It can be a real headache not to see the wireless icon in adapter settings under network connections. That is especially so at times when you badly need to connect to the Internet via a wireless network. Many causes can be responsible for the missing WiFi icon, including wireless adapter driver issues, corrupted adapter firmware, disabled wireless radio, or improper Windows installation.
So we’ve taken the time to dig into some of the fixes for missing WiFi icon on laptop. While these methods are general in nature, you can try one or all of the steps covered for Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1, and Windows 10.
Update driver software for wireless adapter
Outdated driver software can lead to several issues with hardware. These include driver corruption, missing software components, and incompatible driver. Updating to the latest version of software for your driver can repair any issue related to legacy software.
Update the router and adapter firmware
An outdated firmware can sometimes block your router from gaining access to the Internet. The impact extends all the way to the adapter. As firmware updates vary from one manufacturer to another, you can refer to the user guide that came with your router to update its firmware.
The best way to safely update your drivers is to use a specialized tool which will keep you away from downloading and installing the wrong driver versions. Download TweakBit’s Driver Updater Tool (approved by Microsoft and Norton) to do it automatically and prevent the risk of downloading and installing the wrong driver versions.
Disclaimer: some functions of this tool are not free.
Turn on wireless radio
If the WiFi icon is not showing on your laptop, chances are that the wireless radio is disabled on your device. You can enable it back again by turning on the hard or soft button for the wireless radio. Refer to your PC manual to locate such a button.
Also, you can turn on the wireless radio through the BIOS setup. Enter the BIOS setting during the reboot process and locate the network settings page. From there, you can enable the wireless radio. Save the changes and exit BIOS.
Perform a system restore
The WiFi icon may sometimes disappear after waking your PC up from hibernation mode. You can fix this issue by restoring your system to a previous setting when it was performing fine. First, go to System Restore and select a restore point when wireless network is in proper condition. Then wait for the process to complete.
Install a USB wireless adapter
If all else fails, the only option left is to buy a USB wireless adapter. You can plug these LAN card dongles into a standard USB port in order to connect to the Internet.
If you know of other workarounds to fix a missing WiFi icon on laptop, share your ideas in the comments below.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2017 and has been since revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness. We want to be sure that our list has the best products that will fit your needs.