- Having a laptop that won’t connect to Wi-Fi is one of the top five most aggravating tech problems.
- Diagnosing whether the problem lies with the laptop or the router can save time.
- Simple fixes like disabling Airplane Mode, performing a network reset, and restarting the computer or router can often solve the issue.
- Running the network troubleshooter, updating network drivers, and uninstalling recent updates are additional steps to try.
- If all else fails, using Ethernet, contacting the laptop manufacturer, or considering a repair shop may be necessary.
Of all the tech problems we run into, having a laptop that won’t connect to Wi-Fi is one of the top five most aggravating tech problems.
These days, connecting to Wi-Fi is a laptop’s entire job, and when it fails to do that, it’s such an unnecessary inconvenience (just like a printer that won’t print or a phone that won’t make calls).
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to diagnose and fix a laptop that won’t connect to Wi-Fi. First, we’ll help you figure out if your connection problem is coming from the router (or your ISP), or if the problem lies with the laptop itself. Then, we’ll walk you through several easy fixes to get you back online.
How to Diagnose a Laptop that Won’t Connect to Wi-Fi
First, let’s walk through a few things to diagnose the problem. While your goal here is to fix your laptop and get it to connect to Wi-Fi, understanding where the problem is can save you some valuable time later.
We need to understand if the problem is your laptop or your router. The following steps will help you diagnose it.
Step 1: Try Connecting Your Laptop to Another Source of Wi-Fi
If you have another Wi-Fi network available, try connecting your laptop to that one instead. For example, if you have a mobile hotspot on your phone, turn that on and see if you can connect your laptop to it.
If the connection is successful, your computer is fine and your router is the problem.
Step 2: Check Your Other Devices
Next, try connecting one of your other internet-capable devices to your Wi-Fi network. You can connect a phone, tablet, or another computer to your Wi-Fi network.
If it fails to connect, the issue lies within your router. If it does connect, your laptop has a problem. Now that we’ve diagnosed where the problem is coming from, let’s fix your laptop.
How to Fix a Laptop that Won’t Connect to Wi-Fi
You’ve probably already tried to connect to Wi-Fi and verified you have the right Wi-Fi password. Common problems outside of these could be causing your Wi-Fi network to not appear on the list of available connections.
Or maybe the laptop is it’s connecting and saying No Internet Connection. Although this isn’t ideal, these problems are easily rectified.
Based on personal experience, it’s best to start with the simplest fixes and move on to more complicated options if those don’t work. So, walk through the following steps to fix your laptop when it won’t connect to Wi-Fi.
Step 1: Check that Airplane Mode Is Disabled
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but we’ve actually fixed Wi-Fi connection issues before when people didn’t realize that their laptop’s Airplane Mode was enabled.
If you’re using a PC, click the Notifications icon in the bottom right corner and ensure that the Airplane Mode icon isn’t checked.
Note: MacBook users don’t have an Airplane Mode option. However, you can turn Wi-Fi off. Click the Wi-Fi icon in the far upper right corner and ensure the toggle switch is blue.
Step 2: Perform a Network Reset
You can perform a quick network reset in your PC’s settings. Click Network & Internet on the Settings page. Then, click Advanced Network Settings and choose Network Reset.
See if your connection issue persists before moving forward.
Step 3: Restart Your Computer
Sometimes, laptops just get a little off and need a good restart to work properly. Nine times out of ten, a restart can fix whatever ails it, including Wi-Fi connection issues.
Select the Windows option in the bottom left corner of your screen and select Power. Then, click Restart. Wait until your computer has come back on and try connecting to the Wi-Fi network again.
Note: Our Mac readers can click the Apple icon in the top left corner. Then, select Restart.
Step 4: Restart Your Router
Now that you’re positive your laptop is ready to connect to Wi-Fi, it’s time to ensure your router is working. First, as mentioned in the last section, you can verify that your other devices are connecting to your Wi-Fi network.
