Wi-Fi icon is missing on Windows 10 [COMPLETE GUIDE]
Many of us access Internet by using a wireless connection, but Windows 10 users reported an unusual problem with Wi-Fi. According to them, the Wi-Fi icon is missing in Windows 10, so let’s see how to fix this little problem.
What can I do if my Wi-Fi icon is missing on Windows 10?
- Reinstall your wireless adapter drivers
- Turn off Wi-Fi Sense
- Change System icons settings
- Make sure that your wireless adapter appears in Device Manager
- Make sure that Airplane mode is turned off
- Restart Explorer
- Edit Group Policy
- Try to disable your network connection
- Perform full shutdown
- Check if the Wi-Fi icon is hidden
- Run the Internet Troubleshooter
- Clean boot your computer
- Create a new user profile
Solution 1 – Reinstall your wireless adapter drivers
To fix this problem you’ll need to reinstall your wireless adapter drivers. To do that, first download the latest wireless adapter drivers for your device.
After that, you’ll need to uninstall your currently installed drivers by following these steps:
- Press Windows Key + X to open Power User Menu and select Device Manager from the list.
- Locate your wireless adapter, right click it and choose Uninstall from the menu.
- If available, select Delete driver software for this device and click OK.
- After doing that, restart your PC.
When your PC restarts Windows 10 will automatically install the default driver. If the default driver doesn’t work properly, try to install the wireless adapter driver that you already downloaded.
After the driver is reinstalled, the Wi-Fi icon should appear again.
Update drivers automatically (suggested)
After you have uninstalled your drivers, we recommend reinstalling/update them automatically. Downloading and installing drivers manually is a process that carries the risk of getting the wrong driver installed, which may lead to serious malfunctions of your system.
The safer and easier way to update drivers on a Windows computer is by using an automatic tool. We strongly recommend DriverFix tool.
It automatically identifies each device on your computer and matches it with the latest driver versions from an extensive online database. Drivers can then be updated in batches or one at a time, without requiring the user to make any complex decisions in the process.
Here is how it works:
- Download and install DriverFix
- Once installed, the program will quickly scan and identify out-of-date or missing Windows Drivers.
DriverFix compares your PC against its Cloud database of 18 million Windows drivers and recommends proper updates. All you need to do is wait for the scan to complete.
- Upon scan completion, you get a full report of out-of-date drivers found on your PC. Review the list and see if you want to update each driver individually or all at once. To update one driver at a time, click the ‘Update’ link next to the driver name. Or simply click the ‘Update all’ button to automatically install all recommended updates.
Note: Some drivers need to be installed in multiple steps so you will have to hit the ‘Update’ button several times until all of its components are installed.
Disclaimer: some features of this tool are not free.
Solution 2 – Turn off Wi-Fi Sense
According to users, Wi-Fi Sense can cause Wi-Fi icon to become missing in Windows 10, but you can easily fix this issue by disabling Wi-Fi Sense. To do that, you need to follow these steps:
- Open the Settings app and go to Network & Internet.
- Go to Wi-Fi tab and click Manage Wi-Fi Settings.
- Locate Wi-Fi Sense and turn it off.
After doing that, restart your PC and check if the problem is resolved.
Solution 3 – Change System icons settings
Sometimes your Wi-Fi icon might be missing because of your System icons settings. Using System icon settings you can select which icons will appear on your Taskbar so make sure that Network icon is enabled.
To do that, follow these steps:
- Open the Settings app and go to System.
- Navigate to Notifications & actions tab and click on Turn system icons on or off.
- Locate Network icon and be sure that it’s turned on. If it’s not, turn it back on.
- Go back and click on Select which icons appear on the taskbar.
- Look for Network icon and be sure that it’s set to On.
After doing that, the Wi-Fi icon should always appear in your Taskbar.
If more than one icons are missing from your Windows 10 desktop, take a look at this guide to get them back.
Solution 4 – Make sure that your wireless adapter appears in Device Manager
If the Wi-Fi icon is missing, you need to check if the Wireless Network Adapter appears in Device Manager. To do that, follow these steps:
- Open Device Manager.
- When Device Manager opens, click the Scan for hardware changes button.
- After doing that your wireless network adapter should appear along with the Wi-Fi icon.
Some users are also suggesting to remove WAN Miniport adapters from Device Manager, so you might want to try that as well.
Solution 5 – Make sure that Airplane mode is turned off
According to users, this problem can appear if the Airplane mode is turned on, so be sure to check the status of Airplane mode. To turn off Airplane mode, do the following:
- Open the Action Center.
- Locate Airplane mode icon and click it to turn off Airplane mode.
