How to Enable Wi-Fi on a ThinkPad

By Joshua Benjamin

Most laptops that come with a wireless modem pre-installed also include an external switch that enables or disables the connectivity of the modem. This, however, is not the only method of enabling or disabling the wireless modem, and is not included on every laptop. Most IBM ThinkPad models come with this switch installed, while others require a key-press to serve the same function. Ultimately, enabling the wireless on your ThinkPad is a relatively simple process, but can be somewhat confusing due to the fact that there are several methods you might need to try before you are successful.

Step 1

Locate the wireless icon in the system tray of your taskbar, if you have one.

Step 2

Right-click the icon and select the "enable wireless" or "Wi-Fi on" option. This may be labeled differently depending on what utility you use to configure your wireless connections.

Step 3

Click the "Start" button and open up the Control Panel window.

Step 4

Click "System and Maintenance," followed by "Device Manager." This will open the Device Manager window.

Step 5

Expand the "Network Adapters" entry and right-click the wireless adapter that appears. Click the "Enable" option--if needed--to enable the network adapter.

Step 6

Locate the Wi-Fi switch, if you have a ThinkPad that is equipped with said switch. The switch is typically located on the front of the ThinkPad near the right side.

Step 7

Set the Wi-Fi switch to the "On" position. Your Wi-Fi should now be enabled after following these steps.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some ThinkPads also have the ability to enable and disable the Wi-Fi connection by pressing the "Fn" + "F5" key combination.