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How to connect to a WiFi network on Windows 10

WiFi technology is fairly universal; a network that you can connect to on your phone is just as easy to connect to from a network printer, a smart fridge, and a computer. The method will differ based on the device type but it’s rare for the process to be complicated.

If you’re using Windows 10, connecting to a WiFi network is fairly simple but you may struggle with it depending on your system’s configuration or whether or not the network is hidden.

Connect to WiFi Network on Windows 10

We’re going to walk you through the entire process of connecting to a WiFi network on Windows 10. The process here assumes that you have a WiFi network already set up, and that you have the password to the network you want to connect to. The only exception here is if you’re trying to connect to a public network that normally isn’t password protected.

WiFi/Wireless drivers

A Windows 10 system has a wireless network chip. This chip is hardware and like all hardware, it works via drivers that are installed on Windows 10. 

Drivers for the WiFi chip are probably already installed automatically by Windows 10. It does this during set up. To check if the drivers have been installed;

  1. Check the system tray.
  2. Look for a WiFi icon or a globe icon.

If the icon is visible, WiFi chip adapters have already been install. If the icon is not visible, you need to install drivers. The drivers are likely already present on Windows 10 and simply need to be installed.

  1. Open Device Manager.
  2. Right-click Network Adapters.
  3. Select Scan for hardware changes.
  4. Windows 10 will scan for your network driver and install drivers for it.
  5. Restart the system.

  1. If the globe/WiFi icon still isn’t visible, open Device Manager again.
  2. Expand Network Adapters.
  3. Right-click your network adapter. 
  4. Select Uninstall device.
  5. Restart the system.
  6. When you boot back to the desktop, Windows 10 will reinstall network drivers.
  7. If the icon still doesn’t appear, open Device Manager again.
  8. Expand Network adapters.
  9. Right-click your network chip and click Install Driver.

Connect to WiFi network

Once drivers for a wireless adapter have been installed, the hard part is over. You can now connect to a WiFi network.

Connect to private WiFi network

To connect to a private WiFi network, follow these steps.

  1. Click the globe icon in the system tray.
  2. From the panel that opens, look for the network in the list of available networks.
  3. Click the network you want to connect to.
  4. Click the Connect button.
  5. Enter the password to the network.
  6. Keep network discovery off.
  7. You will be connected to the network within seconds.

Connect to public WiFi network

To connect to a public WiFi network, follow these steps.

  1. Click the globe/WiFi icon in the system tray.
  2. From the panel that opens, select the network you want to connect to.
  3. Once connected, choose to keep network discovery off.

Connect to hidden WiFi network

A hidden WiFi network is a network that will not appear in the list of available networks but if you have the password to it, you can still connect to it.

  1. Open the Settings app (Win+I keyboard shortcut).
  2. Go to Network & Internet.
  3. Click the WiFi tab.
  4. Click ‘Manage known networks’.
  5. Click the Add a network button.
  6. Enter the name for the network, select its security type, enter the password, and click Save.

Basic checks

Connecting to a WiFi network is easy but you should know that there are some ways you can accidentally turn the WiFi radio on your system off. 

  • On your keyboard, look for a key with a WiFi icon or a radio tower on it. It can turn the WiFi on your system On and Off. 
  • Windows 10 has an Airplane mode which generally disable WiFi. Make sure Airplane mode is not On.

Conclusion

WiFi technology is simple to use but getting it going the first time you boot to a fresh Windows 10 installation may be take a little setting up. Even then, there’s little that will complicate the process. Windows 10 automatically installs drivers for the WiFi even if your hardware is particularly old.

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