Microsoft Outlook for managing my email. Technically Outlook is a PIM (Personal Information Manager), but that is just splitting hairs.

With Outlook, I can set up filters and rules to sort incoming emails automatically. This can include filtering messages by sender, subject, or even specific keywords. Doing this lets me quickly identify and prioritize important emails.

The advantage of using an email program like Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird is that you can store a copy of your mail on your computer. I have had too many discussions with customers on how I cannot recover deleted mail when it is erased on the cloud.

Security tip: Do not use the automatic preview pane in any mail program. If a mail contains malicious code, accidentally previewing it will run it. With no preview pane, you can safely select and delete any mail without worrying about executing malicious code.

The only problem I had using an email program was that I could not prevent it from downloading junk mail in the first place. Years ago, I discovered an anti-spam program called MailWasher. It allows me, by default, to read only the text of mail and delete any mail on the server.

Over the years, I have become good at spotting junk mail. In fact, I maintain a detailed article about just that, so if you want to learn more about identifying junk mail, check out the following link.

How to spot a piece of spam email

Finally, I always make sure to follow proper email etiquette. This means using a professional tone, avoiding overly casual language or abbreviations, and being mindful of the recipient's time and schedule when sending messages. And use spell check and avoid using ALL CAPS when possible.

Create great graphics with Paint.NET 5

Are you looking for an image editing program with more features than any built-in Windows apps? Something between Microsoft Paint and Adobe Photoshop? If so, you should take a look at Paint.NET.

Create great graphics with Paint.NET 5

Having a program that can create professional-looking graphics is essential, and not having to pay an excessive amount for one is critical. You get the best of both worlds with Paint.NET 5. And depending on the version, Paint.NET can be free (more on this later).

Paint.NET is a versatile and user-friendly image editing program that can help beginners and professionals alike create stunning graphics. Some of the types of graphics you can make include logos, social media graphics, website banners, and more.

Now Paint.NET was initially meant to be a replacement for Microsoft Paint that is included with Windows, but it developed into a completely separate project. Paint.NET has a simple, easy-to-use interface that has an easy learning curve.

Paint.NET features rival Adobe Photoshop's features, including support for layers, history, plugins, and multiple file formats. Like Photoshop, Paint.NET has included special effects like blurring, shaping, distortion, noise, and red-eye removal.

I have written about Paint.NET before, and it keeps improving. With this version, there are some really great new features. They include:

  • Support for Windows Ink, including pressure sensitivity for brush tools
  • A graphics section for configuring GPU and hardware acceleration settings
  • A completely brand new plugin system that supports both CPU and GPU effect
  • Multiple new and revised Effects and various changes to the user interface

Now the system requirements have changed. Paint.NET 5 is currently only 64-bit and will only run on Windows 10, Windows 11, Windows Server 2019, and Windows Server 2022. And there are two (2) different options for downloading Paint.NET.

The first option for downloading Paint.NET is free from the developer's website or the Microsoft Store for a fee. The only difference I have found is that the paid version gets updated automatically, but you must manually update the free version. For more information on Paint.NET and to download the free version, follow the links below.

Paint.NET 5

Download Paint.NET 5 (free version)

Create custom Windows installation media with Rufus

Do you want to install Windows 11 but want to avoid using a Microsoft account to sign in? Or maybe you want to install Windows without BitLocker drive encryption. You can do both and more when you use Rufus to create custom Windows installation media.

Create custom Windows installation media with Rufus

There may be a time when you want to customize the installation options for Windows. Whether installing Windows with only a local user account or bypassing the Windows 11 hardware requirements, you might need to create a custom installation media for Windows at some point.

As a computer technician, I have had some experience building Windows images (including drivers and apps) for corporate distribution, and it is a reasonably complex process. It is not something the average computer user would want to do.

Now there are a lot of articles out there that tell you how to modify the registry during the installation of Windows. For an experienced Windows user, these registry tweaks can be tricky to implement.

But what if you could take all of those registry tweaks and incorporate them into an installation media and then use that to install Windows? You can do just that with Rufus. Rufus is a stand-alone program for creating bootable USB drives from ISO (International Organization for Standardization) files.

Rufus works exceptionally well for creating bootable USB drives from Windows and Linux ISO files, as well as for making a bootable UBCD (Ultimate Boot CD) USB drive for diagnostics. The list of options for each operating system varies, so here are the customizations you can make to the current version(s) of Windows installation media.

Windows 10

  • Create a local account with username
  • Set regional options to the same values as this user's
  • Disable data collection (Skip privacy questions)
  • Disable BitLocker device encryption

Windows 11 (includes all of the above plus)

  • Remove requirement for 4GB + RAM, Secure Boot and TPM 2.0
  • Remove requirement for an online Microsoft account

To create a bootable USB drive with Rufus, you will need an 8GB or larger USB drive, a Windows 10 or Windows 11 ISO file, and of course, Rufus. Remember that no matter what installation option you choose for Windows, you will need a legitimate product key to activate it.

