- Please note that these guides are only informative. It can be dangerous to plug partially disassembled devices. Always unplug the device when working on it. If you’re not sure how to proceed, contact a local repair café or a professional.
Is there a problem with your device?
If you cannot connect to the Internet, you may see an empty Wi-Fi icon in the task bar of your device. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take. Some are easier than others.
STEP 1 Turn the wifi on your laptop back on
- First, make sure your laptop is not in flight mode and check that your Wi-Fi is on.
- To do this, click on the Internet icon at the bottom right and then click on the Wi-Fi icon.
- Activate Wi-Fi with a physical button on your computer
- Some laptops have a physical button to turn your Wi-Fi on and off. Perhaps you or a previous user turned it off by accident? If you can't find the wifi button, search for the name of your laptop model in combination with "wifi switch".
- Activate Wi-Fi with the Fn button on your keyboard
- In addition to a tactile button, some laptops have the option of turning off the Wi-Fi via a function button. Function buttons are controlled by pressing the Fn key at the bottom left of your keyboard along with the F1 to F12 keys (top row of your keyboard). Look for the function button with a WiFi logo on it.
- Turn your wifi off and on again
STEP 2 Use the Windows troubleshooter or an Ethernet cable
Windows offers a troubleshooter for network problems. To do this, go to Start, Settings, Network and Internet. Under the status menu, scroll down until you see Troubleshooting for Networks. Follow the steps indicated by the troubleshooter.
Can your other wireless devices access your home network but not your laptop? Try connecting it to your router via an Ethernet cable. If you now have access to the Internet, delete and reinstall your current drivers.
To do this, go to Device Manager:
- Right-click on Start and Device Manager.
- Look for your driver under Network Adapter.
- The word "wifi" is usually in the name.
- Right-click on your driver and choose Remove Device.
- Then select your Network Adapters, choose Action at the top right and Search for Changed Devices.
STEP 3 Install a new WiFi card
It is possible that your WiFi card is broken. Most laptops use a standard WiFi card. This would cost around £20.
But there are also laptops whose WiFi cards are soldered to the motherboard. It is then very difficult to replace them yourself. If this is the case, do not buy a Wi-Fi card but contact a professional repair shop.
- To replace the WiFi card, you need to unscrew the laptop. We therefore recommend that you make a backup first and prepare yourself if necessary.
- Once you have located the WiFi card you want to replace, you usually just have to detach the two antennas (one is black, the other white) and unscrew one screw.
- Then you can swap the cards.
Note that WiFi cards have a black and white triangle on their label. Connect the antennas according to their colour and screw back the screw.
General recovery tips
- Manual Repair Cafés on faulty laptops (French, ext.)
- Where can I buy spare parts? (French, ext.)
- Instructions on 3D printing spare parts (English, ext.)
- Always unplug the device when working on it and remove the battery if possible.
- When working with electronics, it is best to wear an antistatic bracelet to prevent damage from static discharges
- If you are unsure how to proceed, contact a local repair shop or a professional repairer
Are you a maker who likes to repair things?
With this project, we try to create relevant guidelines on a product category and frequent faults level. The exercise is led by different repair networks, but our content can only grow and improve thanks to your help.