Connecting a PC to a Wireless Home Network

Troubleshooting a connection on Windows

Using a computer without an internet connection is virtually impossible now, especially with our dependence on cloud computing. Follow these steps if you're having issues connecting your PC to your wireless network and get back online.

Instructions in this article apply to Windows 10.

Adding a New Wireless Network

To create a connection to a wireless home network or public WiFi, first, you must configure a WiFi connection. To do this, do the following steps:

  1. Select Start then Settings (cogwheel).

    Selecting Settings in Windows 10.
  2. Within Windows Settings, select Network & Internet.

    Windows Settings in Windows 10.
  3. Select Status on the left panel to see what your current connectivity status is.

    Network status in Windows 10.
  4. Select Show available networks.

    Viewing network connections available.
  5. If available, a list of available WiFi connections will appear from the System Tray. Select the desired connection and select Connect.

    Selecting a WiFi connection in Windows 10.
  6. If prompted, Enter the network security key and select Next.

    Entering in a password for a wifi connection in Windows 10.
  7. Connection should complete. To remember the connection, select Connect automatically.

    Selecting Connect on a wif connection.

If you are in a public place (some airports, municipal buildings, hospitals) that has WiFi service, the network you connect to may be "open" (meaning no security). These networks are open, without passwords, so that people can easily log in and connect to the Internet. You should not have to worry that this network is open if you have an active Firewall and security software on your computer.

Repairing a WiFi Connection Via Settings

You may have already setup a WiFi connection, but it's simply not connecting. There are a couple of ways to run the Windows Network Diagnostics. Below is how to get started through Settings.

  1. Select Start then Settings (cogwheel).

    Selecting Settings in Windows 10.
  2. Within Windows Settings, select Network & Internet.

    Windows Settings in Windows 10.
  3. Select Status on the left panel to see what your current connectivity status is.

    Network status in Windows 10.
  4. Select Show available networks.

    Viewing network connections available.
  5. If you see available networks and adding them has failed, select Troubleshoot.

    Viewing Status setting for the network in Windows 10.
  6. Windows will scan for possible issues, if any are found a new dialog box will open giving you a possible fix. Select Apply this fix to apply possible solution.

    A fix has been found for the network connection.
  7. Windows Troubleshooter will apply solution and verify issue has been fixed.

    Applying the fix to the bad network connection.
  8. If Windows Network Diagnostics couldn't fix the issue it will offer another possible solution. Select Apply this fix to attempt repair.

    Another issue has been found in Windows troubleshooter.
  9. If the Troubleshooter is unable to fix the issue, you'll be given a list of possible issues and their statuses. You may have to look at other possible troubleshooting steps to fix your issue.

    Troubleshooting has found several issues.
  10. If successful, you'll see Fixed next to the solution. Select Close to complete.

    Troubleshooter fixed one wifi issue in Windows 10.

You may see an error about a missing or broken network cable is Detected. If you are running on wireless only, disregard as this is referring to your physical Ethernet connection.

Repairing a WiFi Connection Via Network and Sharing Center

Windows 10 still contains some of it's older Control Panel settings much like Windows 7. To troubleshoot your WiFi connection via the Network and Sharing Center, do the following:

  1. In the Search bar, enter Control Panel, then select Open.

    Searching for Control Panel in Windows 10.
  2. Select Network and Internet in the Control Panel.

    The Control Panel in Windows 10.
  3. Under Network and Sharing Center, select View network status and tasks.

    Viewing Network and Internet Control Panel.
  4. Under Change your networking settings, select Troubleshoot problems.

    Selecting to troubleshoot in the control panel.
  5. Under Get up and running, select Internet Connections.

    The Troubleshoot settings panel in Windows 10.
  6. Select Run the troubleshooter.

    Opting to run the troubleshooter in Windows 10.
  7. Select Troubleshoot my connection to the Internet.

    Choosing what action the troubleshooter should do.
  8. After scanning for possible issues\fixes, Windows Network Diagnostics may provide a fix. Select Apply the fix to complete repair.

    A fix has been found.
  9. If the Troubleshooter is unable to fix the issue, you'll be given a list of possible issues and their statuses. You may have to look at other possible troubleshooting steps to fix your issue.

    Troubleshooting has found several issues.

View Your Network Connection

The Network and Sharing Center should now show your computer connected to the selected network. It also shows a lot of information about Sharing and Discovery settings.

The status window provides a wealth of information about your network connection. To see this information, click the View Status link, next to the network name in the center of the screen.

  1. In the Search bar, enter Control Panel, then select Open.

    Searching for Control Panel in Windows 10.
  2. Under Network and Internet in the Control Panel select View network status and tasks.

    The Control Panel in Windows 10.
  3. Under View your active networks, on the right side, select your active connection.

    Viewing the active WiFi connection in Windows 10.
  4. In Wi-Fi Status, you can see Connection details, Wireless Properties, and even Diagnose your connection. Once you're finished, select Close.

    Viewing WiFi status in Windows 10.

Viewing Network Connection Settings Via Network & Internet Settings

  1. Select Network & Internet settings located in the System Tray (WiFI symbol).

    Selecting the network and internet settings in Windows 10 system tray.
  2. Select the connected WiFi connection, then select Properties.

    Viewing available WiFi connections in Windows 10.
  3. From here, you can see what type of network it is (Public or Private), Configure firewall and security settings, and additional Properties of your network connection (speed, protocol, IP address, etc.).

    Viewing additional network settings in Windows 10.