The latest versions of Windows often have issues with networking connectivity. And in such a case, the Wi-Fi button goes missing and it does not show up on the taskbar tray.
The problems with Wi-Fi network connectivity could be caused by everything from broken Wi-Fi cards to faulty drivers. But, we’ll try to list as many solutions as possible to make sure to fix the problem for you.
Why Is My Wi-Fi Network Not Showing?
Whilst there could be unlimited reasons that could cause the issue with Wi-Fi network, here are the most common causes:
- Outdated Drivers : WLAN drivers are updated with Windows Update quite often. However, if you have the Window Updates turned off, the drivers will be outdated. Outdated WLAN drivers are one of the main reasons why Wi-Fi networks are not showing up.
- Issue With Computer Network Card : Most of the HP laptops are equipped with Wi-Fi cards. And in case if there’s something wrong with the Wi-Fi card, the Wi-Fi network will stop showing on the icon tray. Generally, updating the drivers of the Wi-Fi card can solve the issue but if not, broken Wi-Fi cards have to be replaced which is a lengthy and costly process.
- Interference of Wi-Fi Signal : Everything from fridges to smart TV devices uses Wi-Fi and with that many devices connected to the Wi-Fi network, the interference of Wi-Fi signals is expected. The matching frequency of the devices or outer channels can interfere with the signals of the Wi-Fi, making it unstable and impossible to use.
- Manually Turned-Off Wi-Fi : Many laptops have a small Wi-Fi button located on any side of the laptop. Switching the button off could also cause your Wi-Fi network to disappear. Switching in on would resolve the issue and the Wi-Fi network icon would appear.
On some laptops, pressing F5 (or FN + F5) could also enable and disable the Wi-Fi.
Similarly, sometimes Wi-Fi networking can be blocked from the settings. On Windows 10, users can reset the configurations from Networking & Internet. We’ll be solving this issue as well so make sure to stick around.
- Connections Not Available : Sometimes when there aren’t any Wi-Fi networks available in the vicinity, the Wi-Fi button often disappears. This is not something that should be of concern, the Wi-Fi network will appear once there are any Wi-Fi connections nearby.
- Wi-Fi SSID Hidden : People who have turned off the SSID broadcasting, most because of security concerns may face this issue as well. However, turning on the SSID broadcasting will let nearby devices find the Wi-Fi connection. The broadcasting settings can be customized from the router’s configuration menu.
- Virus and Malware : One of the common causes behind the mysterious disappearance of the Wi-Fi network is that there might be some viruses or malware that may be causing it. Malware and viruses can often intercept the networking configurations. And cause the Wi-Fi network to malfunction.
- System Errors : Some errors within the computer itself could also cause the Wi-Fi network to disappear. Some corrupt driver files are the culprit in most cases. In such a scenario, troubleshooting the network settings is likely to fix the issue.
- Airplane Mode : Toggling the Airplane Mode can also disable the Wi-Fi network settings on your computer. Like on mobile phones, Airplane Mode works the same way and can disrupt networking services.
On HP laptops keyboards, there’s a dedicated button for switching Airplane Mode on or off. Make sure that the Airplane mode is turned off before trying any of the troubleshooting steps.
How to Fix Wi-Fi Network Not Showing Up
There’s a lot of potential fixes if the Wi-Fi network is not showing up. We’ve listed down the best possible fixes that you should try to fix the problem with your Wi-Fi network.
Troubleshooting Network Settings
One of the easiest and the first steps toward fixing the problem with Wi-Fi networking not showing up is by troubleshooting the network settings. Users must start diagnosing the problem by troubleshooting because it is essential and could fix the issue in a matter of minutes.
In order to troubleshoot the network settings, you will need to perform the following steps if you’re running Windows 10 and above:
- Go to Settings
- Locate the ‘Troubleshoot’ tab under the Update & Security section.
- Click on ‘Run the troubleshooter’ under ‘Network Adapter’.
The troubleshooter wizard will pop up and start to detect the errors that are behind the cause of the problem. If the error is caused by broken files or faulty network configurations, the troubleshooter would resolve the problem and the Wi-Fi network would appear on the taskbar.
For Windows 7 users, they can search ‘Fix and Fix Networking And Connection Error’ and click on the application. After it comes up, the troubleshooter will start to work on fixing the problem.
Updating the Drivers
The majority of people managed to resolve the issue with their Wi-Fi network by updating the WLAN drivers. Outdated or corrupted drivers may cause the Wi-Fi network option to disappear. But, updating to the latest version of the drivers could solve the issue.
Perform the following steps to update your WLAN drivers:
- Go to the start search box and open Device Manager.
- Located ‘Network Adapters’ and expand it.
- Right-click on the ‘WLAN Network Connection’ and click on “Update Driver Software”.
- Afterward, choose the option that says “Search Automatically for Updated Software”.
The computer will search online for the drivers and if it has found the right ones, it will automatically download and install them. However, in case the PC isn’t connecting to the internet due to network problems, you will have to manually install new drivers.
Since Wi-Fi networks are working, using an Ethernet cable would give you access to the internet.
