How to Turn On Wireless Capability on Dell Laptop: 5 Easy Ways

How To Turn On Wireless Capability On Dell Laptop

In this post I will teach you how to turn on wireless capability on Dell laptops the right way. In today’s digital age, staying connected is more important than ever. Whether you’re working from home, attending online classes, or simply browsing the web, a stable wireless connection is crucial. If you own a Dell laptop and are struggling to turn on its wireless capability, you’re in the right place. This article will guide you through the steps to ensure you’re back online in no time.

Introduction to Wireless Capability

Before diving into the steps, it’s essential to understand what “wireless capability” means. In simple terms, it refers to the laptop’s ability to connect to Wi-Fi networks without using any physical cables. Most modern Dell laptops come with built-in wireless adapters that allow them to connect to Wi-Fi networks seamlessly.

how to turn on wireless capability on dell laptops

Using the Keyboard Shortcut:

  • Most Dell laptops have a dedicated key or a combination of keys to turn on/off the wireless capability. Typically, you can press the Fn key along with the key that has a wireless icon (often F2 or F3).
  • Once pressed, you should see a notification or an indicator light signaling that the wireless capability is activated.

Through Windows Settings:

how to turn on wireless capability on dell laptop
  1. Click on the Windows Start button and select “Settings” (gear icon).
  2. Navigate to “Network & Internet.”
  3. Under the “Wi-Fi” tab, ensure that the toggle for Wi-Fi is set to “On.”
  4. If you can’t see any networks, click on “Show available networks” and select your preferred network to connect.

Using Windows Troubleshooter:

  1. Right-click on the Wi-Fi icon in the system tray (bottom right corner of the screen).
  2. Select “Troubleshoot problems.”
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions. Windows will attempt to identify and fix any issues related to wireless connections.

Checking the Physical Wireless Switch:

  • Some older Dell laptop models come with a physical switch on the side or front of the laptop to turn wireless capability on or off. Ensure this switch is set to the “On” position.
  • To manually turn on your wifi on a Dell laptop look for a wifi toggle switch located on the side or front of your laptop. If it’s set to off it should be indicated by a red square.
  • You can also press the “FN” and “F2” keys at the same time to turn on your wifi manually.

Enabling Wireless Capability via BIOS on a Dell Laptop

  1. Restart Your Laptop:
    • Begin by shutting down your Dell laptop. Once it’s completely off, turn it back on.
  2. Access the BIOS Setup:
    • As soon as you power on the laptop, repeatedly press the F2 key (on some Dell models, it might be F12, DEL, or ESC). This should be done immediately after pressing the power button, and before the Dell logo appears.
    • This action will lead you into the BIOS setup utility.
  3. Navigate the BIOS:
    • Use the arrow keys to navigate through the BIOS menu. Look for a tab or section named “Advanced,” “Wireless,” “Onboard Devices,” or something similar. The exact name can vary depending on the model and BIOS version of your Dell laptop.
  4. Locate the Wireless Setting:
    • Within the appropriate section, look for an option that refers to “Wireless,” “Wireless Adapter,” “Internal WLAN,” or “Wireless LAN.” Again, the exact wording can vary.
  5. Enable the Wireless Adapter:
    • Once you’ve located the wireless setting, use the arrow keys to highlight it. Then, use the + or - key (or sometimes Enter key) to toggle the setting to “Enabled.”
  6. Save and Exit:
    • After enabling the wireless capability, press the F10 key to save the changes and exit the BIOS. On some Dell models, you might need to navigate to the “Exit” tab and select “Save Changes and Reset” or a similar option.
    • Your laptop will then reboot.
  7. Check Your Wireless Connection:
    • Once your laptop has restarted, check to see if the wireless capability is now active and if you can detect and connect to available Wi-Fi networks.

Note: Making changes in the BIOS can affect the functionality of your laptop. Always proceed with caution and only make changes if you’re confident about what you’re doing. If you’re unsure, it might be best to consult with a professional or Dell’s customer support.

