Wi-fi doesn’t work on a laptop with Win10: what happened?

February 6, 2018 |

greater than 7 minutes

Solve every problem easily!

If you recently upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 8.1, 8 or 7, Wi-Fi failing to work properly is a common problem. Regardless, there are also users who have been running Windows 10 for quite some time now and still experience these issues. You all have come to the right place: this guide is comprehensive or complete enough to address almost every issue or problem.

First, you need to identify and understand what exactly the source of your problem is. There are several probable reasons why your WI-FI is not showing up or connecting to the internet. It could be due to your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or issues with your modem/router. If you are sure there are no hardware problems involved (like your router not working properly), then you can narrow it down to being a software issue. Follow these simple steps first:

  1. Ensure airplane mode is turned off
  2. Make sure the physical button for WI-FI on your notebook is turned on.
  3. Ensure your WI-FI is turned on. To do this, click on the Start button, go to Settings, select Network and Internet, locate WI-FI and toggle/switch it on.

Now, verify if the WI-FI icon has appeared at the far right section of the taskbar. If yes, you can click on the icon and choose from the available WI-FI networks.
If there is no WI-FI icon, then it is possible your system is trying to connect to the internet through other means (Ethernet), or there is a problem with the WI-FI adapter.

Using the Network troubleshooter:

This is a built-in program in Windows specifically designed to detect or diagnose network problems and repair or fix them.

  • To run this application, click on the Start button and search for Network troubleshooter.
  • Select Identify and repair network problems from the list of presented results.
  • Follow the instructions from the network troubleshooter and verify if your problem is solved.

Turning on WI-FI adapter:

If your WI-FI adapter is switched off, do this to switch it back on:

  • Click on the start menu, and open Settings.
  • Select Network and Internet, and click on WI-FI located on the left plane.
  • Scroll down, select Change adapter options, right-click on the WI-FI adapter, and select Enable.

If this does not work, then your network adapter issues may be connected to problems with drivers.

Problems with a specific WI-FI network:

If you are having issues with a specific WI-FI network but not with others, it might be due to the incompatible wireless mode settings. WI-FI manufacturers often make different advanced settings available that change depending on the network environment or connection preferences.

You will need to note the Wireless mode setting for your network adapter and ensure it corresponds to the capabilities of the network you are trying to connect to your system. The network might even be absent in the list of available networks if the capabilities do not match, and you will be unable to connect.

By default, the wireless mode is usually set to Auto or its equivalent using other words. This is to allow connection for almost every type of network that is supported.

  • To detect the wireless mode setting, click on the start button and search for Device manager.
  • Launch the app and select Network Adapters. Double-click on the network adapter name.
  • Click on the Advanced tab and locate Wireless Mode setting. Now verify that it is set to the mode that your network is using.

Issues with already known Network:

If you are having issues connecting to a network you used to connect to before, then it is likely the network settings were modified or the network profile was corrupted.

Windows uses the WI-FI profile to store settings or details required to connect to a specific network. These settings often include the network key, security type, and its name among others.
It is why you do not have to enter the password again for a specific network if you previously connected your PC to that network. Now imagine the password for that WI-FI was changed but your computer, regardless of this, continues trying to connect to that network with outdated or already incorrect details. The result is always connection failure.

You can fix this problem by simply asking your PC to forget the network. Forgetting a network involves your PC deleting the saved WI-FI profile.

  • To do this, click on the WI-FI icon usually located on the right side of the taskbar, then select Network and Internet settings.
  • Click on WI-FI, then select Manage known networks.
  • Locate the network you want to forget, click on it and select forget.

If you still want to connect to that network having obtained the correct information, click on connect and enter the required details.

Updating WI-FI drivers:

This fix is most likely what is required if your problems started as soon you updated your system to Windows 10. Your current drivers might not have been designed to work seamlessly with Windows 10. Updating your drivers to a compatible version for Windows 10 might be the solution.

