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All about “Please check your network connection and try again” errors

Many of us have seen the error message “Please check your network connection and try again” when the Internet is definitely available. What does this Office or OneDrive error message really mean and what can you do to fix it?

This error message appears in Microsoft Office help and other places like OneDrive.

“Sorry, something went wrong. Please check your network connection and try again”

It’s a frustrating message because there’s no real information about the problem (“something went wrong” tells us nothing) and misleading because often there’s nothing wrong with the Internet connection!

There’s not much help online. In the forums, the usual Microsoft fanboys only suggest there must be something wrong with the Internet connection and leave the customer hanging.

What’s going on?

Most likely the message is misleading, the important part is the first sentence:

“Something went wrong”

Meaning there’s an unexpected or undefined error.

The second sentence perhaps should not be there at all. For some reason, Microsoft has added the part about ‘network connection’ regardless of whether the Internet is down or not.

The error is possibly the connection at the Microsoft server end.  The error message serves to deflect blame away from Microsoft to the user.

What can you do?

Obviously, check your Internet connection is working. Check the network icon on the Windows taskbar or open/refresh a browser page. If you’re using a VPN, try disconnecting it to see if that helps.

Maybe closing the program/app and restarting might help. So might restarting the whole computer.

Aside from that here’s a few other suggestions:

  • Stand on one leg and hop around for 30 seconds.
  • Open the window, lean out and do a Howard Beale.
  • Offer a sacrifice to the pagan god of your choice.
  • Throw rotten vegetables at a picture of the Microsoft campus.
  • Run about, scream and shout.

Truly, there’s little else you can do. Absent a proper and accurate error message or even a clue, all you can do is wait and hope the error disappears as mysteriously as it arrived.

What should Microsoft do?

Presumably Microsoft has telemetry for each time this error appears, so they know it’s happening. But apparently there’s no interest in doing anything about it.

At the very least, a better error message should appear.  Even just adding some identifying code that customers can lookup for some clue to the problem.  That’s something some Microsoft teams do but others seem to prefer useless or misleading messages to paying customers.

Even better, and I know this is a foolish request, FIX THE DAMN BUG.

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