How To Turn On Wireless Capability On Dell Laptop

It is logical to troubleshoot your Wi-Fi network when it refuses to work correctly. In doing this, you may get a result telling you that wireless capability is turned off on your Dell laptop.

In a situation like this, you may begin to wonder what your Dell laptop means by wireless capability, which I will discuss in a moment.

You may get this wireless error while your Wi-Fi is turned on, further confusing you in understanding what your Dell laptop is referring to when it is pointing at your wireless capability.

In many cases, the error results from your Dell laptop, letting you know that you are having some issues with your Wi-Fi that requires your attention.

You must have made sure that your Dell laptop is turned on before you begin changing the settings of you wireless network.

In this article, I’ll share several tips that will help you resolve this Wi-Fi issue and share why you are having problems with your Wi-Fi.

Before I jump into that, let’s look at what your Dell laptop means by wireless capability.

What Is Wireless Capability On Dell Laptop?

Wireless capability on a Dell laptop refers to the current status of the Wi-Fi network on the computer, showing if it is either enabled or disabled.

This means that wireless capability can also be called a Wi-Fi network. Your Dell laptop lets you know if you have it enabled or disabled.

The Wi-Fi network on a Dell laptop is only possible with the help of a network adapter or Wi-Fi card, and this network adapter is connected or attached to your motherboard.

Without this network card, your Dell laptop won’t have a Wi-Fi feature, which means you will be unable to connect to Wi-Fi.

So, when there’s a problem with a computer’s Wi-Fi, it may be wise to go straight to inspect the network adapter, but this option should only be at the last result.

The reason for this is that the Wi-Fi adapter or Wi-Fi card hardly gets damaged since it’s connected inside your Dell laptop just like your RAM.

It is always best to look for Windows solutions before jumping straight to your Wi-Fi card.

So how can you turn on wireless capability on your Dell laptop?

Here’s how:

How To Enable Wireless Capability On Dell Laptop

There are several ways to handle this situation when turning on wireless capabilities on your Dell laptop.


If you’re having trouble with your Dell laptop’s touchpad, try Dell Touchpad Troubleshooting for help. Dell Touchpad Troubleshooting is a great resource to help you get your laptop back up and running.

In most cases, It is not just as simple as turning on your Wi-Fi, and everything begins to work fine. It may take more than that to get everything working.

This reason has led me to share several tips in the proper order on how you can strategically tackle this Wi-Fi problem.

Always move on to the next step when the previous fails.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

1. Enable Wi-Fi Correctly

There are three ways to turn on Wi-Fi on your Dell laptop. They are:

  • Through Windows Settings.
  • From Taskbar.
  • With Your Keyboard.

How To Turn Wi-Fi On Dell Laptop:

Through Windows Settings

  1. Search for Wi-Fi settings in Windows search.
  1. Click on Wi-Fi settings among the results.
  1. Toggle on the Wi-Fi to keep it on.

From Taskbar

Left-click on the Wi-Fi icon located on the right-hand side of the taskbar to reveal a small pop-up box. Immediately you see that box, click on another Wi-Fi icon inside it to show all the Wi-Fi networks around you. Look for your preferred Wi-Fi and then connect to it.

With Your Keyboard

There’s a specific key assigned to turn on or turn off Wi-Fi on your Dell keyboard. This key can either be your f2 or f12 key, and you can quickly identify the key among the f keys with the Wi-Fi icon.

On some Dell laptops, you will also find a LED light to indicate if the Wi-Fi is enabled or disabled. Enabled means when you see the light on the key and disable means when you don’t see the light on the key. If you have challenges with your keyboard, it may indicate that it is locked and needs to be unlocked.

2. Change Adapter Options

In many situations, adapter options can disconnect by themselves, requiring your assistant to enable it. Here’s how to enable it:

  1. Search for network status on window search.
  1. Click on network status among the result.
  1. Click on change adapter options.
  1. Right-click on the Wi-Fi network you are connected to.
  1. Select enable.

3. Change Power Options

Using the wrong power options can mess with your Wi-Fi network. It is best to always stick to high performance for your power option to ensure your Dell laptop will work smoothly under any condition.

Here’s how:

  1. Search for Windows mobility Centre in Windows search.
  1. Click on Windows mobility Centre from the result.
  1. In the battery status section, switch between the power options.
  1. Make sure you choose high performance.
  1. Turn off your dell laptop and then turn it back on.

