My Laptop Cannot Detect Wi-Fi but My Phone Can: 6 Fixes

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by Aleksandar Ognjanovic
Aleksandar Ognjanovic
Aleksandar Ognjanovic
Troubleshooting Expert
Aleksandar's main passion is technology. With a solid writing background, he is determined to bring the bleeding edge to the common user. With a keen eye, he always... read more
Reviewed by Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Passionate about technology, Windows, and everything that has a power button, he spent most of his time developing new skills and learning more about the tech world. Coming... read more
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  • If your Wi-Fi isn't working on your laptop, there might be issues with its drivers or settings.
  • You can fix this quickly by restarting the Network Setup Service and your PC.
  • Run the Windows troubleshooter, let your OS find the cause, and remedy the issue.
Wi-Fi not working on laptop
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Even with its instability and downsides, Wi-Fi is the most common way to browse the internet without being physically connected to the router. However, some users complain that the laptop cannot detect Wi-Fi while their phone can when tested.

This guide contains a list of detailed solutions to help you fix this issue and restore your wireless connection.

Why does my Wi-Fi connect to my phone but not my laptop?

Various reasons can be responsible if your laptop won’t detect your Wi-Fi, but your phone can. Below are some of the prevalent ones:

  • Faulty drivers: Faulty or outdated network driver is one of the leading reasons your laptop won’t connect to Wi-Fi, but other devices will. The quick solution is to uninstall the driver using one of the best driver uninstaller software and restart your PC.
  • Wrong network setting: The chief cause of the internet not working on the laptop issue is a wrong setting. To fix this, you will need to tweak your network adapter setting and other internet-related settings.
  • Issues with PC Wi-Fi: Sometimes, your laptop Wi-Fi might not work as it should. A series of factors can cause this. The best way to fix this is to run the network troubleshooter.

How can I fix Wi-Fi if it’s not working on my laptop?

1. Change network adapter bandwidth

  1. Press the Windows key + X and select the Device Manager option.
    device manager my laptop cannot detect wifi but my phone can
  2. Click the arrow next to the Network adapters option and double-click your wireless network adapter.
  3. Now, click the Advanced tab at the top.
  4. Select the 802.11n Channel Width for 2.4GHz option from the Property menu and set its Value to 20Mhz only.

One of the reasons your laptop cannot detect your Wi-Fi, but your phone can, is your bandwidth setting. If it is set to auto and the value is too low to detect and connect to your Wi-Fi, you might experience this problem.

The solution is to set its value to the required 20Mhz.

2. Use Command Prompt

  1. Press the Windows key, type cmd, and select Run as administrator under Command Prompt.
    cmd admin my laptop cannot detect wifi but my phone can
  2. Type the following commands and press Enter after each: netsh winsock reset catalognetsh catalog netsh int ipv4 reset reset.lognetsh log
  3. Finally, wait for the commands to finish running and restart your PC.

Sometimes, some vital network components might run into problems, causing your laptop not to detect your Wi-Fi while your phone can. The solution here is to reset these components with the commands above.

3. Restart the Network Setup Service

  1. Press the Windows key + R, type services.msc, and click OK.
    services my laptop cannot detect wifi but my phone can
  2. Double-click the Network Setup Service to open its properties.
  3. Set the Startup type to Automatic and click the Start button.
  4. Now, click the Recovery tab at the top.
  5. Click the dropdown before the First failure option and select Restart the Service.
  6. Finally, click the Apply button, OK, and restart your PC.

Various services need to be running for you to enjoy uninterrupted network connectivity. If an essential service like Network Setup is disabled, your laptop cannot detect your Wi-Fi, but your phone can.

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The solution is to follow the steps above to restart the service.

4. Change IPv4 properties

  1. Press the Windows key + R, type ncpa.cpl, and click OK.
    ncpa my laptop cannot detect wifi but my phone can
  2. Right-click your WiFi network or adapter and select the Properties option.
  3. Click Internet Protocol version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and select the Properties button.
    ip my laptop cannot detect wifi but my phone can
  4. Now, tick the radio button for the two Obtain DNS server address automatically options and click OK.
  5. Finally, restart your PC

If your laptop can’t connect to Wi-Fi, but your phone can, it might be because your PC is not set to obtain the DNS server address. Correcting this should allow your PC to detect and connect to Wi-Fi easily.

5. Run the Windows Troubleshooter

  1. Press the Windows key + I and select the Update & Security option.
    update and
  2. Click the Troubleshoot option in the left pane and select Additional troubleshooters.
    troubleshoot my laptop cannot detect wifi but my phone can
  3. Now, select the Network adapters option and click Run the troubleshooter.
    run trouble

Windows Troubleshooter is commonly overlooked when issues emerge. But it is effective in fixing issues like a laptop cannot detect Wi-Fi, but a phone can. It will detect the possible glitches that might cause the problem and restart the needed components.

6. Reinstall the network drivers

  1. Right-click on the Start icon and select Device Manager.
    device manager my laptop cannot detect wifi but my phone can
  2. Expand the Network adapters option and right-click on your Wi-Fi adapter.
  3. Now, select the Uninstall device option.
    uninstall device my laptop cannot detect wifi but my phone can
  4. Click the Uninstall button.
  5. Finally, restart your PC.

If your laptop still can’t detect your Wi-Fi but your phone can after trying all the fixes above, you need to uninstall and reinstall your network driver. This will clear the glitches causing the issue and reset the connection.

Alternatively, you can try updating your driver using a reliable tool in DriverFix. This tool will scan for faulty and outdated drivers and update them before they can cause problems.


An easy and reliable tool that keeps all drivers up to date.

There you have: Everything solution to use if your laptop cannot detect your Wi-Fi, but your phone can. You only need to follow the detailed steps carefully, and you should be able to connect to your network again.

Similarly, if your laptop Wi-Fi only works close to the router, check our detailed guide to fix it quickly.

For any other questions or suggestions, feel free to address them in the comments section below.

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