As the heart of the home network, the router allows you to connect to the Internet, and share files and devices such as printers. When your computer cannot recognize the router, you may not be able to do these things. In most cases it is not a hardware failure that causes the problem, but a configuration error in the software of either the router or the computer.

Checking for Simple Problems

Check the cables at the router and the computer for a proper connection. If these are fine, it is possible that the software in the router has experienced an error of some kind. Unplug the router for about 30 seconds, plug it back in and allow it another 30 seconds to completely boot. If your connection is secured wireless, go to the "Start" screen, type “network” and in the search window choose “Settings.” Select “Network and Sharing Center,” click the “Wireless Properties” button and then select the “Security” tab. Enter the network's security key again and check the connection.

Checking Security Software

If you are running anti-virus or firewall software, try temporarily reducing security levels or disabling the software completely. Certain settings in these programs may limit Internet access or block it if set incorrectly. Additionally, faulty automatic updates to these programs may cause connection failures.

Updating Network Drivers

If other computers on your network can see the router, the problem may be outdated drivers on your computer -- especially if updates have been made to the system lately. From the "Start" screen, click the “Desktop” tile. Go to the bottom-right corner and when the “Charms” menu opens, choose “Settings” followed by “Control Panel.” From “System and Security,” select “System” and then “Device Manager.” Expand “Network Adapters” and click on your adapter. In the “Action” menu, choose “Update Driver.” Use the option to scan the Internet for drivers and, if any are found, follow the prompts to install them. Repeat for any other adapters that are used.

Reinstalling Network Adapters

Go to the "Start" screen and click the “Desktop” tile. Go to the bottom right corner, and select “Settings” and then “Control Panel” from the “Charms” menu. From “System and Security,” select “System” and then “Device Manager.” Expand “Network Adapters” and select one from the list. From the “Action” menu, choose “Uninstall” and confirm when asked. Repeat the process for the remaining adapters and then reboot the computer. As the computer starts Windows, it will reinstall the network adapters and any associated software.

Resetting the TCP/IP Protocol

At the “Start” screen, type “cmd” and right-click on the resulting icon; then select select “Run as Administrator.” Type the following into the Command Prompt, pressing the “Enter” key at the end of each line:

ipconfig /release ipconfig /flushdns netsh winsock reset netsh int ip reset resetlog.txt

Reboot the computer.