How to Unlock Wi-Fi on My Laptop

by Ruri Ranbe
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."

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.


  • On some laptops, the wireless switch is located in the area below the monitor and above the keyboard.
  • If your laptop doesn't have a wireless switch, check the product documentation to see if hot keys control the Wi-Fi function. For example, on some models, "Fn-F8" toggles the wireless radio on and off.


Photo Credits

  • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

About the Author

Ruri Ranbe has been working as a writer since 2008. She received an A.A. in English literature from Valencia College and is completing a B.S. in computer science at the University of Central Florida. Ranbe also has more than six years of professional information-technology experience, specializing in computer architecture, operating systems, networking, server administration, virtualization and Web design.

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