How to Unlock Wi-Fi on My Laptop

By Ruri Ranbe

You can disable the wireless radio to extend the battery life of your laptop.
i Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

Your laptop features a Wi-Fi adapter that lets the computer communicate with a wireless router or other access point. Embedded in the adapter are antennas that send and receive data packets in the form of radio signals. Windows supports several methods to turn the antennas on or off, and when the antennas are disabled, the laptop can't intercept wireless signals in the area. If no local hot spots appear when you open the Network pane, alter your computer settings to re-enable Wi-Fi communication.

Step 1

Press "Windows-W" to open Settings, type "Connections" into the search field and select "View Network Connections" from the results.

Step 2

Right-click "Wi-Fi" and then select "Enable" from the context menu to turn on the wireless adapter.

Step 3

Press "Windows-I" to open the Settings charm and then click "Change PC Settings."

Step 4

Select the "Wireless" tab and toggle Airplane Mode to "Off."

Step 5

Inspect the front or side of the laptop for a wireless switch if the computer still fails to detect nearby hot spots. Slide or push the switch to turn on the wireless radio.