9 Easy Ways to Fix Windows Can’t Communicate With the Device or Resource

Work from home is the new reality for many, issues with the internet connection is the last thing anyone wants to imagine. However, connection issues on Windows 10 machines can occur due to many reasons. Similar is the case with Windows can’t find communication with the device or resource error.

If you see this error popping on your screen right now, you may have already tried a few things to troubleshoot the issue. Unfortunately, the error can occur due to several reasons, including incorrect network configuration, and it can be hard to determine the exact cause. 

This is a definitive guide explaining and troubleshooting this error for you step by step. Here’s are the things that we have covered in this article:

  • What is the 'Windows can't communicate with the device or resource' error?
  • What causes this, and the types of Windows can’t communicate error?
  • How to fix Windows can't communicate with the device or resource error?
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The error “Windows can’t communicate with the device or resource in Windows 10″ occurs when your system detects an issue with the Primary DNS server set by your ISP.

The system may run a network diagnostic to troubleshoot the connectivity issues resulting in the error above. 

This error can be triggered due to several reasons, including incorrect IPv4 or IPv6 configuration, issues with the proxy server, and the DNS server address. Similar complaints can be seen on Reddit tech support and the official Microsoft forum as well.

As mentioned earlier, this error can occur due to several reasons, and the error message can vary depending on the situation. Here are some of the related error messages that you may see:

  • Windows 7 Professional can’t communicate with the device or resource (Primary DNS server)
    Several Windows 7 users have reported this error on their older systems running the OS’s professional version.
  • Windows can’t communicate with the device or resource file sharing
    Windows 10 allows file sharing over the network. However, this error is reportedly preventing the users from sharing files over the network.
  • Windows can’t communicate with the device or resource Windows 10 printer
    Wireless and network printing allow printing over the network. However, many users reported they are unable printer over the network due to this error.
  • Windows can’t communicate with the device or resource powerline adapter
    If you use Powerline to setup network, this error may cause issue when using Powerline adapters.
  • Windows can’t communicate with the device or resource Comcast
    You may also face this error with your Comcast network and devices when accessing media content.
  • Windows can’t communicate with the device or resource router and network driver
    At times, the error may only affect a specific router or network device. Try updating your router firmware and network driver to resolve the error.
  • Windows can’t communicate with the device or resource security or firewall
    Sometime, incorrect network configuration of your firewall and security software can result in this error. Disable the security software or reconfigure to fix the error.

In this article, we take a look at a few troubleshooting steps to help you resolve the ‘Windows can’t communicate with the device or resource’ error in Windows 10.

This error is different from the network is not plugged in error, refer to the linked guide instead for detailed troubleshooting tips.

'Windows can't communicate with the device or resource error
Copyright © Techie Trickle

How do I fix the ‘Windows can’t communicate with the device or resource (Primary DNS server) ‘ Windows 10 error?

1. Configure IPv4 Settings

Incorrectly configured adapter settings cause the Windows can’t communicate with the device or resource (Primary DNS server) error.

While IPv4 provides an addressing capability of over 4.3 billion addresses, IPv6 is more advanced and offers more features.

Try changing and setting the IPv4 and IPv6 configuration in the Control Panel to see if that resolves the error.

  1. Press the Windows key + R. This will open the Run dialogue box.
  2. Type control and hit enter or click OK to open the Control Panel.
  3. Go to Network and Internet.
    windows can't communicate with the device or resource
  4. Open Network and Sharing Center.
  5. Click on Change adapter settings from the left pane.
    windows can't communicate with the device or resource
  6. Right-click on your network adapter and choose Properties.
  7. Scroll down and select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP).
  8. Click the Properties button.
    IPv4 Properties Techie Trickle
  9. In the Properties window, choose the following options:
    Obtain an IP address automatically 
    Obtain DNS Server address automatically 
  10. Click OK to save the changes.
    Obtain IP address automatically Techie Trickle
  11. Next, choose Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) and click Properties.
  12. Choose the same options as recommended for the IPv4 above.
  13. Click OK to save the changes, and then click OK to close all the open windows.

