7 Easy Steps To Check When Your Laptop Won’t Connect To Wifi

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It's so frustrating when you can't get an internet connection on your laptop.

If you're reading this on your phone in desperation, I've been right there and it's suuuuper annoying when nothing is working.

I'm hoping to fix that for you right now.

Keep calm no internet

 

Go through this list and if you find one method of getting your internet back doesn't work, just move to the next one. 90% of no internet problems are fixed with these steps.

Note: Double check the internet connection is actually alive and well in your home or office by using an iPhone and connecting to the same WiFi router as your laptop normally would.

If you hard wire your laptop using an Ethernet cable, see if you have another Ethernet cable you can switch out to test if the cable was good…or not.

Fix #1 – Airplane Mode

It wasn't that long ago when Bluetooth was a novelty on laptops, now we have this thing called Airplane Mode.

It's function is to disable all devices that can transmit or receive on your laptop. It's goal is to not  interfere with the airplane's communication and electrical devices.

If you have it turn on and activated, there's a 100% chance you won't have any internet connection at all!

First, depending on the brand of your laptop (like Dell, Apple, Lenovo, HP etc) they can all have different ways to activated it via the keypad.

See if you can find a plane symbol – it'll probably be on one of the “F” keys at the very top of the keyboard or beside one of the numbers.

Here's what mine looks like:

 

How come it has F7 next to it?

Well, that key can have two functions. Some laptop manufacturers design their systems so that you are required to hold the function button down before the short cuts work (like disabling the mouse pad, mute, volume controls.).

Other manufacturers like Lenovo default to the shortcuts, so you have to press the function button down before the F keys do what F keys do.

Usually things like bringing up a help pain, refreshing a web page or used in combination with another key to perform shortcuts like closing a program.

I think it's way more useful to have the function shortcuts default instead. I use the volume keys, screen mirroring and screen brightness controls waaay more than the function keys.

But I'm getting off track.

The best way to get Airplane mode up and see if it's on or not is to simply type it into the search bar on the start menu like this:

Check if airplane mode is turned on. If it is, turn it off!

If it was turned off, head to fix number two.

Fix #2 – Restart Everything

Restart Your Laptop

Close out of everything and restart your laptop. Not just close the lid, it has to be properly restarted. Select the start menu then power icon and finally restart

Restart Your Internet Modem

You'll probably have two boxes next to each other if you find where the internet modem is in your home or office.

One of the boxes is your cable modem – the thing that transmits and receives data between your home and the world.

Modem

WiFi Router

The other box will probably be your wireless router. If you can see an antenna or two sticking out from the back of the box, that's it.

You might not have a wireless router if you connect your laptop to the internet using an actual cable and plugging it into your Ethernet port.

If you have a wired router, you'll probably see some Ethernet ports and green flashing lights next to them.

Wired router

One last note: You can get internet modems that are also wireless routers. So if you use WiFi to connect your laptop to the ‘net but don't see a wireless router, don't worry about it.

Whichever one you have, it doesn't matter. Turn them off.

All of them.

Now wait for a minute or two. Read these…

Turn everything back on again.

It'll take a few minutes to power up and reconnect with Comcast or Bell or Verizon or whoever you use for your internet provider.

Make sure your laptop has re-connected to your WiFi router. To check select the signal icon in the task bar and find the name of your WiFi access point.

No internet still? Move onto the next possible fix and see if that helps.

Fix #3 – Windows Updates

When was the last time you updated Windows? Not sure? No worries! Check the last time updates were performed and if there are any new ones you can download from Microsoft.

To check out windows update, click or tap the start menu button and type updates in the search bar like this:

Next, see if there are any updates available by selecting the check for updates button. Update if prompted.

Follow any prompts you get about updates and restarting your laptop if needed.

Once it's complete, check your internet again and see if you can browse like normal.

No go? Move onto fix #4!

Fix #4 – Reset Your WiFi Driver And Update If Needed

Sometimes completely separate from your Windows update you just checked, your WiFi driver might need to be updating to kick it into life again.

Before we do that, though, let's just try resetting the WiFi driver.

Click on the Windows start menu button and type device manager into the search box.

Next, find Network Adapters on the list and expand it by clicking on the arrow > symbol

Next, right click the WiFi driver and select Uninstall device. This will remove the driver from your laptop and make it re-install the driver – and hopefully fix it's self.

After you've removed the driver, restart your laptop and follow the prompts to re-install the driver.

Check if you have internet connectivity.

No go? Try the next one

Fix #5 – Update Your WiFi Driver

This uses the same steps to get to the Device Manager as the last method. Press or select the Windows Start Key then type Device Manager into the search box.

Once you've got the device manager open, find your WiFi adapter under the Network Adapters category.

Right click and select Update Driver.

When you are asked where to search for the driver, select Search automatically for the updated driver software

Follow the rest of the prompts to update the driver.

Check for internet connectivity.

Still no go? Bah. Don't freak out just yet, we've still got a few more things to try.

Fix #6 – Turn Off All Anti-Virus And Firewalls

Sometimes anti-virus and firewalls can get in the way of establishing an internet connection.

If you have an anti-virus like Norton, Micro or Kaspersky you'll have to go into their settings and disable it temporarily.

Windows also has it's own anti-virus and firewall system, so you should check that too.

Disable Windows 10 Firewall

Select the windows start menu button and type firewall into the search box.

Next you're going to disable windows firewall – it'll only be temporary until we can troubleshoot your laptop internet problem.

Select it from the options on the sidebar:

Set the options like the image below. Choose Turn off Windows Defender firewall on both private and public network settings

Disable Windows 10 Anti-Virus

This really shouldn't get in the way of your internet connection but sometimes things get weird and it's worth a try.

It won't hurt as you'll only disable the anti-virus temporarily and will enable it again right away after you establish an internet connection.

Right? Sweet.

First press the Windows start key and type Antivirus into the search box.

When the Virus & Threat Protection window opens up, press Manage settings.

Now just turn the Real-time protection off.

Check and see if you have an internet connection. It's unlikely the Windows anti-virus program interfered with it, but it's worth a shot when all the other fixes above haven't worked.

Fix #7 – Renew Your Computer's IP Address

Your laptop is given a special address by your internet router so that it can communicate with other computers and systems.

Sometimes your laptop can have an IP address conflict which basically means it's trying to use the same “unique” address as another computer on your network.

Instead of finding a new address it just does nothing at all…then you find out you can't get on the internet.

To renew your IP address (IP means internet protocol)  just do this.

Press the Windows start key and keep it held down. Next press the letter r on your keyboard at the same time and you should get a box like this to appear

Type cmd into the open text area and press ​OK​​​

Once you see a black box with some white text in it, you've opened the command prompt and we can now instruct your laptop to ditch the IP address it had and go get another new IP address from your router.

It's easy!

Type ipconfig /release into the command prompt window and press enter. Wait a few seconds.

You might see a wall of bad-news looking text like this that makes you feel like you're hacking into cyber world. Don't panic, it's okay!

Once it's done, you can now instruct your laptop to get a new IP address. Just type ipconfig /renew.

You might again see a wall of computer jargon. Don't worry. Just try and see if you can find a string of numbers that start with 192.

That's your new IP address.

Check for internet connectivity.

If you still can't connect there might be something wrong with the hardware of your laptop, router or modem.

I'd call my internet service provider like Comcast, Century Link, Cox or Bell and have them check things from their end. They can test your modem to see if it is actually transmitting a signals.

You can narrow down the problem by doing this and eventually determine what you have to do, replace or fix to get back online.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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