Full Guide: How to connect to a hidden Wi-Fi network in Windows 10

Madeleine Dean By: Madeleine Dean
6 minute read

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Connecting your computer to a hidden Wi-Fi network in Windows 10 can be quite tricky because the steps you need to follow are no longer that straightforward. In previous Windows versions, users simply clicked on the “Connect to a hidden network” option, typed the SSID name and the password, and the hidden network remained on the list of available networks.

In Windows 10, the situation is different because it appears that the OS is actually hiding the hidden Wi-Fi network users have connected to, by making it look like all the other hidden networks. In other words, Windows 10 displays a list of hidden networks and no longer connects automatically to familiar networks.

Users are complaining they can’t connect to hidden Wi-Fi networks in Windows 10

Hidden Wi-Fi networks offer slightly better security, but many users reported issues while connecting to a hidden Wi-Fi network on Windows 10. Since this can be a problem, in this article we’re going to cover the following issues:

  • How to find hidden WiFi networks on Windows 10 – There are many ways to find a hidden network, but the best one is to just scan for available networks and the hidden network should be listed as such.
  • Connect to hidden WiFi network Windows 10, 8, 7 – Connecting to a hidden network can be a bit tricky, and in order to do that, you need to know all the necessary information such as the name of the network and its password.
  • Hidden WiFi network setup – Sometimes in order to connect to a hidden network, you need to manually set it up. In addition, you also need to change your router settings and turn off SSID broadcasting.
  • Discover hidden WiFi network – There are several ways to discover a hidden network, but the best one is to enter the correct SSID and password. If you’re a more advanced user, you might want to try using a third-party application to detect a hidden network.

Solution 1 – Manually connect to the hidden SSID network

Hidden Wi-Fi networks have their advantages, and they require few extra steps in order to connect to them. However, these networks don’t offer additional security, and any user that knows the network’s name and password can connect to it.

Sometimes in order to connect to the hidden wireless network, you need to make few changes to your network connection. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Network and Sharing Center.
    Connect to hidden WiFi network Windows 7
  2. Select the name of your hidden Wi-Fi connection.
    How to find hidden WiFi networks on Windows 10
  3. On the Wi-Fi Status box > click on Wireless Properties.
    Hidden WiFi network setup
  4. Check the box Connect even if the network is not broadcasting its name.
    Discover hidden WiFi network

This quick workaround should fix your problem, and your computer should automatically connect to your default hidden Wi-Fi network.


Solution 2 – Turn off your Bluetooth

If you have issues connecting to a hidden Wi-Fi network, you can fix the problem simply by disabling Bluetooth on your device. To do that, you just need to do the following:

  1. Press Windows Key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. When Settings app opens, navigate to Devices section.
    How to find hidden WiFi networks on Windows 10
  3. Now select Bluetooth from the menu on the left and disable Bluetooth from the right pane.
    How to find hidden WiFi networks on Windows 10

After doing that, the Bluetooth will be disabled and you should be able to connect to a hidden Wi-Fi network without any issues.

If you want to quickly disable Bluetooth, you can do it right from the Action Center. To do that, simply follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + A to open the Action Center.
  2. Now locate Bluetooth and click to disable it.
    Connect to hidden WiFi network Windows 7

If these two methods don’t work, you can also try to disable Bluetooth from Device Manager. To do that, just follow these steps:

  1. Open Win + X menu by pressing Windows Key + X. Now select Device Manager from the list.
    Hidden WiFi network setup
  2. When Device Manager opens, locate your Bluetooth device, right click it and choose Disable device from the menu.
    Discover hidden WiFi network
  3. A confirmation dialog will now appear. Click on Yes to confirm.
    How to find hidden WiFi networks on Windows 10

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Once the Bluetooth is disabled, try to connect to a hidden wireless network and check if the problem is resolved.


