How to Turn On Wi-Fi on a Dell Laptop

Connect to a wireless network and access the internet

What to Know

  • Go to Windows Action Center > Network > Wi-Fi, choose the network you want to connect with, then enter the password.
  • On some Dells, you can toggle Wi-Fi on and off using the shortcut Fn+F2.
  • Some Dells have a Wi-Fi switch that you must turn to the On position.

This article explains how to turn on Wi-Fi on Dell laptops running Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.

How to Connect a Dell Laptop to Wi-Fi

Here's how to connect to Wi-Fi on Windows 10 Dell computers:

  1. Select the Windows Action Center icon in the lower-right corner of the system tray.

    You can also select the Network icon in the Windows task tray, but it will look different depending on your connection status.

    If you don't see the Network icon, select the Show hidden icons arrow to expand the options.

    Windows Action Center and Network icons in the Windows 10 system tray
  2. In the Windows Action Center, select Network.

    Network in Windows Action Center
  3. Select Wi-Fi. The icon will be highlighted when enabled.

    Wi-Fi in the Windows 10 Wi-Fi menu

    Alternatively, you can choose to have Wi-Fi turn on automatically after a few hours or a day.

  4. Select the Wi-Fi network you want to join and enter the password. Once you see Connected under the network name, you can start using the internet.

    Network connected highlighted in Windows 10 Wi-Fi menu

To connect wireless headphones and other devices to your computer, you must enable Windows Bluetooth.

How to Disable Wi-Fi on a Dell

To turn off Wi-Fi, open your networks and select Wi-Fi again to disable it. The icon will be grayed out when disabled.

Enable Wi-Fi on Windows 8 and Windows 7

On the Windows 8 Start Screen, search for Turn wireless devices on or off, turn on Wi-Fi and turn off Airplane mode.

Ón Windows 7, open the Control Panel and go to Network and Internet > Networking and Sharing Center > Change adapter settings, then right-click Wireless Network Connection and select Enable.

Turn on Wi-Fi With FN+F2

On some laptops, you can toggle Wi-Fi on and off with the keyboard shortcut Fn+F2. You'll see the wireless icon on the F2 key if this is an option on your PC.

Where Is the Wireless Icon?

Your Dell laptop has a physical wireless icon light near the battery indicator light. It turns on when Wi-Fi is enabled and turns off when it's disabled.

The Network icon appears in the Windows system tray. When Wi-fi is disabled, you'll see an X or a Ø symbol. When your device is in Airplane Mode, it looks like an airplane.

Some Dell laptops have a physical Wi-Fi switch on the side that you need to turn to the On position to use Wi-Fi.

Different Wi-Fi icons

Why Can't My Dell Connect to Wi-Fi?

If you recently updated to Windows 10, you may need to update the drivers for your wireless adapter. In the Device Manager, select your network connection under Network Adapters to update the drivers.

Update Drivers in the Network Connection window in Windows device manager

If Wi-Fi is enabled, but you still can't connect your Wi-Fi network, there are many things you can try to troubleshoot your wireless connection.

  • How can I tell how strong my Wi-Fi connection is on a Dell laptop?

    To measure your Wi-Fi signal strength, go into Windows' Network & Sharing Center and select the Wi-Fi network you're using. Under Signal Quality, you'll see a number of bars. The more bars you have, the better your connection.

  • How do you take a screenshot on a Dell laptop?

    If you're using Windows 8, 8.1, or 10, you can take a screenshot by simultaneously pressing Windows + PrntScrn.

  • How do you factory reset a Dell laptop?

    On Windows 10, go to Settings > Update and Security > Recovery > Get Started > follow the on-screen instructions. Make sure you back up any important information on your hard drive before performing a full factory reset.

  • What model is my Dell laptop?

    To find your Dell laptop model number, go to the Windows search bar and enter System > open the System Information app. Then, look for Model or System Model in the list of specs.

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