What to Do When Windows 10 is Stuck in Airplane Mode

Get your connections back so you can move on

Screenshot of Windows 10 Airplane Mode settings

Lifewire 

Airplane Mode can come in handy when you want to quickly disable all wireless communication on your PC including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, and even cellular data connections. This connectivity-restrictive feature can be enabled via its taskbar icon in the Notifications section, a keyboard shortcut, through the Network & Internet Settings interface or even via an actual switch found on select computers. 

Unfortunately, Windows 10 can occasionally get stuck in Airplane Mode, putting you in a really tough spot as your PC will no longer be able to get online or communicate with other devices. Follow the troubleshooting guide below if you find yourself in this frustrating situation, which starts with the simplest solutions and progresses into some advanced methods should those not do the trick.

Turn off Airplane Mode With a Keyboard Shortcut

The simplest way to turn off Airplane Mode is by using a keyboard shortcut. First, peruse your keyboard for a key that features an icon that looks like a radio tower emitting signal waves. This varies across models and is typically one of the function keys (i.e., F3) or another key found along the top row such as PrtScr (PrintScreen). 

Not all computers have this key, so if you don't see it at first glance you may want to just move on to the next section.

Hold down the Function (Fn) key and then press the key containing the aforementioned icon. If successful, a notification should appear in the upper left-hand corner of your screen stating Airplane mode off, and your Wi-Fi and other connectivity should be instantly reinstated.

Turn off Airplane Mode via the Windows Taskbar

Screenshot of the Windows 10 desktop

Another fairly easy way to turn off Airplane Mode is through its Windows taskbar shortcut, located in the Notifications section in the lower right-hand corner of your screen and depicted in the screenshot above. Simply click on the airplane icon so that the following pop-up screen appears.

Screenshot of the Windows connectivity window in the task bar

Next, select the Airplane mode button. At this point, it should instantly be turned off and a list of available connections (Wi-Fi and other) will appear. If any of your previously configured Wi-Fi networks are set to connect automatically and are in range, you should also be back online within just a few seconds.

Turn off Airplane Mode Through System Settings

Airplane Mode can also be toggled off and on within the System Settings interface, easily accessible via the Windows 10 Search Box located in the lower left-hand side of your screen next to the Start button. 

  1. To get started, type the following text into the Search Box: airplane mode

  2. When the pop-out results screen appears, click on Airplane mode: System settings, located under the Best match header.

    Screenshot of the Windows 10 search menu
  3. The Airplane mode Settings interface should now be displayed, overlaying your desktop. Click on the button found under the Airplane mode heading, so that it switches from On to Off. If successful, you'll notice that the button labeled Wi-Fi will automatically change from Off to On.

Turn off Airplane Mode Through a Custom Button

Certain PCs (mainly laptops) actually come with an Airplane Mode button, sometimes referred to as the Network button, included somewhere on the device itself. Pressing this button enables and disables Airplane Mode.

See your PC manufacturer's manual for more details on whether or not you have this button and where it is located.

Depending on your model, this switch can sometimes override Windows settings and therefore must be set to the proper position to avoid getting truly stuck in Airplane Mode.

Other Troubleshooting Methods

If none of the above worked and you're still stuck in Airplane Mode, there are other things that you can try as a last resort.

Reset your PC's BIOS to its default settings. This is only recommended for advanced users.

You can also reinstall Windows 10 via the Reset This PC feature, but that's bigger project (so hopefully the ideas above worked out).