Dell Laptop Won’T Connect To Wi-Fi

The internet is an essential aspect of carrying out an online task in our day-to-day life, and when your Dell laptop won’t connect to Wi-Fi, you can probably tell that you will be having a bad day.

Several issues can cause a Dell laptop not to connect to Wi-Fi, but if you really must narrow it down, the Wi-Fi adapter is always responsible for this.

The Wi-Fi adapter or Wi-Fi card primary function is to enable your Dell laptop to support Wi-Fi so that you will be able to turn on wireless capability and connect to Wi-Fi networks around you.

So, without the Wi-Fi adapter, you will not be able to connect to Wi-Fi because your Dell laptop won’t support Wi-Fi in the first place. You may notice your dell laptop power light flashing to indicate there’s something wrong with your Wi-Fi card.

Now, before you start thinking about replacing your Wi-Fi adapter, you should understand that it is extremely rare for it to get damaged because it is inside your Dell laptop attached to your motherboard.

It would be best if you first considered checking your settings and configurations within Windows to thoroughly troubleshoot where the problem is coming from and how you can fix it.

I’m talking about inspecting your Dell laptop Wi-Fi drivers closely to see if they are corrupt in any way so that you can fix them.

Also, properly check if your Wi-Fi is turned on because that is the only way your Dell laptop will connect to any Wi-Fi network.

Let’s not waste any more time but get right into how you can fix your Dell laptop Wi-Fi.

How To Fix Dell Laptop Won’t Connect To Wi-Fi

There are several things to consider when you want to connect your Dell laptop to Wi-Fi because these things are what the Wi-Fi is relying on to work correctly. Things like your Wi-Fi card, adapter settings, drivers, and Wi-Fi networks around you.

We’ll take a look at all these things one after the other to successfully troubleshoot the problem and fix it.

Here’s how:

1. Forget Previous Network

If you are struggling to connect to a Wi-Fi network you have previously connected to, it can be caused by an incorrect password or poor network coverage. If that is you, follow the instruction below.

Here’s how:

  1. Search for Wi-Fi settings in Windows search.
  1. Choose Wi-Fi settings from the results.
  1. Select on manage known networks.
  1. Click on the Wi-Fi you want to connect to.
  1. Now, click on forget.
  1. Make sure your Wi-Fi is enabled.
  1. Now, connect your Dell laptop to Wi-Fi.


Press the Remove Scroll Lock Dell key to turn off Scroll Lock. This shortcut key is usually the same for all Dell laptops.

2. Reinstall Wi-Fi Drivers

Problems with your Wi-Fi drivers might have begun after a Windows update or recently installed application. The best way to reinstall your Wi-Fi drivers is by uninstalling everything and then reinstalling it.

Here’s how:

  1. Right-click on the Windows logo.
  1. Click on device manager.
  1. Select network adapters to expand.
  1. Right-click on the first driver.
  1. select uninstall.
  1. Following the instruction to completely uninstall.
  1. Make sure you uninstall the rest of the drivers inside network adapters.
  1. Shut down your Dell laptop after uninstalling everything.
  1. Turn it back on to reinstall your Wi-Fi drivers.
  1. Now, connect your Dell laptop to a Wi-Fi network.

3. Reset CMOS Battery

All Dell laptops have a removeable CMOS battery attached to the motherboard. The CMOS battery keeps some record of information even while your Dell laptop is turned off.

In this case, your CMOS battery might be keeping a piece of error information related to your Wi-Fi which is your network seems to be misbehaving for no solid reason.

By resetting your CMOS battery, your Dell laptop will restore your Wi-Fi settings to its default settings.

Here’s how:

  1. Turn off your Dell computer.
  1. Open the back of your Dell laptop to reveal the motherboard.
  1. Make sure your battery and charger is disconnected.
  1. Take out the CMOS battery. It looks like a coin.
  1. Hold down your power button for 30 to 40 seconds.
  1. Connect your charger to your computer.
  1. Turn on your Dell laptop only with the charger connected.
  1. Turn it back off by shutting down or holding down the power button.
  1. Connect your CMOS battery.
  1. Connect your Dell laptop battery.
  1. Turn on your Dell laptop again.
  1. Now, connect it to a Wi-Fi network.

4. Use External Wi-Fi Card

If you are in a situation whereby you have tested all the three methods above, and they didn’t work for you, it means you may have a faulty Wi-Fi card.

Your Wi-Fi card can get damaged when your laptop falls to the ground multiple times, and the only way to get around this is by using an external Wi-Fi card.

Imagine trying to connect an Airpods to a Dell laptop that doesn’t support Bluetooth. It is impossible because both devices need to support Bluetooth before working with each other.

The Wi-Fi card is a small USB that you plug into your Dell laptop, and immediately it starts working.

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Why Won’t My Dell Laptop Connect To Wi-Fi?

Although there are several reasons why your Dell laptop is not connecting to Wi-Fi, I put up the primary reasons together.

These are the reasons:

1. Incorrect Password

Whenever you try to connect your computer to a Wi-Fi network, you must always enter a password if the network is protected with a password.

If you enter the wrong password, your Dell laptop may store it and not override it with a new password, which can cause your Dell computer not to connect to a Wi-Fi.

So, whenever you are trying to correct the password, your Dell laptop won’t replace the incorrect password with the correct password, leading to connection failure every time.

The only way you can fix this error is by forgetting the password and then entering the correct password. I already shared how to do this in this article.

2. Limited Connection

Another reason your Dell laptop won’t connect to Wi-Fi is that the Wi-Fi network you are trying to connect to has a connection limit. This means the Wi-Fi network might have been limited to just 4 connections.


To Force Shut down Dell Laptop, press and hold the power button for at least 10 seconds until the laptop shuts down.