Alternatively, you can turn off Airplane mode from Settings app by following these steps:
- Open the Settings app and go to Network & Internet section.
- Select Airplane mode tab and locate Airplane mode section. Be sure to set Turn this on to stop all wireless communication option to Off to disable Airplane mode.
Airplane mode will stop all wireless communication, so if your Wi-Fi icon is missing, be sure to check if the Airplane mode isn’t turned on.
If you’re having any Airplane mode errors, we recommend you to take a look at this article.
Solution 6 – Restart Explorer
One workaround that users suggested is to restart Windows Explorer process. For some unknown reason the Wi-Fi icon is missing on Windows 10, but after restarting Windows Explorer the issue was resolved.
To restart Windows Explorer, do the following:
- Open Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
- When Task Manager opens, locate the Windows Explorer process, right click it and choose Restart.
- After Windows Explorer restarts the Wi-Fi icon should appear.
Alternatively, you can also choose End Task from the menu to end Windows Explorer process. If you decide to end Windows Explorer process, you need to restart it manually by following these steps:
- In Task Manager choose File > Run new task.
- Enter explorer and press Enter or click OK.
Solution 7 – Edit Group Policy
According to users, you can enable Wi-Fi icon simply by editing Group Policy. To do that, follow these steps:
- Press Windows Key + R and enter gpedit.msc. Press Enter or click OK.
- Group Policy Editor will now open. In the left pane navigate to the User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Start Menu and Taskbar.
- In the right pane locate Remove the networking icon option and double click it.
- Select Disabled option and click Apply and OK to save changes.
- Close Group Policy Editor and restart your PC.
Solution 8 – Try to disable your network connection
If the Wi-Fi icon is missing, you can fix this problem simply by disabling and enabling your wireless network connection. To do that, follow these steps:
- Press Windows Key + X and select Network Connections from the menu.
- When Network Connections window opens, right click your wireless network and choose Disable from the menu.
- Repeat the same step, but this time choose Enable from the menu.
After re-enabling your wireless network connection the Wi-Fi icon should appear on your Taskbar.
Solution 9 – Perform a full shutdown
Depending on your power settings Windows 10 might not fully shut down when you press the power button, but you can shutdown your PC using the Command Prompt. To do that, follow these steps:
- Press Windows Key + X and select Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu.
- When Command Prompt opens, enter shutdown /p and press Enter.
Your PC will now turn off completely. After your system boots again the Wi-Fi icon should appear.
Solution 10 – Check if the Wi-Fi icon is hidden
Sometimes the Wi-Fi icon might be hidden on your Taskbar. To reveal all icons, do the following:
- Press the top arrow at the bottom right corner to show hidden icons.
- If the Wi-Fi icon is available, simply drag it to your Taskbar, and it should stay there permanently.
Solution 11- Run the Internet Troubleshooter
Even if the built-in Internet Troubleshooter is usually used to fix connection issues, some users confirmed that it helped them fix the missing Wi-Fi problem.
So, go to Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshooter > select and run the Internet Troubleshooter. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the scan and then restart your computer.
Solution 12 – Clean boot your computer
If the issue persists, perform a clean boot. In this manner, your Windows 10 computer will boot up with a minimal set of drivers. If the missing Wi-Fi icon issue is triggered by incompatible driver problems, then this workaround should help you fix it.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Type System Configuration in the search box > hit Enter
- On the Services tab > select the Hide all Microsoft services check box > click Disable all.
- On the Startup tab > click on Open Task Manager.
- On the Startup tab in Task Manager > select all items > click Disable.
- Close the Task Manager.
- On the Startup tab of the System Configuration dialog box > click OK> restart your computer > check if the Wi-Fi icon is now visible.
Solution 13 – Create a new user profile
If this Wi-Fi icon issues is triggered by corrupted user profiles, you need to create a new user profile and check if the issue persists on the new profile as well.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Go to Start > Settings > Accounts > Family & other people
- Select ‘Add someone else to this PC’
- Enter a user name, password, password hint > click Next.
If you’re having a corrupt user profile, here are the best ways you can fix it quick and easy.
Missing Wi-Fi icon on Windows 10 isn’t a major problem, but some users prefer having the Wi-Fi icon on their Taskbar. If you’re having this problem, be sure to try some of our solutions from this article.
- Anniversary Update doesn’t fix 5 Ghz Wi-Fi issues
- How to fix Wi-Fi range issues on Windows 10
- How to protect your Windows 10 device on public Wi-Fi network
- Fix: Hosted network could not be started on Windows 10
- Fix: Unable to Connect to Wi-Fi After Updates in Windows 8.1/ Windows 10
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2016 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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