Many laptops have a dedicated switch that turns the wireless adapter on and off. This feature is usually used on an airplane, but it may not work when trying to connect to a wireless network. If you are unable to turn on the wireless adapter using the toggle switch, use the methods in this article.
Method 1 of 3: Troubleshooting
Step 1. Turn on the wireless adapter using the keyboard
Most laptops have a button that you can use to turn the wireless adapter on and off. Such a key is marked with an icon in the form of an antenna emitting (in both directions) radio waves, or in the form of an airplane, which means "Flight mode" (or "Standalone mode"). Click this button to turn the wireless adapter on and off.
- On many laptops, this key is combined with one of the F-keys; usually the F3, F10, or F12 key. Press and hold the Fn key before pressing this key.
- If your laptop is turned on and off with a switch, it is located on the front of the laptop or directly above the first row of keys.
Step 2. Click "Start" and type "Troubleshoot" (without quotes) in the search bar
In the list of search results, click on "Troubleshoot".
Step 3. Click "Connect to the Internet"
A window will open where you can troubleshoot your internet connection.
Step 4. Click "Advanced"
To expand the functionality of the troubleshooting wizard, select the "Run as administrator" option. Also check the box next to "Apply fixes automatically."
Step 5. Run the troubleshooting wizard by following the instructions on the screen
The system will check the hardware and software settings and try to determine the source of the problem. If the wireless adapter is off, the system will try to turn it on.
Method 2 of 3: Reinstalling the driver
Step 1. Open Device Manager
Device Manager displays a list of all accessories and hardware installed and connected to your computer. The operating system controls components and hardware using programs called drivers. If you are unable to enable your wireless adapter, start by reinstalling its driver. The operating system will automatically perform most of the necessary actions.
Press ⊞ Win + R and enter devmgmt.msc. The Device Manager will open
Step 2. Expand the "Network adapters" section
A list of all installed network adapters will be displayed, usually a wireless adapter and an Ethernet adapter.
Step 3. Right click on the wireless adapter and select Properties from the menu
A new window will open.
Step 4. Go to the "Driver" tab
The installation date and driver version and other information will be displayed.
Step 5. Click Remove
This is the bottommost button. In the window that opens, confirm that you really want to uninstall the driver. Check the box next to "Remove driver software for this device" and click "OK". Step 6. Connect your laptop to the router using an Ethernet cable.
To automatically install a new driver, you need to connect your laptop to the Internet. Using an Ethernet cable, connect your laptop to an available LAN port on the router.
Step 7. Restart your computer
After connecting the laptop to the router with an Ethernet cable, restart the computer.
Step 8. Log in to the system and let it install the new driver automatically
Windows will detect the device with the missing driver immediately after you log on to the system; it prompts you to find and install the appropriate driver. If the laptop is connected to the Internet (via an Ethernet cable and router), the system will search the network for the latest driver. If a driver is found, Windows will automatically download and install it.
Step 9. Try connecting your laptop to a wireless network
Once the driver installation process is complete (it will take some time), the network adapter will most likely turn on, as indicated by a change in the LED color from orange to blue.
In the system tray, click on the "Network" icon and select an available wireless network from the menu. If the network is secure, enter the password
Method 3 of 3: System Restore
Step 1. Determine when you can restore the system
Recover your system if you were able to connect to a wireless network just a few days ago and now you can't. System Restore will return the settings and files to the date you selected. Changes made to the operating system after this date will be canceled. That is, for example, programs that were installed after the selected date will be removed. Please be aware that the system restore process will not affect your personal files.
Step 2. Run the "System Restore" utility
To do this, find it in the system; the search process depends on your version of Windows.
- In Windows 10 / 8.1, click "Start" and type "recovery" in the search bar (without the quotes). The "Recovery" window will open in the control panel. Click Run System Restore.
- In Windows 7 / Vista, click "Start" and type "repair" in the search bar (without the quotes). In the list of search results, click on "System Restore".
Step 3. Select a restore point
When you make changes to system files, for example, when installing a program or driver, a restore point is created automatically. By default, the operating system will select the most recent restore point. To view a list of all available restore points, select the Show other restore points check box.
Select the restore point that was created while the wireless adapter was still working
Step 4. Check which programs will be affected by the system restore
Since restoring will return the settings and files to the date you selected, programs installed or removed after that date will be uninstalled or installed accordingly. To check programs, click Search for Affected Programs. As a reminder, the system restore process will not affect your personal files.
Step 5. Start the system recovery process
After selecting a restore point, in the window that opens, confirm that you really intend to restore the system. Windows will restart and restore settings and files. The system recovery process will take some time. When this process is complete, the operating system boots and a message appears on the screen indicating that the recovery was successful.
Step 6. Try to connect to a wireless network
If the wireless adapter did not turn on due to driver or software issues, restoring the system to a date when the adapter was still working will resolve the issue. If you still cannot turn on the wireless adapter, take your laptop to a workshop or have it replaced.