Once you applied the changes, try to reconnect to the network and check if the error is resolved. If not, proceed with the next set of steps below.

2. Clear DNS cache 

DNS cache saves all the information that’s relevant for name resolution. However, at times corrupt or bad cache can trigger network-related errors.

An easy fix for this is to flush the DNS cache. This will force your computer to obtain fresh DNS data. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Press the Windows key, type cmd in the search.
    Cmd run as administrator Techie Trickle
  2. Right-click on Command Prompt and choose Run as administrator.
    flush DNS Techie Trickle
  3. In the command prompt window, type the following command one by one and hit enter to execute:
    Ipconfig /flushdns
    Ipconfig /registerdns
    Ipconfig /release
    Ipconfig /renew
  4. Once executed, close the Command Prompt and restart your computer.

After the restart, connect to your network and check if the Windows can’t communicate with the device or resource Windows 10 printer error is resolved.

If not, read on…

3. Reset corrupt TCP/IP configuration 

Corrupted internet protocol configuration can result in network-related errors. TCP/IP is among the main components used by the Windows OS to establish a connection successfully. 

In this situation, the corrupted configuration can prevent packet transfer. That said, using the TCP/IP reset utility, you can set it back to its default settings.

  1. Open the Command Prompt as administrator. Simply type cmd in the search and then click on Run as administrator for Command Prompt.
    netsh winsock reset Techie Trickle
  2. In the Command Prompt, enter the following command and hit enter. There are two commands, so execute them one by one.
    Netsh winsock reset
    Netsh int ip reset
  3. Once the command is successfully executed, close the window and reboot your computer. After the reboot, check for any improvements.

4. Perform a complete network reset 

If resetting the TCP/IP did not resolve the issue, try performing a complete network reset. Windows offers a built-in feature to perform network reset.

  1. Press the Windows key + I.
  2. Go to Network and Internet.
    network and internet Windows 10 settings Techie Trickle
  3. Open the Status tab from the left pane.
    network reset Windows 10 Techie Trickle
  4. On the right pane, scroll down and click the Network Reset link.
  5. Click the Reset now button and then click Yes.

Performing a network reset will reinstall all your network adapters and set other networking components back to their original settings.

You might need to reinstall other network software such as VPN client, etc.

5. Update network driver 

Outdated and missing network drivers can also trigger the windows can’t communicate with the device or resource Windows 7 problem.

You can either update the network drivers from the official website or through the device manager.

Update via the vendor’s website 

If you are using a laptop, then visit your laptop OEM’s official website and open the download center.

Choose your laptop model and enter other details required.

From the download center, check if you have any updates pending for the network devices, such as your ethernet or WiFi devices. Download all the pending updates and install them.

Alternatively, you can also use utilities like HP support assistant and Lenovo Vantage to install pending driver updates.

However, these are proprietary software, and if you don’t have one already installed, a quick search on the internet should help.

Update driver via Device Manager 

  1. Press the Windows key + R to open Run.
  2. Type devmgmt.msc and click OK to open Device Manager.
    windows can't communicate with the device or resource
  3. In the Device Manager, expand the Network adapters section.
  4. Right-click on your affected network device and choose Update Driver.
    search automatically for update driver software Techie Trickle
  5. Choose ‘Search automatically for updated driver software’ option.
  6. Windows will look for any pending updates and proceed to install them. This requires an active internet connection.

If you don’t have an active internet connection to download the drivers, right-click on the network device in the Device Manager and choose Properties.

Open the Driver tab and note down the driver version.

Check driver version network Techie Trickle

Borrow a friend’s internet-enabled computer and open your laptop or network device manufacturer website and check if an updated version of the driver is available. Download and move the driver installer to your computer and then proceed with the installation.

Check for Windows updates 

Microsoft allows the hardware vendors to push driver updates through Windows updates. These updates usually bring fixes for glitches and performance improvements.