However, even if your other devices are connected, there may be a glitch somewhere in the system. So, let’s try to restart the router.
Simply unplug your router and plug it back in after about thirty seconds. Wait for the lights to come back on and try to connect your laptop to Wi-Fi.
If a restart doesn’t work, you can try a full router reset. For our readers who aren’t sure how to do that, we have an article here to walk you through it.
Note: Again, based on experience, if your router is in a tight spot, it may be easier to pull the power cable out of the back of the router rather than the wall outlet.
Step 5: Run the Network Troubleshooter
Windows PCs have a built-in troubleshooter to help diagnose and solve network issues. This helpful feature can diagnose problems that you can’t see. Assuming you’ve tried the other fixes, let’s ensure your Wi-Fi connection woes aren’t hardware-related.
Click the Windows icon and choose Settings. Then, click Network & Internet. Scroll down this page a bit and select Network Troubleshooter. A smaller pop-up window will open. Click All Network Adapters and run the troubleshooter.
Wait for it to complete. Then, follow the steps it will walk you through to fix the problem.
Note: If it doesn’t give you any solutions, don’t give up. We have a couple more things to try.
Step 6: Update the Drivers
Next, you can try updating the network drivers on your PC. For those unfamiliar with them, drivers are files that help your hardware perform their duties.
Open your PC’s Settings and click the Updates & Security icon. Select View Optional Updates under the Check for Updates button. Then, select Drivers.
If no network drivers appear, move on to the next section. However, if there are drivers eligible for updates, check the box to the left and update them.
Step 7: Uninstall Network Drivers
If you update your network drivers and this doesn’t help, you can uninstall them and restart everything. Type Device Manager into the search bar and select Network Adapters. Right-click the network adapter and click Uninstall, then confirm.
Finally, restart your computer again and try connecting to Wi-Fi.
Step 8: Uninstall Updates
Finally, you can try to uninstall any recent updates that have tampered with your laptop’s connectivity. Open Settings and go to Update & Security. Then, click Update History.
Click Uninstall Updates at the top of the page. Restart your laptop and try connecting it to Wi-Fi.
Other Ways to Fix a Laptop that Won’t Connect to Wi-Fi
We’ve tried nearly all of the standard diagnostics and fixes that are the most common solutions. But, sometimes, we have to think outside the box to get our tech working again. We’ve included a few more things that will almost certainly fix your laptop in the following sections.
Use Ethernet or Check Your Password
If you’re fortunate enough to have an Ethernet port on your laptop, it may be a good idea to try that. Unplug your Ethernet cable from the back of your router and plug it into your laptop. This should fix nearly any issue.
Of course, not everyone has an Ethernet port on their laptops these days, either. If you don’t, there are more options.
Contact Your Laptop Manufacturer
If you’ve reached this point, it’s probably time to call your laptop manufacturer for more help. Fortunately, most manufacturers have fairly decent tech support, and they may be able to help you get connected over the phone.
Consider a Repair Shop
If you’ve tried absolutely everything, and your computer still won’t connect to Wi-Fi, it may have a hardware issue like a bad internal Wi-Fi card or motherboard issue. In that case, it’ll require a physical repair.
Before you rush to a repair shop or order parts, the right tech support agent can help you to be sure that’s the appropriate next step.
Hopefully, your laptop is all fixed and connected to Wi-Fi now. Although they may seem complicated, laptops and routers are fairly simple devices, which makes them easier to diagnose and fix. Following the steps above should fix any connection issue you’re having outside of hardware failure.
|Try Connecting Your Laptop to Another Source of Wi-Fi
|Check Your Other Devices
|Check that Airplane Mode Is Disabled
|Perform a Network Reset
|Restart Your Computer
|Restart Your Router
|Run the Network Troubleshooter
|Update the Drivers
|Uninstall Network Drivers
The image featured at the top of this post is ©TippaPatt/Shutterstock.com.