4. . If you need help unlocking your Dell laptop keyboard, click on the anchor text Dell laptop keyboard unlock for a step-by-step guide. Update Wi-Fi Driver

Many times driver can run into an error after a Windows update which might not necessarily be your fault but Windows fault. Updating your Dell laptop Wi-Fi drivers by yourself can help you correct the issue.

Here’s how:

  1. Search or device manager in Windows search.
  1. Click on device manager among the results.
  1. Double click on network adapter.
  1. Right-click on the first driver and select update driver.
  1. Continue with the instructions to fully update the driver.
  1. Perform the same thing to the rest of the drivers underneath the network adapter.

5. Uninstall And Reinstall Wi-Fi Driver

If there are still no changes after updating your drivers, you need to uninstall and reinstall your network driver completely.

Here’s how:

  1. Right-click on the Windows logo.
  1. Select device manager.
  1. Click on the network adapter to reveal the drop-down.
  1. Uninstall all the drivers inside the network adapter.
  1. Restart your Dell laptop.
  1. Your Wi-Fi drivers will reinstall once it boots up.

6. Inspect Wi-Fi Card

If your wireless capability is still disabled after trying all these solutions, chances is that you may have issues with your Wi-Fi card. It is either the Wi-Fi card is faulty or not.

What you can do is first disconnect and reconnect the Wi-Fi adapter to know if a cable is loose. To do this, you would need to open your Dell laptop and then use a tiny screwdriver to detach the Wi-Fi adapter and then reconnect it back.

Once you do this and your Dell laptop is still showing that wireless capability is disabled, then it means you may need to replace your Wi-Fi card.

Where Is Wireless Capability Switch On Dell Laptop?

The wireless capability switch on your Dell laptop is your F2 key. Click on the F2 key to enable wireless capability and if it doesn’t work, hold down the FN key before clicking on F2.

Like I stated earlier, wireless capability is the same thing as your Wi-Fi network, and just as you turn on your Wi-Fi network is the same way you turn on your wireless capability.

Please don’t get confused when you see the word wireless capability on your Dell laptop because it means the same thing as Wi-Fi.

Think of it as a fancy word that your Dell laptop uses to describe the Wi-Fi network. The location also is the exact location of your Wi-Fi network.

For example,

If you want to turn on your wireless capability, all you need to do is turn on your Wi-Fi. Although there are several ways to enable Wi-Fi on your Dell laptop, especially on Windows 10, it doesn’t matter.

Once you can turn on your Wi-Fi successfully, you have turned on your wireless capability.

Why Won’t My Wi-Fi Turn On My Dell Laptop?

The common reason why your Wi-Fi won’t connect to turn on is due to the following:

1. Corrupted Network Driver

Drivers are the key players for your Dell laptop to understand how to interact with your Wi-Fi card. Without the proper network drivers installed, your Dell laptop won’t know how it can read your network card.

Network driver can get corrupted after a major Windows update which you may no notice right away but after some time.

Another reason your network driver can get corrupt is when you install a third-party application on your Dell laptop downloaded from an unknown source.

If you know that your computer began to detect your wireless capability to be disabled after you installed software, then it means your problem is due to that software.

All you need to do to fix it is to uninstall the software completely from your Dell laptop. You can download it through the Microsoft store if you need the software.

If your network adapter did not get corrupted through a recently installed application, you suspect it resulted from a Windows update.

You can uninstall and reinstall your network driver and then restart your Dell laptop to reinstall the driver automatically.

2. Adapter Is Disabled

Another reason why you can’t turn on Wi-Fi on your Dell laptop is that your adapter settings are disabled.

An adapter can be found through Windows settings, and you may find it either enabled or disabled. When the network adapter is disabled, it won’t let you turn on your Wi-Fi, and you will need to enable it before you can turn on your Wi-Fi.

To enable your Wi-Fi adapter, scroll back up to the guide I discussed changing adapter options.

3. Damaged Wifi Card

Wi-Fi card on your Dell laptop is entirely responsible for your Wi-Fi to function correctly, and without it, your computer won’t let you turn on Wi-Fi.

Your Dell laptop can go as far as not showing any Wi-Fi network. A Wi-Fi card is an internal hardware that comes with your computer by default.

When it gets faulty, you may need to replace it. The best way to replace your network adapter is to use an external Wi-Fi adapter.

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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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