[Solved] WiFi Network Not Showing Up on Computer

Lillian Lai, in Common error Tags: network issueWiFiWindows

When you are at a café and open your laptop, then try to connect to WiFi network as usual, but only to find the WiFi network not showing up in the WiFi network list, this is kind of annoying, right? No worries!

Generally speaking, this problem occurs due to several common reasons: the problem inside your computer or the WiFi issue. However, the good news is you can easily locate your problem and solve it. This guideline introduces 6 methods for you to troubleshoot. You may not need to try them all; just start at the top of the list and work your way down.

Method 1: Enable WiFi service
Method 2: Turn on WLAN AutoConfig service
Method 3: Update WiFi network driver
Method 4: Restart your modem and wireless router
Method 5: Enable SSID broadcast
Method 6: Check the device interference

Note 1: First of all, please make sure you are within the WiFi network range while you are following the steps below. Second, some laptops, such as HP, Lenovo, Dell, etc. have a switch or a key on your keyboard to turn on/off WiFi (like Fn+F5). Therefore, if you accidentally turn it off, please check and turn it on.

Note 2: The following screen shots are shown on Windows 10, but the fixes apply to Windows 7 and Windows 8 as well.

Method 1: Enable WiFi service

This problem happens most likely because your Windows disables the WiFi service. You can’t connect to the WiFi if your Windows disables it. So you can try these steps to enable WiFi service.

1) Right click the Internet icon, and click Open Network and Sharing Center.

2) Click Change adapter settings.

3) Right click WiFi, and click Enable. Note: if it has enabled, you will see Disable when right click on WiFi (also referred to Wireless Network Connection in different computers).

4) Restart your Windows and reconnect to your WiFi again。

Method 2: Turn on WLAN AutoConfig service

WLAN AutoConfig service (also referred to Wireless Configuration in Windows XP) can configure wireless security and connectivity settings. When enabled, WLAN AutoConfig settings apply to all IEEE 802.11 wireless network adapters installed on your computer. Moreover, when the WiFi becomes available, it will automatically connect to a preferred wireless network. You can follow these steps to enable it:

1) On your keyboard, press Windows logo key + R at the same time to invoke the Run box, and type services.msc, then press Enter.

2) Right click Wlan AutoConfig (if you are using Windows XP, right click Wireless Configuration), and click Properties.

3) Select Automatic in Startup type, then click Apply, and click OK

4) Restart your PC and reconnect to your WiFi network to see the problem is solved

Method 3: Update WiFi network driver

Wireless network driver allows your operating system to communicate with your wireless and network adapters. This problems usually occur due to the missing, outdated, or corrupt drivers. You can try to update the driver to the latest version:

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

2) Type devmgmt.msc, and press Enter

3) Right click your WiFi network adapter in Network adapters section, and click Uninstall device (If you are using Windows 7 & 8, click Uninstall).

4) Check the box next to Delete the driver software for this device, and click Uninstall (If you are using Windows 7 & 8, click OK).

5) Restart your PC. After restarting, connect your computer to the Internet via Ethernet cable. Then your Windows should automatically reinstall the driver. Assuming it installs the latest correct driver, this may resolve the problem.

If you are not familiar with playing around with driver issues, you can do that with Driver Easy

Driver Easy will detect the drivers condition in your computer, and install the correct drivers for your PC. More importantly, with Driver Easy, you don’t need to struggle figuring out the Operating System, and you don’t need to worry about making mistakes while processing. That will tremendously save your time and patience.

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

1) Download and install Driver Easy (at first connect your computer to the Internet via Ethernet cable).

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

3) Click Update button next to the driver name to download and install the correct driver (you can do that with the FREE version). 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).

Important: If the Windows can’t access to the Internet, you can download Driver Easy from another computer. Then install it in this computer. Due to the Offline Scan feature provided by Driver Easy, you can download and install network driver even with no Internet. 

4) After updating the drivers, restart your computer, then connect to the WiFi network again, and see if your problem solves.

Method 4: Restart your modem and wireless router

If the problem occurs to your own WiFi network at home, you can also check the WiFi itself to see if it’s your WiFi issue, including the router issue, SSID broadcast and device interference mentioned below.

This problem can be probably caused by the Internet Service Provider (ISP) issue. Restarting your modem and wireless router can help you reconnect to your ISP. Note: anyone who is connecting to the network will be disconnected temporarily while you are doing this.

1) Unplug your wireless router and modem from power source (remove the battery if your modem has a battery backup).

2) Wait for at least 30 seconds.

3) Plug your wireless router and modem back into power source again (put the battery back to the modem).

4) On your PC, reconnect to your WiFi network, then see if it shows up.

What is WiFi Network Frequency

Tips: If it is the first time to connect to the WiFi, you will need to pay attention to the WiFi network frequency. You can’t connect if your computer uses mismatched frequency with your router’s.

Usually WiFi network frequency has 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Nowadays many routers are dual-band model, so it both supports 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz band. To check your WiFi network frequency, you can go to the router manufacturer’s website. While you can also check your Windows WiFi network frequency: type netsh wlan show drivers in the Command Prompt and press Enter, then it will show you the supported protocols.

Generally speaking, 802.11a/ac uses the 5 GHz band, 802.11b/g uses the 2.4 GHz band, and 802.11n uses either the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz band. if they don’t match or include the frequencies of your router, you can’t see the WiFi network in your computer.

Method 5: Enable SSID broadcast

Service Set Identifier (SSID) broadcast is what makes your WiFi network visible to your network adapter. Once you disable SSID broadcast, your WiFi network will not show up in the list.

Tips: Many people disable SSID broadcast for security concerns. By doing this, they can hide the WiFi network, so the network name won’t be seen by others. But the first time to connect to the WiFi network, you’ll have to configure the profile settings manually, including the network name and security mode. After making the initial connection, devices can remember these settings and will not need to be specially configured again.

You can try the instructions below to enable your SSID broadcast. The specific interface may vary from different computers. Here we take TP-link WiFi router as an example:

1) Go and see the IP address, username and password on your wireless router.

2) Open your browser on PC or mobile phone (connect to the Internet via Ethernet cable on your PC or use mobile phone that has internet connection).

3) Type the IP address in your browser, and press Enter.

4) Type your User name and Password, then click Login.

5) Go to Wireless > Wireless Settings. Check the box next to Enable SSID broadcast, and click Save.

7) Restart your PC and reconnect to your WiFi network.

Method 6: Check the device interference

The WiFi signals can be interfered by many household devices, such as your cordless phone, microwave oven, Bluetooth speaker, etc. because they use the same 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequencies. Therefore, you can check these devices to see if it’s where the problem lies in.

1) Turn off those devices, and unplug the power source

2) On your PC, try to connect your WiFi again, and see if it shows up.

3) If the problem solves, it seems to result from the devices interference. Then move your modem and wireless router to another place, so they are not in the same light with the household devices.

That’s all about it. If it helps, share with us which method that helps. If the WiFi network still doesn’t show up in the network list, and you are not sure how to deal with it, please feel free to leave us a comment below and we will see what more we can do to help.

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