How to Connect Using Free WiFi

By Erin McManaway

Internet cafes and WiFi hotspots that offer users free wireless Internet connections are becoming more and more common. Many public locations such as libraries, airports, restaurants and schools are also starting to offer free WiFi Internet at their locations. Most standard laptops now come with built-in wireless cards that can connect to these free WiFi networks where they are available.

Things You'll Need

  • Laptop with a wireless network card

Step 1

Ensure that your laptop's wireless network card is active. Some laptops have a physical switch that can turn the wireless network card off and on. Be sure that your wireless card is turned on or it will not detect the WiFi network.

Step 2

Click the Start button, choose "Connect To" from the Start menu and click "Wireless Network Connection."

Step 3

Allow the Wireless Network Connection window to find a list of WiFi connections that are within range of your laptop. If there is more than one connection in your area, make sure to connect to the free WiFi network offered at your location. If you're not certain, ask to confirm the name of the wireless network.

Step 4

Select the WiFi network name from the list, and click the "Connect" button.

Step 5

Enter the security pass phrase if you are prompted for one. Though free WiFi locations can be unsecured networks, if the owner of the network has enabled a security pass phrase, you must ask for it before you can connect.

Step 6

Allow your laptop to make a connection to the WiFi network.

Step 7

Put a check mark in the boxes next to "Save this network" and "Start this connection automatically" if you know that you will use this connection again in the future to allow your laptop to save the settings automatically and find and connect to this network.