We all take our WiFi for granted, don’t we? It is used so widely these days that we just expect it to be there whenever we need it. But sometimes you can fire up your laptop and you just don’t get a connection to your WiFi router. There can be several reasons for this as we will explain in this article.
These days many people rely on the Internet for their job or their business. Not having access to the Internet can ruin your whole day. If you experience this with your laptop there is no need to panic. It is likely to be a problem that you can easily solve. So, if you want to know how to fix a laptop that won’t connect to WiFi, you need to read on.
1. Airplane Mode
Many laptops these days have an “Airplane Mode” which is great for when you are on a plane and you cannot use the Internet. However, when a laptop is in Airplane Mode you will be unable to establish a connection with your WiFi router (or a WiFi router in a shopping mall, coffee shop or anywhere else).
Look at your system tray and see if there is an icon shaped like an airplane. If you see this then click on it and turn your Airplane Mode off. Another way to access Airplane Mode is to use the search box in your start menu and just type the words “airplane mode” and then you can check the status.
Once you are out of Airplane Mode you should be able to connect to WiFi and the Internet. If this doesn’t fix the problem then move on to the next step.
2. Do you have WiFi Turned On?
Your laptop will have some way of turning your WiFi feature on and off. This could be a specific button or even a function key. If you have a button to turn your WiFi on or off then you need to locate this. Sometimes it will be above the keyboard as a “soft button” and it may be located on the side of your machine.
Wherever this on / off switch is, check to see if it has turned off your WiFi. If there is a soft button above your keyboard, an LED usually glows when you have the WiFi switched on. A button on the side of your laptop may not have any visual indicator.
Alternatively, your laptop may use a function key to turn your WiFi connection on or off. Function keys are normally at the top of the keyboard next to the escape (esc) button. In addition, there may be a symbol on the function key which indicates that it is for WiFi.
3. Can you see the Internet Connection Icon?
You should have an Internet connection icon on your taskbar. This is usually at the far right of the taskbar. If you just see a WiFi icon instead this will probably mean that your Internet access problem is not a WiFi connection issue but a problem with your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Try restarting your WiFi router to see if the Internet connection icon appears. If it doesn’t and you suspect an ISP problem, then the only thing that you can do is to call them or send them a message. Always restart your router before contacting your ISP because they will ask you to try this first anyway.
4. Your WiFi connection works in some places and not others
Here is an example of your WiFi connection working in one place but not another. Let’s assume that you use your laptop for work and that when you get to your office and try to connect to the WiFi, it works. But when you get home, you cannot establish a WiFi connection.
In this scenario, the problem is unlikely to be with your laptop but with your WiFi router at home. First, try restarting your router to see if that fixes the problem. If it doesn’t, you can disconnect the Internet broadband cable from your router and then wait for at least a minute to plug it in again.
If you still cannot establish a WiFi connection after this, you will need to contact your ISP.
5. Connect to your Router Using a Cable
When you connect directly to your WiFi router using an Ethernet cable, you can more accurately pinpoint the problem. If a direct cable connection provides you with Internet access, you will know that it is not a problem with your ISP. This could also mean that you have a hardware problem with the wireless adaptor in your laptop.
Find the location of your Ethernet port on your laptop – this is usually on one of the sides or it may be at the rear. You will need to use an Ethernet cable and plug one end into your laptop Ethernet port and the other into a spare Ethernet port on your router.
6. Use a USB WiFi Dongle
This is another method for pinpointing the problem of your laptop not connecting to WiFi. If you don’t have an Ethernet cable then you can use a USB WiFi dongle and see if you can establish a connection with that.
If you can connect to your WiFi using a dongle, this would suggest that the wireless adapter in your laptop has an issue. On the other hand, if you cannot connect to your WiFi with the dongle, there may be a problem with your WiFi router.
7. Wireless Adapter Drivers
Almost all hardware that is used by your laptop requires a driver to make it work. In simple terms, drivers enable a piece of hardware (such as a wireless adapter) to communicate with the rest of the computer. If a driver is missing or not working properly, this could cause a lack of connection with your WiFi router.
Sometimes drivers need updating to make them work properly. If you are using a Windows laptop then a recent Windows Update may have stopped the driver for your wireless adapter working for example. We would always recommend that you use the most up-to-date drivers for all of the hardware in your laptop.
To download the latest version of a drive you should be able to do this online easily. First, make a note of your laptop’s manufacturer and model number and then use a search engine to find the appropriate website for the latest drivers. You will usually find this in the “Support” section of your laptop manufacturer’s website.
Look for drivers for your wireless adapter. When you find them, you should be able to download them to your computer. You can do this by opening Control Panel and then Device Manager.
Find your wireless adapter card in Device Manager and double-click to open the Properties box. There should be a button where you can update the drivers. Click this and browse to where you saved the latest drivers. Once you have updated the drivers, check to see if you can connect to WiFi.
There can be many reasons why you cannot connect to WiFi with your laptop. Therefore, it is best that you check the simple things first, such as whether WiFi is turned on or not. Then you can try the other methods that we have provided.