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On my laptop I have a strange bug or something that fairly frequently causes wireless networking to become spontaneously disabled. Network connections drop out & all available APs disappear.

Using the Windows 7 troubleshooter (right-click on networking tray icon -> troubleshoot) detects the issue & correctly fixes it every time, but it takes a few minutes. I know what the resolution is & am wondering if there is a way to (quickly) enable wireless networking in Win7?

Here's a screenshot of the resolution screen that I'm trying to shortcut to.

Turn on wireless capability in Win7

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    Just to eliminate the "kick myself" option, lots of laptops come with a button you can push that does an RFKILL, effectively turning off the wifi radio. Is there any possibility you are inadvertently hitting this button?
    – Paul
    Jul 30, 2012 at 2:16
  • @Paul my laptop has a hardware switch for that functionality. It is definitely on, as wifi is restored through the OS. Is there a counter signal to RFKILL to enable? Aug 1, 2012 at 0:19
  • I do have a software switch for wifi - but it involves pressing Fn-F5, which brings up a Lenovo software dialog with options that need to be moused to & clicked in order to enable / disable wifi. I fear the chance of this happening accidentally is remote, coupled with the fact it happens almost daily. Aug 8, 2012 at 5:49

5 Answers 5

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This happens because power management turned off wireless capability when not in use. You can change this setting:

  1. Open Network Connections
  2. Right-click on the wireless connection and select Properties
  3. Click Configure next to the wireless adapter

Configure option

  1. Click the Power Management tab
  2. Uncheck "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power"

Like this:

enter image description here

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    Perfect. This was exactly what was happening. My battery is old and the power management started the computer with the wifi disabled. Thanks Sam
    – AlexC
    May 29, 2013 at 14:12
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    This should be accepted as answer. This works for me. Nov 19, 2013 at 11:02
  • I had to restart my computer as well after I followed the steps.
    – Anton
    Apr 17, 2015 at 2:33
  • Are these the correct instructions for Windows 7?  They don’t work for me.  And I don’t mean that following the instructions doesn’t solve the problem; I mean I can’t follow these instructions, as written.  (1) Where on the Start Menu is “Network Connections”?  (2) When I open the Network and Sharing Center, right-click on the wireless connection does nothing; I have to left - click. Jun 21, 2017 at 6:15
  • @Scott My mistake. You are correct. The network connections option is not in the Start Menu by default. I made a mistake in my previous edit.
    – Stevoisiak
    Jun 21, 2017 at 15:21
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What I think is that you must have accidently pressed the wifi off option from "Windows Mobility center". Try opening it from "Windows Mobility center". You can open "Windows Mobility center" by opening control panel and type "Windows Mobility center".

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  • I have had this problem, and turning Wifi on from "Windows Mobility Center" fixed it. I hadn't turned it off myself (I would have remembered!), but I think the Lenovo "Access Connections" likes to turn Wifi on/off... or rather, it likes to turn it off, but not back on again.
    – psmears
    Nov 10, 2013 at 8:54
  • That's what was the problem on my laptop too. Didn't turn it off, but I guess it's another program that did.
    – Jerry
    Jun 30, 2014 at 11:57
  • Yup, this was my problem too. Vital keywords to add for other searchers: with WiFi Intel Manual Diagnostic tool "Software radio is OFF" means wireless is disabled in Windows Mobility Center, and "Hardware radio is OFF" means the laptop switch is off (button on the front/side or Fn-F2/F3/...) Feb 17, 2015 at 5:49
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Sometimes none of above will be useful because the wireless adapter has been disabled from BIOS, in this case you need to enter to the BIOS and set it as default, then login again and go "Windows Mobility Center" through Control Panel and you can turn the wireless adapter ON/OFF.

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  • After having this problem for ages getting worse, it appears even though I couldn't find a specific BIOS setting, resetting BIOS settings to defaults fixed it. Jun 2, 2017 at 21:51
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My wild guess: Your laptop has a software- controlled button for toggling wifi ( possibly on the keyboard) which you accidentally press, disabling the network adapter. In that case you should be able to turn it on by pressing said button.

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I used FnF2. The F2 on my laptop has a little antenna icon. Must have hit this by mistake once!

This toggles the WiFi on and off.

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  • That happened! I pressed it thinking it is not working and it led me into problems. :D
    – Porwal
    Feb 14, 2017 at 18:34

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