FIX: Wi-Fi is showing limited access in Windows 7

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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There’s only so much that can go wrong whenever you’re using a wireless connection. It gets worse when the connection drags, drops, or cannot connect at all.

Some of the common causes when WiFi is showing limited access in Windows 7 include:

  1. Missing updates
  2. Incorrect network connection settings
  3. Damaged or incompatible drivers
  4. Hardware or software problems
  5. Incorrect WEP, WPA, or WPA2 security keys or passphrases
  6. Boot in Safe Mode with Networking
  7. Configure WLAN settings
  8. Check router settings
  9. Configure WinHTTP proxy setting to use direct access

Here are some tips and solutions you can use when WiFi is showing limited access in Windows 7.

What to do if WiFi is showing limited access in Windows 7

  1. Use automatic troubleshooting
  2. Reinstall wireless network adapter driver
  3. Update wireless network drivers
  4. Check and reset hardware
  5. Perform a System Restore
  6. Change your wireless environment
  7. Update router firmware
  8. Boot in Safe Mode with Networking
  9. Configure WLAN settings
  10. Check router settings
  11. Configure WinHTTP proxy setting to use direct access

If your computer has a wireless key or button, press it to enable your wireless adapter. Once the wireless activity comes on or a light turns on, it is enabled. Try connecting to the internet again.

However, if you don’t have a wireless key or the lights are off, try the solutions below.


Looking for the best Wi-Fi signal booster software for Windows 7? Here are our top picks.


Solution 1: Use automatic troubleshooting

Use the automated troubleshooter built into Windows 7. The Windows 7 Network and Internet Troubleshooter tests your network for problems and tries to repair any issues found, automatically.

  • Right click Start
  • Select Control Panel

WiFi is showing limited access in Windows 7

  • Click View by and choose Large icons

WiFi is showing limited access in Windows 7

  • Click Troubleshooting

WiFi is showing limited access in Windows 7

  • Click Network and Internet

WiFi is showing limited access in Windows 7

  • Click Advanced
  • Ensure the Apply repairs automatically box is checked then click next
  • Click Troubleshoot my connection to the Internet and follow the instructions to check for problems

If any problems are found, you will see detailed information on these issues, or actions you can take. Windows can also show you what it fixed.

Try connecting again, and if WiFi is showing limited access in Windows 7, go the next step.


USB Wi-Fi adapter is not connecting to the Internet? Check out this guide to solve the issue!


Solution 2: Reinstall wireless network adapter driver

This clears registry values and reset configurations so that drivers can set up properly for access by Windows. You can do this via Device Manager as described below:

  • Right click Start > type Device Manager > launch the tool
  • Find Network adapters and click to expand it

WiFi is showing limited access in Windows 7

  • Right click the name of your wireless network adapter and select Uninstall
  • Click OK and wait for the uninstall process to be completed
  • Go to Action under Device Manager

Run a System Scan to discover potential errors

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WiFi is showing limited access in Windows 7

  • Select Scan for Hardware changes. Your computer will reinstall wireless networks and the network adapter name will reflect in the category.

WiFi is showing limited access in Windows 7

  • Close Device manager and restart your computer then try connecting to the internet again

Learn to update your drivers like a pro with the help of our handy guide!


Update drivers automatically

In order to prevent PC damage by installing the wrong driver versions,  we suggest to do it automatically by using Tweakbit’s Driver Updater tool.

This tool is approved by Microsoft and Norton Antivirus and will help you not damaging your PC by downloading and installing the wrong driver versions.

After several tests, our team concluded that this is the best automatized solution. Below you can find a quick guide how to do it.

    1. Download and install TweakBit Driver Updater
    2. driver updater starting windowOnce installed, the program will start scanning your PC for outdated drivers automatically. Driver Updater will check your installed driver versions against its cloud database of the latest versions and recommend proper updates. All you need to do is wait for the scan to complete.tweakbit driver updater scanning
    3. Upon scan completion, you get a report on all problem 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 driver’ link next to the driver name. Or simply click the ‘Update all’ button at the bottom to automatically install all recommended updates.
      tweakbit driver updater scan finished
      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 function of this tool are not free.

Solution 3: Update wireless network drivers

When you download and install the latest driver for your wireless adapter, it resolves any issues such as when WiFi is showing limited access in Windows 7.

You can either get driver updates from your device’s manufacturer website, or from other sites, or install using Device Manager (but this is when an internet connection is available).

Here’s how to use Device Manager to update your wireless network drivers:

  • Right click Start
  • Select Device Manager
  • Find Network adapters and click to expand it

WiFi is showing limited access in Windows 7

  • Right click the name of your wireless network adapter and select Update Driver software

WiFi is showing limited access in Windows 7

  • Click Search automatically for updated driver software. If one is found, follow the instructions to install it. if not, check the manufacturer’s website.

WiFi is showing limited access in Windows 7

Solution 4: Check and reset hardware

  1. Click Start
  2. Select Power and click Shut Down
  3. Unplug the power cord from your wireless router/gateway or wireless modem/router
  4. Unplug the power cord from your broadband modem
  5. Wait five seconds and then plug the power cord back to the wireless router and wait for the lights to come on and reflect the normal internet and computer activity.
  6. Turn on your computer and perform a hard set once Windows loads. If it doesn’t connect automatically, click the Network Connection icon on the notification area and select your network.
  7. Click Connect

If this doesn’t help when WiFi is showing limited access in Windows 7, try performing a System Restore.

Editor’s Note: This article continues on the next page. If you’re interested in reading more on the best software and hardware that you can use to boost your wireless connection, check out our wide collection of guides.

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