Library Tech Pages

Wireless connections problems

The Wireless Antenna Button or Switch is OFF

Most laptops have a way to turn off the wireless antenna and it is easy to turn it off by accident. Find the switch and turn it back on. first look to the sides of the laptop typically it will be a slide switch marked with an antenna with semi-circles around it. Some laptops also make this a button next to the monitor.

Examples of wireless antenna icons:4 antena icons as described above

Other laptops may use a keyboard shortcut using the laptops FN key and a function key. The function key will be marked with a tiny wireless icon.

Be patient when you turn this on it may take time for your PC to recognize that the antenna is on. After a few seconds try to connect to a network the way you normally do. If this is your first time try the instructions in this link.

Connect to the wireless

Change wireless settings

You should be familiar with your laptop and how to make wireless connections with it. There are many different kinds of wireless connectors and many different kinds of connection software different laptops install. Even if you ask us for help we may need you to find and run your connection software so we can check your settings etc. We recommend that Windows users set up their wireless to let Windows manage their connection, (see below) if you prefer not to, be sure to learn how to set the options for whatever software runs your wireless connection.

If you don't know how to get to any of the settings for your wireless connection here is a general instruction for windows.

Typically there are icons by the clock for Windows Wireless Connector control and/or for the wireless control program that came with your laptop. Right click on these to get a menu that lets you connect to available wireless networks or configure wireless options and settings.


The wireless card software will not recognize our network - Let windows manage your wireless connection instead.

Some wireless connection software that comes with laptops may not show you all networks available due to security settings or prompts you may have answered in the past. In this case it is better to let Windows manage wireless connections instead of the adapter's software.

  • In Windows XP you right click on the Windows wireless adapter Icon by the clock and choose Status from the menu and then click on the Properties button in the status window.
  • In Windows Vista right click on the Windows wireless adapter Icon by the clock and choose "Network and sharing center" and in the Tasks Pane click on "Manage Network Connections".
  • You should see your wireless adapter in the list of connections. (If it is not there it is defective or not properly installed.)
  • Right click on your wireless adapter and choose properties.
  • At the top of the Wireless Connections tab select the check box that says "Use windows to manage my wireless connections"

The check box that lest windows manage the wireless

The wireless connection has IP address set up for a specific network

You may have been set up to use a wireless network somewhere else that required you to set up an IP address. You have to remove this setting from your wireless adapter. To get to the wireless adapter settings:

  • In Windows XP you right click on the Windows wireless adapter Icon by the clock and choose Status from the menu and then click on the Properties button in the status window.
  • In Windows Vista right click on the Windows wireless adapter Icon by the clock and choose "Network and sharing center" and in the Tasks Pane click on Manage Network Connections.
  • You should see your wireless adapter in the list of connections.(If it is not there it is defective or not properly installed.)
  • Right click on your wireless adapter and choose properties. On the General or Networking tab you will find a list called "This connection uses the following Items:"
  • Look for "Internet Protocol (TCP IP)" in Windows XP and "Internet Protocol Version 4" in Windows Vista and double click on it.
  • Select both "Obtain IP address automatically" and "Obtain DNS server automatically".
  • Now your IP settings are correct for our wireless.
  • Click OK on the IP settings and network adapter and try connecting again.