Follow these steps if you have trouble with your Wi-Fi in Windows

Dropped WiFi Connections in Windows
Image: Pixabay
Updated: February 27, 2017

Ever want to get online but receive an error message that the connection is unavailable? We know your pain. We've investigated the issue and have a step-by-step series of procedures for you to consider.

  1. Reboot.
  2. Rebooting your hardware can often solve your problems. Power down your computer and remove the plug from the wall. For laptops, also remove the battery. Afterwards, unplug the modem and the router from the wall. Wait a few seconds to allow residual power to discharge from the devices and then plug them back in, starting with the modem, then the router. Once the router is booted, connect any wired connections and then connect any wireless devices. Evaluate the connections to see if it solved your problems.

  3. Update firmware on your modem and router
  4. Many modems cannot be serviced by the consumer, but most routers can be. Consult the manufacturer's website for instructions on how to upgrade the firmware of your device. In many cases, it's easy and takes less than ten minutes.

  5. Update the device driver of the wireless network card.
  6. Many computer manufacturers list driver updates for each computer model that can be downloaded and installed easily. If you are unsure as to which device you have, you can find out easily. Click the start menu and type 'device manager' in the run box. Afterwards, open device manager and expand the 'network adapters' category. The wireless adapters are listed there.

  7. Reset the device.
  8. Once the new device drivers are installed, the device will reset. If there are no new drivers available, you can manually reset the device. Locate the device in the device manager, right-click the item and select uninstall. Do not select the option to delete the driver. The device will uninstall. Then reboot your computer and the operating system will reinstall it automatically. You will be prompted to enter your security key again.

  9. Change the wireless channel.
  10. If you live in a crowded area or if you live in a home with a lot of other wireless devices or sources of electrical interference, you may want to change the wireless channel from 'auto' to a higher channel, such as 11. For instructions on how to access the settings of your router, consult the manufacturer's website. Often, it involves simply typing 192.168.1.1 into the address bar of a webpage, but it might be different for your particular device.

  11. Update Windows.
  12. Open the start menu and type 'windows update' in the run box. Run the program installing any updates you might find. Any of these updates might fix your problems, not to mention other problems you might not be aware that you have. You may have to reboot, at which time you should run Windows Update again to ensure that you have all available updates.

  13. Check whether or not your computer is managing your wireless adapters power settings.
  14. In the device manager, right click the adapter and click 'properties.' Click the 'power management' tab and deselect the buttons to allow the computer to turn off the adapter to save power.

  15. Let Windows diagnose the problem.
  16. You can right click the wireless network icon in the lower right corner of the screen and select 'troubleshoot problems.' If any problems are found, it will try to fix them for your or give you next steps.

  17. Narrow down where the problem is happening.
  18. If the problem is occurring only at home, the problem is likely based somewhere with your router or signal interference. Your hardware might be failing or you might have other issues. We've seen a problem occur when the power cord for a router was coming out of the wall by a small amount, thereby reducing power to the device and occasionally cycling it.

These steps will, of course, not be a catch all and might not fix your problem. They might, however, give you that added bit of knowledge you need to guide you in the right direction. You might need professional assistance, either from your computer manufacturer or other company.

NCCC does not generally endorse any particular products or services. As such, we advise everyone to be weary of 'fix it' software programs and programs that promise to update device drivers. Many of these programs are scams and contain harmful content. Some of them do work, but in our testing average only about a 10% success rate. We have had a lot of success with a software update program called File Hippo Update Checker. It is free; unfortunately, it does not detect many drivers and is only able to advise about software on its servers.