And if 4 people or devices have already connected to the Wi-Fi network, no other device can connect to the Wi-Fi.

Here’s an example,

If your friend turns on his mobile hotspot and the number of devices connected to his network is 4 devices, only 4 devices will be able to connect to his Wi-Fi in this case.

The same thing applies to the Wi-Fi network you are about to connect your Dell laptop to. If the limit of the Wi-Fi network has already been exceeded, it means you won’t be able to connect your Dell laptop to it.

You can either increase the connection limit of the Wi-Fi network or disconnect one device from the Wi-Fi network before you can connect your Dell computer.

3. Wi-Fi Is Disabled

This is the most common reason you cannot connect your Wi-Fi to a network, and many people overlook it.

Your Wi-Fi may be disabled all along. When you haven’t enabled the Wi-Fi on your Dell laptop, you won’t connect to a Wi-Fi network because your Dell laptop won’t be able to scan for a Wi-Fi network.

You will have to enable Wi-Fi on your computer before connecting to a network. I’ve already provided a simple way to turn on Wi-Fi on a Dell laptop on my website that you can check out.

4. Damaged Wi-Fi Card

A Wi-Fi card is responsible for your Dell laptop to be able to discover Wi-Fi networks around you and connect to them. It is located inside your computer and attached to your motherboard because it comes with your Dell computer by default.

When there’s something wrong with a Wi-Fi card, it will affect the overall experience with your Wi-Fi network, and you definitely won’t be able to connect to Wi-Fi.

The easiest way to resolve a damaged Wi-Fi card is to get a replacement. An external Wi-Fi card will do the trick and require only one USB port from your Dell laptop.

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Dell Laptop Won’t Automatically Connect To Wi-Fi

Your Dell laptop will not automatically connect to a Wi-Fi network because of incorrect Wi-Fi settings. Whenever you are trying to connect to a network on your Dell laptop, you will be given an option to set your Dell laptop to connect to that particular network automatically every time.

If you connect to that network without checking that option, you will always have to reconnect to that Wi-Fi network manually. The only way to connect your Dell laptop automatically to a Wi-Fi is by setting that Wi-Fi to connect automatically before connecting to it.

If you have already connected to the Wi-Fi without setting it to connect automatically, you can forget the network and then connect to it again, keeping in mind that you will have to set your Dell laptop to connect automatically to that network every time.

Why Won’t My Dell Laptop Connect To Wi-Fi After Using A Printer

The reason your Dell laptop won’t connect to Wi-Fi after using a printer is that your printer has already filled the connection limit on that particular Wi-Fi network. The only way you can bypass this is if you disconnect your printer from the Wi-Fi network and then connect your Dell laptop to that Wi-Fi network.

I shared this earlier in this article about how a Wi-Fi network can be set to connect to limited devices.

For instance,

A Wi-Fi network with a limit of 5 devices that can connect to it won’t accommodate more than 5 devices.

In this case, with your Dell laptop, the chances are that your printer has already filled up the remaining space left to connect, and now there is no more room for another device to connect.

The only option you have is to disconnect the printer from the Wi-Fi network first before connecting your Dell laptop to it.

Dell Laptop Not Detecting Wi-Fi

It is common when a laptop doesn’t detect Wi-Fi at all. In this case, your Dell laptop will seem like Wi-Fi is not installed on it. Anytime it does see a Wi-Fi, here’s what you can do to fix it:

1. CMOS Issues

Whenever your Dell laptop cannot detect Wi-Fi, it is not because your laptop doesn’t have Wi-Fi but because an error has occurred somewhere that needs to be fixed.

Resetting the CMOS battery is the easiest way to clear out errors from your Dell laptop, and you can jump to this solution to learn how to do it.

2. Wi-Fi Card Issues

Another reason your Dell laptop is not detecting your Wi-Fi is that you may have issues with your Wi-Fi card connected to your motherboard.

The Wi-Fi card is an internal hardware that helps your Dell laptop supports Wi-Fi and connect to other Wi-Fi networks.

It is impossible to connect your Dell laptop to a Wi-Fi network without a Wi-Fi card, and you can easily resolve this by using an external Wi-Fi card that requires only a single USB port on your Dell laptop.

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3. Adjust Your Wi-Fi Adapter

If you can’t afford an external Wi-Fi card, you can try to see if you can adjust your internal Wi-Fi card manually. However, it is a 50/50 chance because it might work or not.

You should open the back of your laptop and then disconnect the Wi-Fi card and reconnect it. Then you turn on your Dell laptop and try to connect to Wi-Fi.

Dell Not Showing Available Networks

There are situations whereby your Wi-Fi is working on your Dell laptop, but the only problem is that it doesn’t show any available networks around you.  

This can be caused by 2 things, which are:

1. Your Wi-Fi Is Disabled

Only when your Wi-Fi is disabled is when you won’t be able to find any available network around you.

Your Wi-Fi network needs to be turned on before your Dell laptop can detect an available network that you can connect to.

All you have to do is simply enable your Wi-Fi and then let your Dell laptop scan your location to discover the Wi-Fi networks around you to connect to it.

2. There’s No Wi-Fi Network Around You.

Another reason your Dell laptop cannot discover any network around you is because there’s no Wi-Fi network to find.

This means that your Dell laptop might be showing you the actual facts because there’s no Wi-Fi network around you. The problem probably comes from your router or mobile hotspot because you haven’t turned it on.

First, turn on your modem or Wi-Fi hotspot before your Dell laptop discovers it.

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Solomon Omolabi is a seasoned IT professional with 10 years of industry expertise. As the owner of, he provides meticulously researched and comprehensive articles that effortlessly tackle any technical challenge. Solomon's contributions have earned him recognition on esteemed professional platforms, making him a trusted authority in resolving complex IT issues. Read more.

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