What Does It Mean When Windows Can’t Communicate With the Device or Resource Primary DNS Server?


Larry Thompson

Have you ever encountered the frustrating error message “Windows can’t communicate with the device or resource primary DNS server”? This error can occur when your computer is unable to establish a connection with the primary DNS (Domain Name System) server.

It’s a common issue that can disrupt your internet connectivity and prevent you from accessing websites or online services. In this article, we will explore what this error means, its possible causes, and how you can troubleshoot it.

Understanding the Primary DNS Server

DNS stands for Domain Name System. It is responsible for translating human-readable domain names (like www.example.com) into IP addresses (e.g., When you enter a website address in your browser, your computer sends a request to the DNS server to resolve the domain name into the corresponding IP address.

The primary DNS server is typically provided by your internet service provider (ISP) or network administrator. It stores a database of domain names and their associated IP addresses.

Possible Causes of the Error

There are several reasons why you might encounter the “Windows can’t communicate with the device or resource primary DNS server” error:

  • DNS Server Issues: The primary DNS server might be experiencing technical problems or undergoing maintenance, preventing your computer from establishing a connection.
  • Network Configuration Problems: Incorrect network settings on your computer, such as an incorrect IP address or gateway configuration, can lead to communication issues with the primary DNS server.
  • Faulty Network Hardware: A malfunctioning router, modem, or network adapter can disrupt communication with the primary DNS server.

Troubleshooting Steps

Now that we have identified some possible causes, let’s explore troubleshooting steps to resolve the “Windows can’t communicate with the device or resource primary DNS server” error:

Step 1: Restart Your Router and Modem

Begin by power cycling your network devices. Turn off your router and modem, wait for a few minutes, and then turn them back on. This simple step can often resolve temporary connectivity issues.

Step 2: Check DNS Server Status

If restarting your network devices doesn’t solve the problem, check the status of the primary DNS server. You can do this by contacting your ISP or network administrator for assistance. They can inform you if there are any known issues with their DNS server.

Step 3: Verify Network Settings

Ensure that your computer’s network settings are correctly configured. To do this:

  1. Open the Control Panel on your Windows computer.
  2. Select “Network and Internet” and then click on “Network and Sharing Center”.
  3. Click on “Change adapter settings” in the left sidebar.
  4. Right-click on your active network connection (Ethernet or Wi-Fi) and choose “Properties”.
  5. Select “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” and click on “Properties”.
  6. Ensure that both the IP address and DNS server addresses are set to obtain automatically (or manually configured if provided by your ISP).
  7. Click “OK” to save the changes.

Step 4: Update Network Drivers

If outdated or incompatible network drivers are causing the issue, updating them can help. Visit the website of your network adapter manufacturer or your computer’s manufacturer to download and install the latest drivers for your network hardware.

Step 5: Use Alternative DNS Servers

If all else fails, you can try using alternative DNS servers such as Google DNS (8.8.8 and 8.4.4) or OpenDNS ( and 208.220.220). To change your DNS server settings:

  1. Follow steps 1-4 from “Step 3: Verify Network Settings”.
  2. In the “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) Properties” window, select “Use the following DNS server addresses”.
  3. Enter the preferred and alternate DNS server addresses.


The “Windows can’t communicate with the device or resource primary DNS server” error can be a frustrating experience, but by following these troubleshooting steps, you should be able to resolve it in most cases. Remember to restart your router and modem, check the status of your primary DNS server, verify your network settings, update network drivers if necessary, and consider using alternative DNS servers as a last resort.

By taking these steps, you can regain internet connectivity and ensure a smooth browsing experience without any interruptions caused by DNS communication problems.

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