  1. Press the Windows + I key your keyboard. 
    update and security Windows 10 Techie Trickle
  2. Go to Update & Security.
    Check for updates Windows 10 Techie Trickle
  3. Look for pending Windows updates. Download and install all the pending updates available for your network device.

6. Edit hosts file 

The host file in Windows 10 is a plain text file that maps servers and hostnames to IP addresses. It can be configured to block IP addresses from communicating outside the network. 

Strangely enough, modifying the host file seems to have resolved the windows can’t communicate with the device or resource wired connection error. 

  1. Open File Explorer and navigate to the following location:
    C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc
  2. Right-click on the Hosts file and choose copy. Next, paste the file in a different folder outside the C:\ directory as a backup.
    open Hosts file notepad Techie Trickle
  3. Right-click on the hosts file again and choose Open with > Notepad.
  4. When the hosts text file opens, press Ctrl + A to select all the text inside the file.
    Hosts file clear Techie Trickle
  5. Press the backspace key to clear the text.
  6. Press Ctrl + S to save the changes and close the hosts file.
  7. Close File Explorer windows and then try reconnecting to your network and check for any improvements.

7. Use Public DNS 

Instead of using the auto-generated DNS address, try using a public DNS. Public DNS servers such as Google DNS are fast and fully support most security protocols such as DNSSEC to protect user data.

  1. Press the Windows key, type control.
  2. Click on the Control Panel from the list of options.
    Change adapter settings 1 Techie Trickle
  3. In the Control Panel, go to Network and Internet and then choose Network and Sharing Center.
  4. From the left pane, click on Change adapter settings.
  5. In the new window, right-click on your network adapter and choose Properties.
    WiFi Properties Techie Trickle
  6. Double-click on Internet Protocol Version 4(TCP/IPv4) to open the properties.
    windows can't communicate with the device or resource
  7. Select Use the following DNS server addresses option and enter the following:
    Preferred DNS Server - 8.8.8.8
    Alternate DNS server: 8.8.4.4
  8. Check the ‘Validate settings upon exit’ box.
  9. Click OK to save the changes and close all the open windows by clicking OK.

Once the changes are applied, reconnect to your network and check if you are able to use the internet without any error.

8. Scan for malware and virus infection 

Malicious software can control how your internet works. Check if your computer is affected by a malware infection by performing a complete scan of your PC.

A full scan usually takes longer than a routine scan but is an effective way to find hidden viruses.

  1. Press the Windows key + I.
  2. Go to Update & Security.
    update and security Windows 10 1 Techie Trickle
  3. Click on Windows Security from the left pane.
    windows can't communicate with the device or resource
  4. Next, open Virus and Threat Protection.
  5. Click on Run a new advanced scan.
  6. Choose the Full Scan option and then click Scan Now.

The scanning process may take some time to complete. Once completed, reboot the computer and check for any improvements.  

9. Perform a power cycle for your router 

reset router Techie Trickle

If the error persists, check your router for configuration problems. If you have made any changes to your router, try to revert the changes and see if that helps. If not, try performing a power cycle.

Note: After you have reset the router, you would have lost all the saved network configurations. So, you will have to reconfigure your router for it to work again.

  1. Make sure the router is powered on.
  2. At the back of the router, look for the reset button. You may notice the reset button doesn’t have a visible button that you can press.
  3. To reset the router, use a pin and press inwards the hole where it says Reset.
  4. Release the button once you see the lights blinking or after 10 seconds.
  5. Connect the router again to your network and check if the error is resolved.

Let’s fix it!

The Windows can’t communicate with the device or resource (Primary DNS server) error usually occurs due to incorrect network adapter configuration.

If changing the internet protocol settings does not help, try resetting the network from the settings. Also, check for malware infection and driver glitches to resolve the error. 

Tried all the steps? Do let us know what fix helped you resolve the error in the comments.

You can also leave other tips that we may have missed but worked for you to help other users. 

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