Error message when you try to connect to an ad hoc connection from Windows Vista or from Windows 7: "Windows cannot connect to <Network Name>"

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Article ID: 946481 - View products that this article applies to.
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SYMPTOMS

Consider the following scenario. You use a local area network (WLAN) device on a computer that is running Windows Vista or Windows 7 ("Computer A") to establish a computer-to-computer (ad hoc) connection that has WPA2 specified. You have another Windows Vista-based or Windows 7-based computer ("Computer B") that also has a wireless adapter installed.

In this scenario, when you try to establish an ad hoc connection from Computer B, you may receive the following error message:
Windows cannot connect to Network Name
Note In this error message, Network Name is a placeholder for the name of the ad hoc connection.

Alternatively, you may not receive this error message sometimes. However, you may notice the following symptoms:
  • After Computer A is resumed, Computer A is always pending for Computer B to connect to Computer A.
  • The Ping command does not work, even though the status for both computers is “CONNECTED."

CAUSE

This problem occurs because the Windows operating system does not automatically recover when a WPA2 ad hoc network connection times out. A time-out may occur if one of the following conditions is true:
  • Windows Vista or Windows 7 detects no activity.
  • There is a busy network traffic load.
  • The network device drivers are outdated.

WORKAROUND

Note Microsoft has released Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2). This service pack includes improvements in WLAN reliability. Before you troubleshoot a WLAN issue, you should verify that Windows Vista SP1 or a later service pack is installed on the Windows Vista-based computer. For more information about how to obtain the latest Windows Vista service pack, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
935791 How to obtain the latest Windows Vista service pack

Workaround 1

To work around this problem, set up another new Ad Hoc profile.

Workaround 2

To work around this problem, reconnect the ad hoc connection on both Computer and Computer B.

RESOLUTION

To resolve this problem, improve the reliability of the Windows operating system in a WPA2 ad hoc environment. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Install the latest WLAN device drivers by using Windows Update. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. Click Start
      Collapse this imageExpand this image
      Start button
      , type Windows Update in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.
    2. Click Check for updates.
    3. After the scan is complete, click View Available Updates.
    4. Select all updates that refer to networking drivers or to wireless drivers.
    5. Click Install Updates.
  2. Visit the support Web site of the driver manufacturer to obtain the latest network device drivers.

STATUS

Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.

Properties

Article ID: 946481 - Last Review: February 24, 2010 - Revision: 8.0
APPLIES TO
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Ultimate, when used with:
    • Windows Vista Service Pack 1
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Home Basic
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Starter
  • Windows 7 Ultimate
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