One problem I have run into on several Windows 7 machines is not getting any wireless networks when I go to the wireless network manager! Usually, when you click on Network icon in the task bar, you get a list of wireless networks and then just connect.
However, there are times when you will see the message “No wireless networks available”, which makes no sense because the day before you may have seen 15 wireless networks while in your apartment or wherever. There are also some instances where a few wireless networks show up, but not all networks that you know exist. That’s a slightly different problem, but one that I’ll address too.
Basically, there are a few things you can try which normally fix the issue. It’s not a bug or anything like that, but it can be really frustrating if you don’t know what’s causing the problem. Below I will walk though the various steps you can take to resolve the missing wireless networks issue.
STEPS TO FIX THIS PROBLEM
Power Off/On Modem, Router, Computer
You’ve probably heard this one a thousands times, but it actually does work sometimes! Go ahead and turn off your modem, router and computer. Then power up your modem, wait 1 minute, then power up the router, again wait 1 minute and then power up the computer. It’s really simple and rebooting is a magical savior a lot of times.
Next up are drivers. Make sure you have the latest driver for your network card and also the latest firmware for your router. With all the new fancy wireless routers coming out these days, you need to make sure you have the latest drivers to keep up.
Another issue here is to try and use Windows Update first to update the network driver if you can. Sometimes the one from Microsoft works and the one from the manufacturer does not, so try both.
Ensure SSID Broadcast
If you don’t see the wireless network name listed in your wireless list, it also could simply be because SSID broadcast has been disabled on the router. Log into the router and make sure that SSID broadcast is turned on.
Reset Wireless Router
If you had somebody setup your router, you never know what kind of security settings they may have turned on. For example, some people turn on MAC Address Filtering, which only allows computers whose MAC address is listed to connect to the network. Other settings like 2 GHz and 5 GHz can cause issues. In this case, just go ahead and perform a full reset of your router.
You can normally do that by pressing the reset button on the back of the router, which will bring the device back to default settings and remove any passwords, etc.
WEP vs WPA/WPA2
his is actually a big issue that causes a lot of problems because people have older computers and laptops that used to run Windows XP, but now are loaded with Windows 7. Everything works great, but your network card may not support newer protocols like WPA2 with AES encryption. If you have no idea what any of that means, basically WEP is the simplest security protocol and will normally work with old hardware too.
If your wireless router says WPA or WPA2 under wireless security and you can’t see the network on your computer, try changing it to WEP and see if it shows up then. If it does, then you have up update your network card or work with the less secure WPA protocol.
And it’s useful to note that you have to change the WEP/WPA settings on both the router and the computer. But normally, once you change it on the router, the computer will automatically figure it out.
If you can’t connect to wireless networks after coming back from sleep mode or hibernate, then it could be that you have to adjust your power settings. Basically, go to your power profile (Balanced, etc) and click on Change Plan Settings. Click on Wireless Adapter Settings and then choose Maximum Performance.
Another thing you can try is to uninstall the wireless adapter from your computer by going to Device Manager and then rebooting the computer. When Windows loads up, it will normally “find” the hardware again and re-install it, which may fix the issue.
Hopefully one of the methods mentioned above will fix your problem. If not, post a comment here and we’ll try to help.