How to Connect to a Wireless Network in Windows 7

Get your computer on a Wi-Fi network

What to Know

  • Easiest: select Wireless Networking > network name > Connect.
  • For a secure network, enter the network password at the prompt. 

This article explains how to connect to wireless networks and the necessary configuration steps in Windows 7.

As of January 2020, Microsoft no longer supports Windows 7. We recommend upgrading to Windows 10 to continue receiving security updates and technical support.

Choosing and Connecting to a Network

Here's how to find and connect to a wireless network.

  1. To view a list of available wireless networks, select the Wireless Networking icon in the Notification area on the left side of the Taskbar.

  2. Select the desired network name and choose Connect.

    If the network you are trying to connect to is unsecured (meaning that a password is not required), you should be able to access the internet and other network resources right away. If the network is secured, continue to the steps below.

    If the network you are trying to connect to is not listed, the router may not be broadcasting the network's SSID (wireless network's name). Refer to your router's documentation to determine the steps necessary to enable SSID broadcasting.

    Screenshot of available networks in Windows 7

    Avoid public networks that are not encrypted whenever possible. On a public unencrypted network, someone can hijack your connection and see what you are transferring over the airwaves.

Connecting to a Secured Network

Secured networks require authentication. If you are connecting to a secured wireless network, you have two options to authenticate: You can enter the required password or use the Secure Easy Setup button on the router if it supports that method.

  1. When prompted, enter the network password.

    To view the characters in the text field, clear the Hide Characters checkbox. This is especially useful if the password is long and complex.

  2. Alternatively, when prompted to enter the password, walk over to the router and press the Secure Easy Setup button on the router. After a couple of seconds, the computer should connect to the wireless network.

    If Secure Easy Setup doesn't work, try again. If it's still not working, the feature might be disabled on your router. Consult the router's instruction manual to enable and configure the feature.

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