Solution 3 – Temporarily turn on SSID broadcasting

If you’re having problems connecting to a hidden Wi-Fi network, you might be able to fix the problem simply by temporarily turning on SSID broadcasting. Before you do that, be sure to manually add a hidden network connection on your PC. To do that, just follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the network icon in your Taskbar and choose Open Network & Internet settings.
    Connect to hidden WiFi network Windows 8
  2. When the new window appears, scroll all the way down and click on Network and Sharing Center.
    How to find hidden WiFi networks on Windows 10
  3. Network and Sharing Center window will now appear. Click on Set up a new connection or network.
    Hidden WiFi network setup
  4. Now select Manually connect to a wireless network and click Next.
    Hidden WiFi network setup
  5. Enter the required information such as Network name, Security type, and Security Key. Keep in mind that you need to enter the correct information or else you won’t be able to find and access your network. Also, be sure to enable Connect even if the network is not broadcasting and Start this connection automatically options. Once you’re done, click Next to proceed.
    Discover hidden WiFi network

After you enter the necessary information, check if the problem still persists. If the problem is still present, you need to log in to your router and temporarily turn on SSID broadcasting feature. After doing that, connect to your wireless network. Now go back to your router’s configuration page and turn off SSID broadcasting once again.

After doing that, you should remain connected to the hidden Wi-Fi network and everything should work without any problems.


Solution 4 – Check your power management options

According to users, in order to connect to a hidden network, your network adapter should be prevented from going to sleep. This isn’t hard, and you can change this setting by following these steps:

  1. Open Device Manager.
  2. Locate your network adapter on the list and double-click it to open its properties.
  3. Navigate to Power Management tab and uncheck Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power option. Now click OK to save changes.
    Discover hidden WiFi network

After making these changes, your PC should be able to connect to a hidden network without too many issues.


Solution 5 – Forget the wireless network

If you’re having problems connecting to a hidden wireless network, you might be able to fix the problem simply by forgetting the network. To do that, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Open the list of available networks.
  2. There you should see Hidden network on the list. Select it and click on Forget.
    Connect to hidden WiFi network Windows 10

After doing that, manually connect to the hidden network and check if that solves the problem. This is just a workaround, but it works according to users, so we encourage you to try it out.


Solution 6 – Just select the hidden network from the list of networks

According to users, you can connect to a hidden Wi-Fi network simply by selecting it from the list of networks. To do that, just follow these steps:

  1. Click the Wi-Fi icon on your Taskbar.
  2. List of available networks will now appear. Select Hidden Network and check Connect automatically option. Now click the Connect button.
  3. Enter the name (SSID) of the hidden network. Be sure to enter the correct name or else you won’t be able to connect the hidden network.
  4. Now enter the password for that network and click Next.
  5. When asked whether you want to make your PC discoverable on the network, click Yes. Keep in mind to select Yes only if you’re using a home network that you trust.

After doing that, you should be able to connect to a hidden network without any issues.


Solution 7 – Check if there are any hidden networks available

There are several ways to check for hidden networks, and if you can’t connect to your hidden network, you might want to try using third-party application in order to find a hidden network. There are many tools that can help you with that, and if you want to locate hidden networks, be sure to try NetStumblerm Kismet or NetSurveyor.

Hidden networks can be useful since they can hide themselves from the public, but any user that has the required information can easily access them. As you can see, certain issues can occur while trying to connect to a hidden network, but we hope that you managed to solve them using one of our solutions.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2016 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.


RELATED STORIES YOU NEED TO CHECK OUT:

For various PC problems, we recommend this tool.

This software will repair common computer errors, protect you from file loss, malware, hardware failure and optimize your PC for maximum performance. Fix PC issues now in 3 easy steps:

  1. Download this PC Repair Tool rated "Excellent" on TrustPilot.com.
  2. Click “Start Scan” to find Windows issues that could be causing PC problems.
  3. Click “Repair All” to fix all issues with Patented Technologies (requires upgrade).

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