Here is what you need to do when you try to connect your Windows laptop or tablet to a wireless network, and the WiFi network not showing up.
There are many possible Wi-Fi-related issues you might encounter. This article will focus on fixing a scenario when Windows 11 or 10 is not showing Wi-Fi networks, and you cannot connect to a specific Wi-Fi. It will also help those Googling “my laptop cannot detect Wi-Fi but my phone can.”
Wi-Fi Not Showing Up on Windows 10/11: How to Fix it?
As usual, let us begin with the simplest options and ideas. The most basic steps you can take to fix Wi-Fi not showing up on Windows 10 and 11 are often the most effective.
Is Your Router Running?
Wi-Fi will not appear on your laptop if the router is not running. Moreover, you must check whether the wireless network mode is on. Most routers let you disable Wi-Fi while running. Check if the Wi-Fi indicators are flashing, or refer to the user manual. You might need to get into the router’s settings and enable Wi-Fi to fix the Wi-Fi not showing up on Windows 10 and 11 error.
Restart the Router
This is probably the first thing you need to do when troubleshooting network-related problems, and the good-old restart is often your best friend.
Restart Your Computer
The same idea as in the previous step.
If you have a cheap router and many devices try to use it at once, disable one or several gadgets to reduce the load.
Is Wi-Fi Enabled on Your Laptop?
Clicking the Wi-Fi network will not show you any wireless network if the Wi-Fi is disabled on your computer. Some laptops allow turning off wireless modules using one of the function keys – look for a button with an antenna icon. Other computers have a physical kill switch on one of the sides. You may have accidentally triggered the Wi-Fi switch, and now Wi-Fi networks are not showing up on Windows 10 and 11.
Is the Wi-Fi Toggle Missing?
Some users try to Google “Wi-Fi network now showing up Windows 10 or 11” when they do not see the software toggle in the action center. This mainly applies to Windows 11 since Windows 10 has a dedicated icon in the notification area, and Windows 11 uses a unified action center. If you use the latter and do not see the Wi-Fi button, do the following:
- Press Win + A and click the button with a pencil icon.
- Click Add and then Wi-Fi.
- Click Done.
Now you can press the Wi-Fi icon and try connecting to the internet.
You can also try opening the Settings app and navigating to Network and Internet > Wi-Fi to enable the main toggle. If Wi-Fi does not appear in the Settings app at all, proceed to the next step – you might need to do extra work to fix your Wi-Fi and make Windows 11 and 10 show your Wi-Fi networks.
If software tricks did not help you fix the problem with Wi-Fi not showing up on Windows 10 and 11, try checking your drivers.
- Press Win + X and select Device Manager.
- Expand the Network adapters section and ensure no adapters have a yellow exclamation sign icon. That icon indicates that the adapter is not working properly or has no necessary drivers. Your Wi-Fi is most likely to have “802.11” in the name or similar indicators pointing to wireless networks.
- Download Wi-Fi drivers for your specific laptop model from the official manufacturer’s website. Do not use driver packs or Windows Update. If the problem appears after updating to a newer release, downgrade the driver to a previous version.
Have you upgraded your router? The newest Wi-Fi routers support advanced network standards, such as Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E. Enabling these standards exclusively without compatibility mode will result in Wi-Fi not showing up on Windows 10 and 11. You cannot connect to your fancy new router using an older laptop or tablet that does not support Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6E. This is one of the most common reasons why users say, “my laptop cannot detect Wi-Fi but my phone can.” A modern iPhone, for example, supports Wi-Fi 6E, but an older laptop does not, hence the issue.
Luckily, all modern routers are backward compatible and allow previous-generation modes. Refer to your user manual to enable Wi-Fi 5 or even older standards. Some networks also let you set separate networks for older Wi-Fi generations.
The same applies to security standards, such as WPA3 or WPA2. You must check these settings as well and see if they make any difference. Also, old laptops are unlikely to support 5GHz networks, so ensure your router operates in the mixed mode (2.4GHz + 5GHz) or in 2.4GHz mode exclusive.
You can try performing a network reset on Windows 10 and 11. Perhaps, a simple bug gets in the way and prevents your Wi-Fi from showing up on Windows 10 and 11.
Finally, you may have encountered a hardware issue requiring servicing and replacing the built-in network card. If possible, try connecting another laptop to your Wi-Fi network. If it connects without problems, but nothing helps get the first device to connect, contact your local repair shop and get professional help.
That is it. We hope this article helped you fix the “Wi-Fi networks not showing up on Windows 10 and 11” error.