Connecting to wireless networks in Windows 10 is a very easy and straightforward process , involving just a few simple steps . I t’s true that it depends on whether the wireless router broadcasts the name of the Wi-Fi network or not . But if it does, connecting to that network is as simple as entering its password and choosing whether you want your Windows 10 PC or device to be visible to other devices in the same network. Let’s see how it’s done:
NOTE: The screenshots used in this article are from Windows 10 with Anniversary Update. Windows 10 Anniversary Update is available for free, for all Windows 10 users, as of August 2nd, 2016.
How to connect to a broadcasting wireless network
If a wireless network broadcasts its name, a.k.a. SSID , it will be automatically detected by any Windows 10 device that is close enough, and you can see that such a network is in range just by looking at the network icon from your system tray: it will look like a radio signal broadcast with a little star on its top.
To access the list of available wireless networks, click or tap on the network icon from the system tray, and you should get something like this:
Locate the network to which you want to connect and click or tap on its name. If it’s a network you know and you will connect to it on a regular basis, you should also check the option that says: "Connect automatically". This way, whenever your Windows 10 PC or device is in that wireless network’s range, it will automatically connect to it.
Then, click or tap Connect.
NOTE: On the bottom of the network panel, you will see two large buttons, called Wi-Fi and Airplane mode. A click or a tap on the Wi-Fi button will enable or disable the wireless card installed on your device. The same action on the Airplane mode button will disable both the wireless card and any other radio emitter installed, like a Bluetooth chip. Disabling the wireless card or entering the airplane mode means that your device won’t attempt to connect to any network. It also helps in preserving the battery life of your device when you don’t work online.
After you’ve clicked or tapped on Connect , Windows 10 will do a scan for the security settings of the wireless network. When it’s done, it will ask you for the security key.
Once you have entered the password required by the wireless network, click or tap Next. If you want to double check the accuracy of the password, you can see it before pressing Next by clicking or tapping the eye-like icon on its right side.
Once your Windows 10 PC or device establishes the connection to the wireless network, it will ask you whether you want to set its location as private or as public . If you choose Yes , you will “allow your PC to be discoverable by other PCs and devices on this network” , and it’s what you should do if you are connecting to your home or work wireless network. If you are connecting to a public wireless network, choose No. If you don’t choose anything and simply close this dialog, you should know that Windows 10 will set this new network as public, by default. To learn more about network locations in Windows, read this guide: What are network locations in Windows?.
Once the sharing part is over, your Windows 10 PC or device is officially connected to the wireless network you chose.
How to disconnect from a broadcasting wireless network
If you no longer want to use a certain wireless network you are connected to, you can always disconnect from it. To do that, first open the list of wireless networks, by clicking or tapping on the network icon from your system tray.
In the list of available wireless networks, locate the one you are connected to. That should be very easy, because near that WiFi network’s name, you should see a text like “Connected, secured”.
Click or tap on the network to which you are connected and then click or tap on the Disconnect button.
Your Windows 10 PC or device will immediately disconnect, and you can now choose to connect to another Wi-Fi network, if that’s what you want.
Troubleshooting wireless connections issues
Even if you followed the instructions provided above carefully, issues can arise. If you find yourself unable to connect to your network of choice, and you're sure the security information you entered is exactly correct, check this articles for some useful troubleshooting information:
- Troubleshoot Wireless Network Connection Problems by Yourself
- Troubleshoot Internet Connection Problems Over A Wireless Network
- How to reset all your Windows 10 network adapters with just 6 clicks
- How To Delete Or Forget Wireless Network Profiles In Windows 10
- The Layman's Guide to Solving Wireless Network Interference Problems
As you can see, connecting to a network that broadcasts its name is very easy and involves just a few steps. The steps we mentioned in this article will allow you to search for and connect to any wireless network you have access to. But take care when you’re about to connect to an open network in a public place. Usually, such networks don’t ask for a security password and they are free, but can put you a t risk. Unless you’re using a good firewall/antivirus solution, avoid this kind of network , at least when you’re about to transmit sensitive information.