Enable Wireless Network Connection
While most laptops have Wi-Fi buttons on their exterior, the Wi-Fi network settings can also be enabled from the Network settings. To ensure that the Wi-Fi networking settings are enabled, perform the following steps:
- Open Control Panel
- Navigate to ‘Network and Sharing Center’
- Click on ‘Change adapter settings’’
- Right-click on the Wi-Fi connection and make sure that it is enabled.
If you see that the ‘Enable’ option cannot be clicked then it means that the Wi-Fi network connection is already enabled. In such a case, choose to disable and then enable it again. It will reset the network connection and might solve the issue.
Furthermore, if you’re on a laptop and have a switch that can turn off or on the Wi-Fi network then you must turn off the Wi-Fi network connections and restart it. Afterward, restart your PC to see if the problem is resolved. If not, keep on reading.
Enable SSID Broadcast on Wi-Fi
SSID broadcast is often turned off to keep the internet predators away. However, if Wi-Fi networks on not showing on your laptop, it is essential to turn on the SSID broadcasting.
In the router configurations settings, users can opt to either make their Wi-Fi available to all devices or they can make the SSID hidden to only keep the Wi-Fi to themselves.
On most routers, there’s a dedicated button for enabling/disabling the SSID routers. Users can enable the SSID broadcast feature on the modem and the Wi-Fi will now be visible on the Wi-Fi network of your laptop.
However, if there isn’t a dedicated button on the laptop, perform the following steps to enable SSID broadcast on your Wi-Fi router:
- Open the router Configuration Settings. (Generally, it’s 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1. Users can check the back of their router to find the exact address).
- Enter the Login credentials, found on the backside of the router.
- Click on ‘Wireless’ and navigate to ‘Wireless Settings’. (The menu might be different for each router but settings of SSID broadcast will be found under ‘Wireless Settings’.
- Check the box for ‘Enable SSID Broadcast’ and click on ‘Save’.
- Exit the settings and restart the router.
Changing WLAN Services
The WLAN services or Wi-Fi networking settings are responsible for connecting to the nearby wireless connection simultaneously. If the WLAN services are disabled or opted manually, the Wi-Fi network may not appear. In such a case, users will have to tweak the settings and set the services to work automatically.
To configure the settings for WLAN services, perform the following steps:
- Click on Start Button and search for ‘Services’.
- Locate the “WLAN Auto Config” service and double-click on it.
- A tab will appear and from it, click on the dropdown menu from Startup type.
- Choose ‘Automatic’ and apply the settings.
- Restart the PC.
The WLAN AutocConfig service that is either stopped or opted for manually may cause the Wi-Fi network to stop working. And hence the Wi-Fi button doesn’t show up. But, once you’ve enabled it, the Wi-Fi option will appear on the tray.
Explorer.exe is a module of Microsoft Windows that executes various tasks on the operating system. It is also responsible for running the Start and Taskbar. Explorer.exe starts automatically when a computer is turned on.
However, the fast-boot option can oftentimes delay the start-up process of the explorer.exe module and many functions including the battery meter, Wi-Fi button, sound option, and clock disappear. Restarting the explorer.exe module may resolve the problem.
Follow these steps to safely restart the explorer.exe module on Windows 10/11:
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc and Task Manager will be brought up.
- Click on the ‘Details’ tab and locate ‘explorer.exe’.
- Select the ‘explorer.exe’ and End task.
- Now click on ‘File’ at the top-left corner of the Task Manager.
- Click on ‘Run New Task’.
- Write ‘explorer.exe’ in the run bar and check the box for admin privileges.
The Windows Explorer module will restart and may fix the issue of the Wi-Fi button now showing up. Moreover, for Windows 7 users, they can locate ‘explorer.exe’ in the processes tab, the rest of the steps are the same.
Sometimes the Wi-Fi routers have a glitch of their own and they stop broadcasting the Wi-Fi signals. Although the exact cause is hard to diagnose, restarting the router seems to fix the issue as well. Upon making sure that SSID broadcast is enabled and the Wi-Fi router is behaving properly, try connecting with the Wi-Fi network.
Replacing Wi-Fi Card
If you’ve tried all the potential fixes and the Wi-Fi network is still not showing up, it could mean that the Wi-Fi card is damaged. For laptop users, the Wi-Fi card is installed on the chassis underneath the panels.
Even a single drop of water or harshly throwing away your laptop could’ve broken the Wi-Fi card, hence the issue. In such a case, the Wi-Fi card will have to be replaced.
However, if you’re not in awe of spending a substantial amount of money in getting your laptop repaired to have the Wi-Fi card replaced, buying a Wi-Fi adapter would be the right choice. It is a cheap alternative and can get the Wi-Fi up and running.
Frequently Asked Question
What to Do if the Wi-Fi Network Not Showing After Trying All the Fixes on the Computer?
Similarly, for PCs, a broken or faulty Wi-Fi card could be the culprit behind the problem. For PC users, there are two options to fix the issue for them. They can either have the Wi-Fi card replaced or find a suitable USB Wi-Fi adapter that would serve their needs well.
The 2.4Ghz USB Wi-Fi adapters can be pretty fast and reliable. They can be used as an alternative to motherboards’ pre-built Wi-Fi cards.