Having a red “X” on your Windows network icon is an indication of a fault with your WiFi connection. Such a fault could be coming from a number of different elements. Here we discuss 8 possible ways to troubleshoot and eventually fix your WiFi connection problems in Windows 10.
Given that this could come from very minor to very major causes, the 8 suggestions are arranged in the order of complexity from the most basic to the most complex, hence it is advisable to try them out in this order.
SOLUTION 1 – Check for Wireless Switch/Button
The first thing is to check if your laptop has a dedicated switch for wireless connections. This switch is usually tiny and may not be placed in the most obvious locations on the laptop, so you might need to do some searching to locate yours and then ensure that is turned on.
SOLUTION 2 – Check if Your Wireless Adapter is Disabled in Windows Settings
Next is to check that your WiFi adapter has not been disabled in Windows settings, especially if you are running Windows 10, because usually with windows 10, the WiFi adapter driver is automatically installed with Windows, more so when upgrading from Windows 7 or 8.1 to Windows 10.
So if you’re having this problem on Windows 10, then you need to check your WiFi adapter settings. To check that, click on Start menu and click the gear icon to open your Windows settings.
Then click on Network & Internet.
Under Change your network settings, click on Change adapter options.
Then you would see a list of all the network adapters currently on your PC, there you should find your WiFi adapter. If you do not see your WiFi adapter on this window, then you can skip this fix and continue with the other suggestions.
If you find your WiFi adapter on this page in gray, then it implies that the adapter has been disabled either by a user or by some application. Simply right-click and select enable to turn it on again.
SOLUTION 3 – Check if Your Wireless Adapter is Disabled in BIOS Settings
This next suggestion is similar to the previous one, only that this time you will be checking to see that your WiFi adapter hasn’t been disabled from the BIOS settings.
To verify that, you will need to restart your computer, and upon restart use either the escape key of the required function keys to navigate to your BIOS depending on your PC model.
From the BIOS, go to either Security or Advanced tab and find either I/O Port Access, Onboard devices configuration, Built-in device options or miscellaneous devices depending on your laptop make and model.
Here you will find several devices including your Wireless LAN.
Ensure the status says Enabled, otherwise use your arrow keys to navigate to it, then hit the enter key to reveal the available options and from there you select enable. Save and exit using the required key usually your F10 key. Then boot up again and check if the red X has disappeared.
SOLUTION 4 – Update WiFi Drivers
This fix will require an internet connection, and since your WiFi is dysfunctional, you will need to use an Ethernet cable or a USB WiFi module. Here you need to connect to the internet in order to check that your network driver is up to date.
So with your laptop connected to the internet, open your search and type device manager, then click on Device Manager from the search results.
On the device manager, search for Network adapters and click on the drop-down to reveal your network adapters. Here you will find your WiFi adapter. (Again if you don’t see your WiFi adapter here, then proceed with the other suggestions).
If you see your WiFi adapter in the list, right-click and select Update driver.
Then click on Search automatically for updated driver software and wait for the process to complete.
If there’s a later driver than what you have it will automatically download it and replace the outdated one. Ensure it says The best driver is already installed or Windows has successfully updated your drivers. Then restart your laptop and see if the red X disappeared.
SOLUTION 5 – Run Full Windows Updates
This also requires an internet connection, here we will be running a full windows update. Usually, if you start experiencing this problem just after upgrading to Windows 10, then chances are that a full windows update might fix the problem.
To run your windows update, simple type windows update from your start search and click Check for updates from the search results.
If you encounter some errors trying to run Windows update, check out our article on How to Fix Windows 10 Update Error 0x80080008.
SOLUTION 6 – Download and Install WiFi Adapter Drivers
If the system update still doesn’t fix the problem, then you might have to manually download and install the WiFi adapter driver, this you can do on another computer and then copy the file to your laptop.
To ensure you download the right driver, you will need the full model number of your laptop, the operating system you’re running, in this case, Windows 10, and the platform, either 32-bits or 64-bits.
Then visit your manufacturer page and download the corresponding driver that matches your system specifications, or simply search with the full PC model on google. When possible, download drivers from the manufacturer’s support page.
Some third-party distributors might integrate other apps or malware to the drivers. If you don’t find drivers for Windows 10, you can use Windows 7 drivers. If you find multiple WiFi drivers for your laptop model, you can either check your laptop specs or driver properties to determine the actual WiFi card on your laptop. If you’re unable to do that then try the next solution.
SOLUTION 7 – Download WiFi Drivers From Your WiFi Card Manufacturer
This is a bit on the hardware side, here you need to open up your laptop and locate the WiFi card, look closely on the label to check the manufacturer and model number of your card.
In this case is an Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3160 and the model number is 3160HMW, and with that information go back to google and search for the WiFi driver using the exact model number, then download directly from Intel and install accordingly.
SOLUTION 8 – Consider Replacing Your WiFi Card
If all these suggestions failed to fix the problem, then there is a high probability that you might have a failing WiFi card, in which case you will need to replace the WiFi card module.
If you set to do that then you should check the card that matches your laptop specifications before placing an order.
Please share your comments, questions, and feedback in the comment section below.
The following video demonstrates the solutions in this tutorial.