trouble connecting to Internet
Dell Inspiron desktop running Win7, Windows defender, and MSE
My husband and I have Dell desktops and a broadband connection with Cox, using a router. He is always able to access the Internet, but for the past couple of months, every time I shut down and restart my computer, I have a terrible time connecting to the Internet again, getting a message that there is no connection and I need to plug in an Ethernet cable.
So far, jiggling the plug where the cable enters my computer has eventually done the trick, and as much as possible, I have been leaving the computer on day and night to avoid a repeat of the problem, but today, I can't get connected, no matter what I do. I am using my husband's computer to post this.
This is what I have done so far:
(1) Changed to a brand-new cable (It is a meter or so longer than the old one because I was afraid that the latter, with its cord being bent to reach the computer, might have been the cause of the problem. I see now that it wasn't, of course.
(2) Tried using my husband's Ethernet cable instead of my own, and I still couldn't connect.
(3) Changed the place where I plug my E. cable into the router; it still doesn't work, even if plugged into the place that works for my husband's E. cable.
"Work offline" is not checked, and there have been no changes in my firewall (Windows defender) and antivirus (Microsoft Security Essentials). Besides that, the fact that jiggling the cable usually got results within a few hours seems to suggest that these programs or applications are not at fault.
This makes me think that the problem lies somewhere inside my computer--like the little box with two USB ports and the Ethernet cable port in it. The two USB ports are still working just fine. I looked inside the computer and saw that these three ports are contained in one small metal cube, which appears to be held to the motherboard with a weak metal piece that sticks out to hold down the top of it.
Can I replace it with another component--assuming that that is probably where the problem lies? If so, how do I detach it from the motherboard, on which it appears to be firmly seated? I am afraid to try to detach it, especially by sliding it out, for fear of harming the MB.
While I am not very experienced in dealing with the insides of computers, I have replaced floppy and CD/DVD drives.
Any help much appreciated. I don't even dare to install new programs that require a reboot, as this problem comes up without fail every time I either turn off and then reboot or restart.