If enabling the wireless capability through the BIOS doesn’t resolve the issue, there might be other underlying problems, such as a malfunctioning wireless card or other hardware issues. In such cases, professional assistance or a hardware check-up might be necessary.

how to turn off wireless capability on dell laptop

To turn off your wifi capability on a Dell laptop, you can press the “FN” and “F2” key at the same time to toggle airplane mode. You can also look for a wifi switch indicated with a radio tower symbol on the front or side of your laptop.

Another way to turn off your wifi is to click on the wifi icon at the bottom right of your computer and click disconnect on the wifi network you are currently connected to.

Tips for Ensuring a Stable Connection

  • Update Drivers: Regularly check for updates for your wireless adapter’s drivers. Outdated drivers can sometimes cause connectivity issues.
  • Positioning: Ensure that your laptop is within a reasonable range of the Wi-Fi router for optimal signal strength.
  • Avoid Interference: Devices like cordless phones, microwaves, and other electronic devices can interfere with Wi-Fi signals. It’s a good idea to keep your laptop away from such devices when using Wi-Fi.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even after following the steps mentioned above, you might encounter some common issues. Here’s how to address them:

a. No Networks Found:

  • Restart Your Router: Sometimes, the simplest solution is to restart your Wi-Fi router. Unplug it, wait for a minute, and then plug it back in.
  • Forget and Reconnect: In the list of available networks, right-click on your network, select “Forget,” and then reconnect by entering your password.

b. Limited or No Connectivity:

  • Reset Network Settings: Go to “Settings” > “Network & Internet” > “Status” and click on “Network reset.” This will reinstall network adapters and set other networking components back to their original settings. Remember to save your work as this will restart your computer.
  • Check for Larger Service Outages: Sometimes, the issue might be with your Internet Service Provider (ISP). It’s a good idea to check with them if there’s a larger service outage in your area.

c. Slow Internet Speed:

  • Close Unnecessary Applications: Ensure that no background applications are consuming your bandwidth. This includes cloud services, updates, or large downloads.
  • Check for External Interferences: As mentioned earlier, other electronic devices can interfere with your Wi-Fi signal. Ensure there’s no significant interference causing the slowdown.

Keeping Your Connection Secure

While it’s essential to stay connected, it’s equally crucial to ensure your connection is secure:

  • Regularly Update Passwords: Change your Wi-Fi password periodically to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Enable WPA3 Encryption: If your router supports it, enable WPA3 encryption for a more secure connection.
  • Avoid Public Networks for Sensitive Tasks: If you’re connected to a public Wi-Fi, avoid tasks that require sensitive information, like online banking. If necessary, use a VPN for added security.


Turning on wireless capability is typically straightforward. Whether you’re using a keyboard shortcut, navigating through Windows settings, or checking a physical switch, these methods should help you connect to the internet wirelessly. Now you should know exactly how to turn on wireless capability on Dell laptops.

Remember, staying updated and ensuring optimal positioning can make a significant difference in your online experience. Happy browsing!


Why is my Dell laptop not showing Wi-Fi option?

Either your laptop has a corrupted wifi driver or there is a misconfiguration with your wifi setup which you need to resolve. Make sure the WLAN AutoConfig service is running in your services.msc program.

How do I fix wireless capability is turned off?

Look for a wifi toggle switch on the front or side of your laptop. It will be beside a radio tower symbol. To turn on your wifi, simply toggle the switch on so it doesn’t show a red square.

Why isn’t my laptop showing WIFI option?

Sometimes your laptop won’t show the Wifi option because it’s in airplane mode or it’s turned off via a wifi switch located on the front or side of the keyboard. Another reason could be because your Wifi is disabled in Control Panel > All control panel items > Network connections.

With over 12 years of experience with laptops, Grayson Uppington has delved deep into the tech world, always learning and sharing. His top pick is the Lenovo Legion Slim 5, blending performance with style. Formerly a pro gamer in CS:GO, those tournaments sharpened his skills and heightened his appreciation for laptop potential.