How Do I Enable My Disabled Wireless Adapter?

By Gregory Hamel

A wireless adapter, sometimes called a wireless network card or Wi-Fi card, is a device that allows a computer to connect to wireless Internet signals. Wireless adapters are common in laptop computers, but some desktops also have wireless adapter cards. If your computer cannot access any wireless networks, your wireless adapter may be disabled. Enabling a disabled adapter is a simple process, though you may need to wait some time before the adapter starts picking up wireless signals again.

Step 1

Click "Start," "Control Panel," "Administrative Tools," and then "Computer Management."

Step 2

Select "Device Manager," and then double click on "Network Adapters."

Step 3

Right click on your wireless adapter (it should have "wireless," "Wi-Fi," or something similar in its name) select "Properties," click on the "Driver" tab and then select "Enable."

Step 4

Wait a minute or two before connecting to a wireless network. It will take the card a little while to start up after being enabled and pick up all the available wireless signals.

Tips & Warnings

  • Disabling a device is a way to keep people from using the device while using your computer. For instance, if you wanted to let a child use a computer, but did not want them to access the Internet, you could disable the wireless adapter.
  • Disabling devices is a way to troubleshoot problems on a computer; if a problem is fixed by disabling a device, the device may be causing the problem.

References & Resources