  1. Download Rufus.
  2. Download and run the Windows Media Creation Tool for your version of Windows.
    Windows 11 / Windows 10
    The Windows Media Creation tool is a stand-alone program and does not require installation. Just start it up. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation. Accept the license terms, select the language, select ISO file as the media to use, and then select where to save the ISO file. Let the file download, and then proceed to the next step.
  3. Insert a USB drive (8TB or larger).
  4. Open Rufus. Since it is a stand-alone program, it does not require installation, just start it up. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

On the main screen you will find three (3) sections; Drive Properties, Format options, and Status.
The main screen in Rufus
Under Drive properties, make sure the USB drive you want to use is selected in the Device pull-down menu.

Right below the Device pull-down menu, you will find the Boot selection. Left-click the Select button, navigate to the ISO file you downloaded and select it. Rufus will recognize the ISO file and load default settings based on the operating system.

Usually, the default settings work perfectly, so there is no need to change them. Just go down to the Status section and left-click on Start. The Windows User Experience dialog box appears with the customizations that are available for the version of Windows you are working with.
Windows User Experience dialog box inside Rufus
Select all of the options you want to include in your custom installation media and then left-click on OK. At this point you should be ready to go.

How to repair the Start menu inside of Windows 11

The Start menu has been an essential component of Windows since Windows 95, helping users navigate the various programs and features. But what do you do when it does not work? Here is how to repair the Windows 11 Start menu.

How to repair the Start menu inside of Windows 11

You only realize how much you depend on the Start menu once it does not work correctly. And trying to fix it without being able to access any of the apps on it is hard. But there are ways to get to the tools required to fix the Start menu.

In this article, I want to show you some of the different things you can do to fix a broken Start menu in Windows 11. Most of the apps required for the following procedures can be found in the Control Panel under Windows Tools.

Since the Start menu is not functioning correctly, you must use an alternative way of getting to the Control Panel. Here is the easiest and fastest way to get there.

  1. Open a Run dialog box by pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + R (click here for more ways to open a Run dialog box).
  2. Type in Control and then left-click on OK.
  3. If viewing the Control Panel by Category, left-click on System and Security, then left-click on Windows Tools. If viewing by Large/Small Icons, left-click on Windows Tools.

Now that you have access to the Windows Tools, let's start with the solution that works most of the time, the PowerShell script.

Use PowerShell to repair the Windows 11 Start menu

1. In the Windows Tools folder, right-click on the Windows PowerShell shortcut and select Run as Administrator from the context menu that appears.

2. Copy and paste the following script into the Powershell prompt and press Enter.

Get-AppxPackage -AllUsers Microsoft.Windows.ShellExperienceHost | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}

If you get an error message stating the action could not be performed because the ShellExperienceHost is running, copy and paste the following script and press Enter to end the ShellExperienceHost task.

taskkill /ID ShellExperienceHost.exe /F

Then rerun the first script.

3. You must restart your computer for the changes to take effect. Since the PowerShell is open, copy and paste the following into the Powershell and press Enter to restart your computer immediately.

shutdown.exe -r -f -t 00

Check your drive for errors

If the Start menu is still not working correctly after running the PowerShell script, it may be time to check your drive for errors. There are several ways to run a disk check, but the easiest way is through File Explorer.

  1. Press the Windows logo key Windows logo + E keys simultaneously to bring up File Explorer.
  2. In the left-side column, left-click on This PC.
  3. In the right-side column, right-click on the drive you want to check and select Properties.
  4. Left-click on the Tools tab.
  5. Under Error checking, left-click on Check.
  6. Left-click on Scan drive.

For all of the different ways to run a disk check, check out 'How to check your drive for errors in Windows 11'.

Check for corrupt system files

If the Start menu is still not working, you might want to check for corrupt system files. To run the System File Checker (SFC), you must use either a Command Prompt or PowerShell with administrative privileges. Open the Windows Tools folder, right-click on the Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell shortcut, select Run as Administrator from the context menu, Copy and paste the following into it, and then press Enter.


If the scan finds corrupt files and fixes them, restart your computer. If it finds errors but cannot fix them, check out our article 'How to check and repair system files in Windows 11' for more in-depth ways to repair system files.

Repair Windows 11 with an in-place upgrade

If all else fails to fix the Start menu, performing an in-place upgrade might be the thing to do. I have seen in-place upgrades fix some of the most annoying problems with Windows. Check out our article 'How to perform a repair upgrade of Windows 11'.

Reset Windows 11

This would be the last resort to getting the Start menu running correctly again. The following article, 'How to reset Windows 11', will guide you through the steps you must take to reset Windows 11.

Free computer diagnostics

Repairing a PC can sometimes be expensive, and that is why we offer free basic in-shop diagnostics. Give one of our professional and experienced technicians a call at (602) 795-1111, and let's see what we can do for you.

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Geeks In Phoenix LLC, BBB Business Review

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Here at Geeks in Phoenix, we take pride in providing excellent customer service. We aim to give the highest quality of service  from computer repair, virus removal, and data recovery.

Bring your computer to us and save

Repairing a computer can be time-consuming. That is why we base our in-shop service on the time we work on your computer, not the time it takes for your computer to work! From running memory checking software to scanning for viruses, these are processes that can take some time.

Contact us

If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call at (602) 795-1111  and talk with one of our Geeks. Or you can send us a message from our contact page contact page , and one of our Geeks will get back to you as soon as possible. Or you can stop by and see us. Here are our hours and location.

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