Troubleshooting when Your Windows laptop loses Wi-Fi

In this post we will talk about Troubleshooting when a Windows laptop loses Wi-Fi. We will cover identifying the problem and how to fix it.

More often than one would think, Windows 10 loses all Wi-Fi connectivity. When this happens and the user tries to fix it, they may see that their wireless capabilities seem non-existent and the laptop shows only Airplane mode.

First Step

The VERY first thing to do is restart the computer.

This issue is often just a driver error and simply letting it reload will fix the issue.

Second Step

If a restart doesn’t fix the issue, the second step to take is to run any Windows updates. Check the Windows update menu for a list of updates.

This may be counterintuitive, because the computer needs to be connected to the Internet in order to download updates. But, seeing whether updates are available is still useful at this stage.

The WiFi issue can stem from two different types of updates.

The first being a missing main update, usually the Windows 10 .Net Framework. This type of update is vital to the computer and should be completed as often as you see it.

If the major updates are already installed and the WiFi still does not work, then it is possibly an optional update issue. Check the drivers for your wireless adapter from the “View optional updates” tab.

These updates are called “optional ” but are not. This is where the drivers will be located.

The driver updates for a laptop’s wireless adapter are very important, and when left un-updated can result in the airplane mode only issue described above.

If the computer hasn’t already downloaded the updates when it was connected to the Internet, it could be plugged directly into the router with an ethernet cable to get them. If that is not possible, then the following section describes how to download the specific drivers using another computer.

Advanced Driver Installation (Requires Second Computer)

If none of the above work to connect to the internet, the wireless adapter drivers can be downloaded using another computer.

Identify the wireless adapter in for the computer that is having trouble.

Type “Device Manager” into the search bar.

The above list is network adapters in the device manager. Realtek and Intel are examples, but there are many brands.

Once you identify your wireless adapter, go to a different computer and search the Internet for drivers for that specific model of the wireless adapter. The drivers will be available on the respective companies’ website.

Download the drivers to the computer that has internet.

Insert an external storage device such as a USB Flash Drive or External Hard Drive into that computer.

Transfer the drivers to the external drive from the download location. Eject the external storage and plug it to the malfunctioning computer. Transfer the driver files from the external drive to the computer.

Once complete, go into the device manager, right click on the wireless adapter and click on properties.

Choose the “Driver” tab and click Update Driver.

Choose “Browse my computer for drivers.” Locate the drivers transferred from the external device and choose them. Run the update.

Preventative Measures

This issue often occurs simply because of a lack of updates. Not updating the operating system or drivers eventually leads to incompatibility and bugs.

In order to make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s important to update the computer regularly. It is important to check the “optional” updates as well.

To do this simply type “update” into the windows search bar.

Check the Microsoft Support Page if the issue persists.

If you would like help with this process, just call or email and we’ll be happy to assist you!
Additionally, if you have specific questions, or if our terminology isn’t clear, please use our contact form to send us a message. Thank you!

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