How to Fix Problem With Wireless Adapter or Access Point Error Message

Use these tips to get back online

Few things are more frustrating than not having network connectivity when you really need it. One of the most irritating indicators of this is the Windows “problem with wireless adapter or access point” error message, chiefly because it gives users no clear place to start troubleshooting.

Causes of Wireless Adapter Problems and Access Point Error Message

While there are a variety of specific causes for this kind of connectivity error, which you will have to determine by a systematic process of elimination, they generally have to do with either problems with your OS interacting with the access point, or problems with the access point offering up the network to client devices (like your Windows device).

Most problems originate on the desktop Windows side of the connection, and could be anything from the software misinterpreting the connection somehow, or hardware like the wireless card not being activated properly.

There are less problems on the access point side, on account of its relative simplicity compared to a desktop device, but there can still be a breakdown there, such as the network not being properly broadcast.

Woman sitting with hands on face looking at laptop computer.
Getty Images /  mapodile

How to Fix Problem With Wireless Adapter and Access Point Error

There are an immense number of connectivity issues that may produce this error, but here are some of the most common causes you’re likely to encounter and how to address them.

  1. Make sure your wireless adapter is on. Checking to see if your wireless adapter is turned off, or if you left Airplane Mode enabled, is a quick and easy first step in troubleshooting. Not only is it good to rule out this possibility early, but you’d be surprised how often this ends up being the source of the issue.

  2. Disconnect and reconnect to the wireless network. Sometimes your device just needs to have another try at connecting to the network. This is especially common when the network of the access point you’re connected to has a landing page that requires users to sign in, since it’s easy for the portal page to get dropped or not load properly. Starting over gives it a fresh chance to deliver the landing page so you can sign on and be on your way.

  3. Check the configuration of the wireless network connection. It's possible the access point is expecting your device to handle the connection one way, only for your device to configure the connection a different way. For example, your device’s connection profile for the network might specify the wrong security encryption.

  4. Forget the wireless network and connect again from scratch. This is helpful especially if you’ve had a network saved for a long time, but it has since changed its network encryption or some other property.

  5. Reboot your access point. It could be the case that your Windows 10 device is working properly, but the router or access point hosting the network has entered a failure state at some point. Your best bet for fixing this is to power cycle the router, giving your access point the best chance to start fresh and re-establish its proper working configuration.

  6. Make sure all your drivers are updated. Wireless interface drivers are constantly receiving updates to add functionality or repair existing functionality. If you miss these updates, Windows 10 may be incapable of running the device’s network interface properly and communicate with the access point’s network hardware.

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