Restoring a wireless connection

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Restoring a wireless connection
Restoring a wireless connection
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Many laptops have a switch to disable your wireless adapter. This is great for airplanes, but can cause problems when trying to get online. If your wireless adapter won't turn on even after pressing the switch, there are several things you can try to fix it.

Steps

Method 1 of 3: Checking your connection

Turn Wireless Compatibility Back On Step 1

Step 1. Activate your wireless adapter with the keyboard

Most laptops have a special button or switch that can be used to turn the wireless adapter on or off. The button is marked with a logo of an antenna and radio waves radiating from it on both sides, or with an image of an airplane to indicate Airplane Mode. Press this button to turn your wireless adapter on or off.

  • On many laptops, this key is shared with one of the function keys (F-keys), usually F3, F10, or F12. You use the Fn key to activate function keys.
  • If your laptop uses a switch, you'll probably find it on the front of the laptop, or the top row of buttons on the keyboard.
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Step 2. Click the Start button and type 'Troubleshoot'

Select "Troubleshoot" from the list of search results.

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Step 3. Click on 'Connect to the Internet'

This will open the Internet Connection Troubleshooter.

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Step 4. Click on the 'Advanced' link

Select "Run as administrator" to allow the troubleshooter to perform more advanced tasks. Make sure 'Apply solutions automatically' is checked.

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Step 5. Follow the prompts to run the troubleshooter

Windows will check your hardware and software configurations to see if there are any problems with the connection. If your wireless adapter is disabled, the system will attempt to re-enable the connection for you automatically.

Method 2 of 3: Reinstall your driver

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Step #1. Open Device Manager

This tool lists all components installed on your computer. Hardware on your computer is controlled by software called 'drivers'. Reinstalling the driver of your wireless adapter is the fastest solution if it no longer wants to turn on. Windows will then handle the heavy lifting automatically.

Press ⊞ Win+R and type 'devmgmt.msc'. This will launch Device Manager

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Step 2. Open the 'Network Adapters' group

This lists all installed network adapters. You should see your wireless adapter and your Ethernet adapter.

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Step 3. Right click on the wireless adapter and select 'Properties'

This will open a new window.

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Step 4. Click on the 'Driver' or 'Driver' tab

You'll see the date the driver was installed and the version number, along with a few options.

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Step 5. Click on 'Remove'

This is the last option in the list. You will be asked for confirmation that you really want to uninstall the drivers. Check the "Delete the driver software for this device" box and confirm that you want to uninstall the driver.

Step 6. Connect your laptop to your router via Ethernet

You need a network connection for Windows to automatically install the correct drivers. Use an Ethernet cable to connect your laptop to one of the free LAN ports of your router.

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Step 7. Restart your computer

If you have a connection to your router via Ethernet, restart your computer.

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Step 8. Log in to Windows and wait for the wireless adapter driver to be installed

Windows should automatically find an adapter without a driver once you are logged in. You will receive a message that Windows wants to look for the correct driver to install it. If you are connected to your router via Ethernet, Windows can look online for the latest version of the driver. Windows will automatically download and install the driver.

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Step 9. Try connecting to a wireless network

After installing the driver (which may take a few minutes), your network adapter should turn on again. If your adapter has an indicator light, it should go from amber to blue.

Click the network icon in the system tray and select your wireless network. You must enter the password if it is a secure network

Method 3 of 3: Run System Restore

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Step 1. Know when to do this

If your internet connection was working fine a few days ago, but not anymore, you may be able to solve the problem with a system restore. This will reset your computer's settings to the date of your choice. Any changes to the system since that date will be undone. This means that programs you have installed since the selected date will be removed, and all settings will be restored. System Restore has no effect on your personal files.

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Step #2. Open System Restore

The quickest way to do this is to search for it, although this process can vary a bit depending on the version of Windows you're using:

  • Windows 10 and 8.1 - Click the Start button and type 'recovery'. This will load the Recovery window in the Control Panel. Select 'Open System Restore'.
  • Windows 7 and Vista - Click the Start button and type 'system restore'. Select "System Restore" from the list of results.
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Step 3. Choose your restore point

Restore points are created automatically when your system files are changed, such as when installing a program or driver. Windows will automatically choose the most recent restore point. To view all available restore points, check the 'Show more restore points' box.

Choose a restore point from a date where you know the wireless adapter was still working

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Step 4. Check which programs are changed by the System Restore

Since a system restore will set your computer back to the date you selected, it will affect programs that have changed in the meantime. Click the "Check for Affected Programs" button to find out what will be removed or restored to your computer during the recovery. Remember that nothing will be changed to your personal files.

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Step 5. Start the recovery process

Once you have chosen a restore point and confirmed that you want to restore, Windows will reboot and return to a previous situation. This may take a while. When the recovery is complete and complete, Windows will load again and you will be notified whether the recovery was successful.

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Step 6. Test your connection

If a driver or software issue was the cause of the problem with your wireless adapter, a restore to a point before the problem occurred should suffice. If you still can't get the wireless adapter to turn on, your computer may need to be repaired or replaced.

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