There are times when most of us have tried to connect to a Wi-fi network, somewhere and noticed that the Wi-Fi icon is not where it should be. It can be very annoying if the wireless icon is missing from Windows OS.
You may have come up with an alternative to connect with a LAN cable or a mobile hotspot. However, you should know that there are easy ways to fix this and you will find them in this article.
Bringing the Wi-Fi Icon Back
Under usual circumstances, you will find the wifi icon near the notification area when your system is connected to a Wifi network or wireless connection, to the left of the Time and Date on the Taskbar. When you click on the Network icon menu, you should be able to see the Wi-fi icon.
But with the problem that you are facing you will find the Wi-Fi icon missing, from where it should be. This means that you can not connect to a WiFi network or a wireless connection with access to the internet, through your PC.
There are a few techniques that you can use to fix the Wi-Fi icon missing issue from your Windows PC. They are:
- Check in the System Tray
- Restart Windows File Explorer.
- Bring the wifi icon (missing) through Windows Settings
- Check wifi adapter status
- Enable the Wifi Adapter through the Device Manager.
- Re-Install the Network Adapter
- Re-enable the network icon in the Windows Group Policy Editor
- Restart your System Network Service
- Try the Registry Fix
- Launch the Network Adapter Troubleshooter
Methods to fix the WiFi icon missing in Windows 10 systems
Method 1: Look in your System Tray
There are chances that you dragged the WiFi icon and dropped it into the task tray, by mistake. This is an honest mistake and can be solved by dragging it back to the place where the network icon used to be.
Method 2: Restart the Windows Explorer
Sometimes you just have to restart the Windows Explorer tool on your computer to get the missing wifi icon back.
These are the steps to reboot the Windows File Explorer on your laptop:
- Open the Windows Task Manager by pressing the CTRL + SHIFT + ESC keys together or right-click on the Taskbar and choose Task Manager. You can also press CTRL + ALT + DEL and select Task Manager.
- Click on the Processes tab and locate Windows Explorer. You may have to scroll down.
- Click on the Windows Explorer process and select Restart on the bottom part of the window.
- Or, you can select the app, in the Task Manager and click on End Task. Once this process is closed, click on the File menu and choose Run New Task. Type in explorer.exe and hit enter. The Windows Explorer will run again.
You should, then, be able to see the wifi icon on the taskbar.
Method 3: Select which icons appear on the Taskbar
You can also use Windows Settings, which makes changes for the entire system, to bring your wifi icon back. You will have to select which icons appear on the Taskbar.
These are the steps to resolve the Wifi icon missing issue:
- Right-click on your Taskbar and select Taskbar Settings from the menu that appears.
You can also open the Windows Settings through the Start Menu and search for the Taskbar in it.
- In Taskbar Settings, Click on Select which icons appear on the Taskbar button, in the Notification Area section.
- Click on the toggle switch next to the Network icon, if it is off.
- Once this is done, refresh your display and you will be able to see the WiFi icon on your device taskbar.
- If you are using Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, make sure that the Network checkbox is checked, under the same settings as that of Windows 10. Click Apply and Ok to save changes.
Method 4: Check the wifi adapter’s status
There are chances that the network or wireless adapter driver which is responsible for connecting to the internet is enabled or not. You can find and enable it in the Devices Manager.
This is how you can see if your adapter driver is disabled and enable wifi back:
- Press Windows key + R key, together, to launch the Run utility. You can also search for it in the search bar and type in Run
- In the Open field, type in devmgmt.msc and press Enter or click Ok to launch the Devices Manager.
- Locate the Network Adapters heading and open it.
- You’ll see the adapter which has been disabled. Right-click on it and select Enable device.
If you have an update pending for your drivers, it may cause problems too. You should be able to see the hidden wireless icon again after these steps.
Method 5: Check in the Control Panel for disabled network or wireless internet connections
If you notice that the wifi icon is missing or the icon is hidden in your Windows Laptop, it may be because the adapter which provides internet to you is disabled. You can check this in the Control Panel.
- Press Windows key + R on your keyboard to open the Run tool.
- In it, enter ncpa.cpl and hit the Enter key.
- This will take you to the Network Connections option inside your Control Panel. You will see all the connections you are and were connected to.
- Right-Click on the disabled connection and click Enable.
This will take a few seconds and you will be able to see the wifi icon (missing) back again.
Method 6: Network Adapter re-installation
This is how you can uninstall and reinstall the network adapters:
- Press Windows key + R key together to launch the Run tool.
- Type in devmgmt.msc and Click Ok, to open the Device Manager.
- Navigate to the faulty adapter driver, right-click on it and click on the Uninstall option to remove it.
- Restart your laptop to save the changes.
- Go back to the Device Manager and, click on the Action menu and choose Scan for hardware changes in it. The adapter driver will be installed again, automatically.
You should now be able to see the wireless icon.
Method 7: Network icon enabling in the Windows Group Policy Editor
- Open the Group Policy Editor. Launch the Run tool and type gpedit.msc
- In the Group Policy editor, follow this path:
User > Configuration > Administrative Templates > Start Menu and Taskbar
- Locate Remove the networking icon, double-click to open it, and modify the settings to Not Configured or Disabled. Save the changes once you finish the job.
Method 8: Restart Network Services
There are a number of network services that affect the Start menu and taskbar (directly or indirectly), which you can try restarting to fix the wifi icon missing issue on your laptop.
- Open the Run tool (Windows + R key) and launch the Services window.
- Locate the following services, in the list of system services:
- Network Connections
- Remote Access Connection Manager
- Remote Procedure Call
- Plug and Play
- Right-click on each of these services and click on Start. You should be able to see the wireless icon after all these services are running.
Method 9: The Registry Fix
The Wifi icon missing issue can be fixed by a tweak in the Registry Editor. These are the steps to use this method to bring the wireless icon back:
- Open the Run tool and type regedit in the Open text box and press Enter.
- The Registry Editor window opens. Open this registry:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SYSTEM\ CurrentControlSet\ Control\ Network
- Now, find the Config key and Delete it. You may not find this and this is usual. Restart your laptop to apply the changes.
This is one of the fixes that you can try to resolve the wifi icon missing issue.
Method 10: The Network Adapter Troubleshooter
The Network Adapters Troubleshooter is dedicated to fixing the problems that are faced by the internet adapter drivers.
- Search for Network Adapter Troubleshooter in the search bar. Click on the “Find and Fix problems with your Network Adapter”. This will open the Network Adapter Troubleshoot window.
- Click next and choose the adapter which you think is faulty. It will diagnose the problem and fix it.