Laptop Not Connecting to WiFi [Fixed]

While WiFi isn’t always the most stable of connections, it certainly is one of the most common ways of browsing the internet, accessing your email, or shopping online. For a lot of individuals, a wireless internet connection is a must-have, as it provides the freedom to move around, whether this is at home, at work, at a friend’s, or even at a local cafe. Unfortunately, those with laptops often get the “laptop not connecting to WiFi” error, which can be frustrating, and cause panic if you absolutely need the internet. 

Laptop not connecting to WiFi error message on Windows.

Is It Just Your Laptop Not Connecting to WiFi?

Before we jump into what is causing your laptop to not connect to WiFi, we first need to make sure that your laptop is the only device struggling to connect. So, grab your smartphone, tablet, or another computer and double check to make sure that they are connected to the WiFi network. If the other devices connect successfully, then this is an easy way to know that the issue is specifically with your laptop. If you also have a Windows desktop computer suffering from the same issue, then check out our “Can’t Connect to This Network – Fix WiFi Connection Issues Easily” article.

9 Ways to Fix a Laptop Not Connecting to WiFi.

Below, you will find 9 of the most common and easiest ways you can fix your laptop not connecting to WiFi.

1. Check to Make Sure WiFi Is Turned On!

It is possible to manually turn WiFi off on your laptop. This can either be done in the Network Settings found in your taskbar, or it can be done by accidentally toggling the WiFi key on your keyboard, turning on airplane mode, or toggling a “hard switch” found on the side of your laptop near your USB ports (for older laptops). If it is toggled off, toggle it back on and try reconnecting to your wireless network. This should resolve the issue. If not, keep on reading.

WiFi Manually Turned Off

2. Try Restarting Your Laptop.

Sometimes the easiest fix is also the simplest. Try restarting your laptop to see if a reboot will resolve the issue. Typically, if your laptop is not connecting to WiFi, and it does after a reboot, this means that there was a conflicting process or software that does not appear on startup, causing the problem.

3. Run the Network Troubleshooter.

Your Windows laptop has built-in troubleshooters that can give you a better idea of what is going on with your WiFi network connection. Depending on what is found with the troubleshooter, it may be able to fix the issue automatically.

  1. In your computer’s search menu, type in Settings.
  2. In the Settings menu, choose the Update & Security option.
Settings - Update & Security Option
  1. From the left-hand sidebar, choose Troubleshoot.
  2. Choose the Additional Troubleshooters link.
Troubleshoot - Additional Troubleshooters
  1. Choose Internet Connections from the Get up and running section.
Additional Troubleshooters - Internet Connection
  1. Follow the on-screen instructions.
  2. If this doesn’t do anything, repeat the steps above and choose the Network Adapter Troubleshooter from the Find and Fix Other Problems section.

4. Reinstall Your Wireless Network Adapter.

Another way to solve a laptop not connecting to WiFi is by reinstalling your wireless network adapter. What this does is reset all existing wireless configurations on the laptop, clearing out the registry of that information.

  1. In your computer’s search menu, type in “Device Manager“.
Device Manager
  1. In the best results, double click Device Manager.
  2. Find Network Adapters in the list.
  3. Expand the Network Adapters drop-down menu.
  4. Right-click your Network Adapter Controller.
  5. Choose Uninstall from the list.
Device Manager - Network Adapter - Uninstall
  1. Confirm the selection.
  2. Now select Network Adapters in the list again.
  3. At the top, choose Action in the tabbed menu.
  4. Scan for hardware changes.
Device Manager - Network Adapter - Action - Scan For Hardware Changes
  1. Your computer will automatically reinstall the Network Adapter.
  2. Close the Device Manager down and restart your laptop.

Is your laptop still not connecting to WiFi? Read on.

5. Update Your Wireless Network Adapter.

If you aren’t running the latest wireless network drivers, this could be causing a faulty connection between the network adapter and your laptop’s ability to connect. Now, normally you can update your drivers by using the automatic finder in the device manager – but since your laptop’s not connecting to WiFi, you can’t do this. So, it has to be done manually, which does require another device with an internet connection.