Updating your drivers manually is not exactly a straightforward process given the steps involved. You could always use Auslogics BoostSpeed. This program would update all your drivers in a single click sparing you a lot of unforeseen problems or complications.

    Regardless, if you prefer digging in and getting everything done yourself, here is how to go about it:

  • Click on the Windows key + R to launch the Run program.
  • Write devmgmt.msc in the textbox provided and press enter.
  • Now Device Manager has opened, navigate to Network adapters and expand that section. You should find the WLAN drivers here. You should locate your WI-FI network card here but if for some reason you cannot find it, check for it in the Others section with a yellow triangle.
  • Right-click on the device and choose Update drivers software. Select Search automatically for updated driver software and your system should perform an internal search for driver software.

If your computer finds any driver software, it should be allowed to install them. After installing the updated drivers, you should restart your system and see if your connections problems have been resolved.

If Windows failed to find a new or updated driver for your PC through the automatic search, you will have to install the required driver manually. This usually involves you visiting your PC’s manufacturer site and downloading the latest driver from there. Several drivers are usually available on such sites though, so you need to know your system’s model name or number.

Since your PC is not connected to the internet, you will have to download the driver on a different device. Save the downloaded driver on a flash drive, and insert that flash drive into your PC to install the driver.

Manually installing the downloaded driver:

If the driver file you downloaded is in an executable format (.exe), you can simply double-click on that file to run it and install the driver.

If the driver file is in a different format from the above and contains individual files, do this:

  • Click on the Start button and search for Device manager. Click on the returned result to launch this app.
  • After Device manager opens, select Network Adapters. Now click on the network adapter name. If you cannot locate it here, check for it in Other devices.
  • Now right click the network adapter, click on Update driver, and select Browse my computer for driver software.
  • Select Browse, locate where the driver files you downloaded earlier are stored, then click OK.
  • Select Next, and follow the instructions displayed to install the driver. Click on close.

After the installation is completed, you will need to restart your system for it to take effect.

Returning the previous driver:

Do this if you were connected to the internet before and your problems only appeared when you downloaded and installed a new driver. Rolling back your previous driver is a simple process:

  • Click on the Start button, and search for Device Manager in the taskbar. Click on the required program from the list of results to open it.
  • After the program has opened, select Network Adapter, then click on the network adapter name. Right-click on the network adapter, and click on properties.
  • In properties, click on the Driver tab, and select roll back driver. Follow the displayed instructions to complete this process.
  • Restart your system and verify if your problem has been solved.

Note: If the roll back driver option is absent in the properties tab, then it means the current driver is the oldest driver and there is no driver to roll back to.

Uninstalling the previous driver:

If you had no issues connecting to the internet until a recent update, then this approach might just be for you. It works by having you to uninstall your network adapter driver, and then you are required to restart your system.

Windows, in theory, should search and install the required network adapter driver. Regardless, it is necessary you make a backup of the drivers involved before you perform this action.

  • To do this, click on the Start button, search for Device manager on the taskbar, and select the required application from the list of results.
  • In device manager, click on Network adapters, then select the network adapter name.
  • Right-click on the network adapter, then choose Uninstall device, select Delete the driver software for this device, check the box and click on Uninstall.
  • Wait for windows to uninstall the driver, then restart your PC.

After your PC restarts, Windows automatically searches for and installs network adapter driver. Verify if this action solves your connection problems. If Windows fails to automatically find and install the required driver, you will need to reinstall that back up you made at the beginning of this process.

Resetting the entire network:

This fix is located at the button of this list for good reason. It is one of the things to try only after all other options have failed you. It fixes connection problems that came up because you upgraded to Windows 10 from an older version of Windows and due other unknown reasons.

It works by removing any network adapters you installed and their corresponding settings. After your PC restarts, Windows automatically reinstalls the required network adapters and applies the default settings for the adapters.

To perform this action:

  • Click on the Start button, click on Settings, select Network and Internet.
  • Click on Status, select Network reset, click on Reset now, and select Yes to confirm.

Wait for your PC to restart and check if this action solved your connection issues.

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