If your Dell laptop is not connecting to WiFi, don’t worry. There are solutions to fix Dell laptop not connecting to WiFi.

Why isn’t my Dell laptop connecting to WiFi? The reasons are various and sometimes it’s hard to tell where the problem lies in. Usually you can’t connect your laptop to WiFi because the WiFi service is turned off in your laptop, or there is something wrong with your wireless network adapter. In addition, the WiFi issue itself is one of the reasons why you can’t connect to WiFi.

But don’t worry. You can follow the methods below to resolve your problem.

Try these fixes

  1. Diagnose your problem cause by troubleshooting
  2. Make sure to turn on WLAN feature in your laptop
  3. Make sure the WLAN AutoConfig service is running
  4. Update your wireless network adapter driver
  5. Uninstall incompatible applications
  6. Manually connect to a wireless network

Fix 1: Diagnose your problem cause by troubleshooting

As there are various possible reasons for the Dell laptop WiFi not working, sometimes it’s hard to identify what exactly the cause is. In that case, it’ll take much of your time and patience to troubleshoot and fix your problem. Fortunately, you can at least identify whether your problem lies in your Dell laptop or the WiFi router.

One of the fast and direct ways to check where your problem lies in is to connect other devices to your WiFi. For instance, you can connect your smartphone and another laptops and PCs to your WiFi.

  • If none of other devices succeeds to connect to WiFi, then it seems the cause lies in your WiFi router. There should be something wrong with your WiFi, and that’s why devices fail to connect. Maybe your WiFi router disables SSID broadcast, or maybe your WiFi router isn’t working at all. You should consult the manufacturer for further advice.
  • If other devices can connect to WiFi successfully but your Dell laptop can’t, it’s likely to be your laptop’s problem. Try moving your Dell laptop closer to the WiFi router, so it has stronger signals and hopefully connects successfully.

If this doesn’t help, don’t worry. Try the next fix.


Fix 2: Make sure to turn on WLAN feature in your laptop

Your Dell laptop won’t connect to WiFi properly if the WLAN service is not turned on in your computer. So you should make sure that WLAN feature has been enabled.

There are two ways to enable the WLAN feature in your laptop:

Way 1: Switch on the WiFi button

Some laptops, such as Dell and HP laptops, have a switch on the edge of the laptop, or feature a keyboard shortcut (such as Fn+F5) to turn on WiFi service. You may accidentally disable the WiFi service by switching the button or pressing the keyboard shortcut, so check it out and turn on the WiFi function.

WiFi switch on the edge of the laptop
Keyboard shortcut to enable WiFi feature

Way 2: Configure your network settings

If you don’t have the WiFi switch on your laptop, you can enable the WiFi feature in your computer settings.

Here’s what you need to do:

1) Type Control Panel in the search box on your desktop, and click Control Panel in the result.

2) Choose View by Small icons or View by Large icons, then click Network and Sharing Center.

3) Click Change adapter settings on the left.

4) Right click on your WiFi connection (with a name of WiFi or Wireless Network Connection) and select Enable.

If the connection has been enabled, you’ll see Disable when right clicking it. In that case, you can select Disable, then re-enable it.

5) Restart your laptop and reconnect to WiFi to see if it works.

If this method doesn’t resolve your problem, don’t worry. There is something else to try.


Fix 3: Make sure the WLAN AutoConfig service is running

WLAN AutoConfig service (or Wireless Configuration in Windows XP) provides the logic required to configure, discover, connect to, and disconnect from a wireless local area network (WLAN). If this service is disabled, all the WLAN adapters on your computer won’t work properly. So you should make sure the WLAN AutoConfig service is running properly.

Here’s how to do it:

1) On your keyboard, press the Windows logo key and R at the same time to invoke the Run box.

2) Type services.msc and click OK.

3) Scroll down and double click WLAN AutoConfig.

4) Make sure to set the Startup type to Automatic, and the Service status is Running. Then click Apply and OK to save the changes.

5) Connect your Dell laptop to WiFi again and see if it works.


Fix 4: Update your wireless network adapter driver

A missing or outdated network adapter driver can cause your laptop not connecting to WiFi. To rule it out as the cause for your problem, you should update your network adapter driver to the latest version.

Note: Since your Dell laptop can’t connect to WiFi, you can try Ethernet connection or download the driver into a USB drive in another computer.

There are two ways to update your network adapter driver: manually and automatically.

  • Manually update your driver: You can go to the website of your network adapter, search the latest version of your adapter, then download and install it into your laptop.
  • Automatically update your driver: If you don’t have the time or patience, you can do it automatically with Driver Easy.
Important: If Windows can’t access to the Internet, you can download Driver Easy from another computer. Then install it in this computer. Thanks to the Offline Scan feature provided by Driver Easy, you can download and install network driver even with no Internet.

Driver Easy will automatically recognize your system and find the correct drivers for it. You don’t need to know exactly what system your computer is running, you don’t need to risk downloading and installing the wrong driver, and you don’t need to worry about making a mistake when installing.

You can update your drivers automatically with either the FREE or Pro version of Driver Easy. But with the Pro version it takes just 2 clicks (and you get full support and a 30-day money back guarantee):

1) Download and install Driver Easy (you can try Ethernet connection or the Offline Scan feature).

2) Run Driver Easy and click Scan Now. Then Driver Easy will scan your computer and detect any problem drivers.

3) Click the Update button next to the device name to automatically download the driver (you can do this with the FREE version), then install it in your computer.

Or click Update All to automatically download and install the correct version of all the problem drivers (you can do that with Pro version, and you will be prompted to upgrade when you click Update All).

4) After updating, restart your computer to take effect.

Now connect your laptop to WiFi and see if it works properly.

Still no luck? Don’t give up hope. Move on to the next solution.


Fix 5: Uninstall the incompatible applications

If your Dell laptop is not connecting to WiFi after you install new applications or programs, the reason could be the incompatible application prevents your laptop from connecting to WiFi. So you should uninstall the application(s) to fix your problem.

Many people have reported that SmartByte is the culprit of the connection problem, so try uninstalling it if you have this program installed in your laptop.

Here’s how to uninstall an application:

1) On your keyboard, press the Windows logo key and R at the same time to invoke the Run box.

2) Type appwiz.cpl and click OK.

3) In the Programs and Features list, select the application you want to uninstall, and click Uninstall.

4) Click Yes to verify UAC.

5) Follow the on-screen instructions to finish the uninstall.

Restart your computer and connect to WiFi.


Fix 6: Manually connect to a wireless network

If the methods above doesn’t help resolve your issue, you can try connecting to your WiFi manually in your Dell laptop.

Follow these steps:

1) Type Control Panel in the search box on your desktop, and click Control Panel in the result.

2) Choose View by Small icons or View by Large icons, then click Network and Sharing Center.

3) Click Set up a new connection or network.

4) Choose Manually connect to a wireless network, then click Next.

5) Enter the required information and click Next.

6) Follow the on-screen instructions to finish the process.

Then restart your computer and connect to WiFi to see if it works.


So that’s it. Hope this post helps in resolving Dell laptop not connecting to WiFi issue. If you have any questions, feel free to leave us a comment below.

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