  1. In your computer’s search menu, type in “Device Manager“.
  2. In the best results, double click Device Manager.
  3. Find Network Adapters in the list.
  4. Expand the Network Adapters drop-down menu.
  5. Right-click your Network Adapter Controller.
  6. Choose properties from the list.
Device Manager - Network Adapter - Properties
  1. Click on the Driver tab at the top of the window.
  2. Write down the Driver Provider, Driver Date, and current Driver Version.
Device Manager - Network Adapter - Properties - Driver Provider - Date - Version
  1. Head to the driver provider’s website and find the updated driver there.
  2. If it is not there, head to the Details tab.
  3. Under the property drop-down, find Hardware ID.
  4. Select the latest one in the list, copy it down.
Device Manager - Network Adapter - Properties - Details - Hardware ID
  1. Use it to find the latest driver online from the manufacturer’s website.
  2. Download it, and manually install it.

Restart your computer to see if the problem persists.

6. Restart Your Modem or Router.

A restart of the modem or router may be enough to fix the problem, as this will reassign your IP address to the devices connected to the network.  This is a pretty simple process:

  1. Remove all cables from the back of your router or modem. This includes the power, any Ethernet cords, and the jack cord.
  2. Wait for 30 seconds up to 1 minute.
  3. Reconnect all the cords, with the power cord being the last.
  4. Wait for 2-5 minutes to see if the WiFi LED lights up on your router.
  5. If it does, try reconnecting your laptop.

If this fixes the issue, the problem resides with your router/modem and not the laptop itself.

7. Turn Off Third-Party Antivirus Temporarily.

While having a third-party antivirus is great for protecting your computer, they often come with multi-threat protection layers which can be a little overprotective sometimes. This means that your antivirus could have a network protection feature that is blocking your laptop’s WiFi connection. You can try disabling the third-party antivirus temporarily to see if this resolves the issue. If it does, then you’ll need to go back into the software and experiment with it until you find what is causing the block.

8. Check Your Power Settings. 

There are certain power settings that can cause WiFi connection problems due to using reduced power. These settings are there in laptops so that you can get the most juice out of your battery. Here is how to ensure that the power settings aren’t the reason that your laptop is not connecting to WiFi.

  1. In your computer’s search menu, type in “Power Settings”.
  2. Click on Additional Power Settings.
  3. Then on the plan you have selected, choose Change Plan Settings.
Power Settings - Change Power Settings
  1. Now click on Change Advanced Power Settings to open a new window.
  2. Under your selected plan, head to Wireless Adapter Settings.
  3. Expand the drop-down menu, and then expand the Power Saving Mode.
  4. Make sure the Power Saving Mode is on Maximum Performance.
Power Settings - Wireless - Set to Maximum Performance
  1. If it isn’t, change it to be. Make sure to apply, and hit OK.
  2. Do this for all of your power plans.

9. Renew Your IP Address.

If you’ve tried the previous 8 fixes and none of them have worked for you, consider renewing your IP address and flushing your DNS cache. While restarting your router (like in step 6) will reassign your IP address, it doesn’t deal with your DNS cache. Your DNS cache translates the hostname to an IP address and an IP address to a hostname; but if you have too many of these translations collected in the cache, it can negatively impact your connection.

  1. In your computer’s search bar, type in “CMD”.
  2. In the best results, right-click Command Prompt.
  3. Choose to run it as an administrator.
  4. Type in the following commands:
    • “ipconfig /release” [Enter].
    • “ipconfig /renew” [Enter].
    • “ipconfig /flushdns” [Enter].
Ipconfig Release Example
  1. Now close the command prompt window and try connecting your laptop to the WiFi again.

Wrapping It Up

If none of the above fixes worked for you, please let us know in the comments below, as there are a few more advanced options, like disabling IPv6 and telling your computer to use 2.4 GHz instead of 5Ghz, that you can try. However, these 9 fixes typically get the job done! If any of these have worked for you, also let us know! We love getting your feedback!

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