How to Fix it When Your Chromebook Won't Connect to Wi-Fi

Troubleshooting your laptop's internet connection

When your Chromebook won't connect to Wi-Fi, there are a number of things you can try to fix it. Use this guide if you're having any of the following Wi-Fi issues:

  • Your Chromebook can't detect wireless networks.
  • Your Chromebook fails to connect to any networks.
  • Your Chromebook is connected to Wi-Fi, but there's no internet access.

Information in this article applies to all Chrome OS laptops regardless of the manufacturer (Acer, Dell, Google, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Toshiba, etc.).

Reasons Why Your Chromebook Won't Connect to Wi-Fi

A Chromebook on a table with the Wi-Fi login screen present.
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Dozens of computer manufacturers make Chromebooks, but all they all run the same operating system, so the steps for troubleshooting Wi-Fi problems are the same on all Chrome OS devices. If you can't connect your Chromebook to a wireless network, it could be due to a few reasons:

  • Your Chromebook's Wi-Fi is disabled.
  • Communication issues between your Chromebook and the router.
  • Competition between preferred wireless networks.
  • Problems with the device's internal hardware.

Before you begin troubleshooting, you should rule out other potential wireless problems by checking the router and modem. If the network is encrypted, double-check to make sure you're using the correct password.

If you can't connect to your home network on any of your devices, then you should contact your internet service provider.

How to Fix It When Your Chromebook Won't Connect to Wi-Fi

Try each of these steps in order until your Chromebook can connect to the internet:

  1. Look for a Wi-Fi switch. Some models have a physical switch that allows you to toggle your Chromebook's wireless connectivity on and off. Make sure the switch hasn't accidentally been moved to the Off position.

  2. Make sure Wi-Fi is enabled. Open your Chromebook's settings and look under the Network section to make sure the toggle switch beside Wi-Fi is turned on. You can also select the Wi-Fi icon in the bottom-right corner of the screen to view your connections.

  3. Disconnect and reconnect to the network. If you can't access the internet even though your Chromebook is connected to Wi-Fi, try reconnecting to the network. Go into your Wi-Fi settings and choose the network, then select Disconnect and try connecting again.

  4. Update Chrome OS. If possible, update your Chromebook to make sure you're running the current version of Chrome OS.

  5. Turn off your router, then restart your Chromebook. Restarting your Chromebook after disabling the router can resolve communication conflicts between the devices. After your Chromebook reboots, turn the router back on and try reconnecting.

  6. Disable preferred networks. Having a preferred network can cause conflicts when you try to establish a new connection. In the Wi-Fi settings, select the right-arrow next to Known networks to manage your preferred networks.

  7. Run Chrome Connectivity Diagnostics. Chrome Connectivity Diagnostics is a Google Chrome add-on made for troubleshooting network connections on Chromebooks. It can detect any Wi-Fi problems and suggest remedies.

  8. Perform a hard reset. Press and hold the Refresh key Power simultaneously, then release Refresh when your Chromebook boots.

    A hard reset may delete any locally stored files you have downloaded, so save anything you want to keep to your Google Drive.

  9. Use a USB Wi-Fi adapter. If you've determined there's an internal issue with your Chromebook, insert a USB Wi-Fi adapter and try connecting that way.

  10. Connect to the web via Ethernet. If your Chromebook has an Ethernet port, you can plug it directly into your modem to circumvent any Wi-Fi issues. If you can connect this way, the problem may lie with your Chromebook's Wi-Fi receiver.

  11. Powerwash your Chromebook. As a last resort, you can access your system's advanced settings to powerwash your Chromebook and restore it to the factory settings. This will resolve any software-related conflicts.

    Anything saved on your hard drive will be erased during a powerwash.

  12. Contact the manufacturer. If your device's warranty is still valid, you may be able to get it professionally repaired for free. If you have to pay to get it serviced, you might want to consider upgrading to a newer machine.