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How to Turn the Wireless Devices on a Dell Notebook On and Off

Summary: Discover how to turn the wireless devices on a Dell laptop on and off, use airplane mode, and troubleshooting wireless network problems.

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Article Content


Symptoms


When you want to disable all the wireless connections on your Dell laptop, such as when you are on an airplane, you can enable Airplane Mode (Flight Mode). You can also disable individual wireless devices (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or Mobile Broadband) while leaving the others enabled.

See the expanding section that applies to your Operating System for more information and troubleshooting tips for connecting to the Internet over Wi-Fi.


  1. Locate the wireless icon either in the taskbar or in the hidden icons area. Both of these locations are in the lower right corner of the screen.
  2. Select the tab below that matches the icon on your computer.
    NOTE:
    • Ensure to unplug any network (Ethernet) cable or undock before performing the steps. Otherwise, the wireless icon may not appear correctly.
    • When you cannot find the wireless icon, reboot the computer. When it still does not show, download and install the latest drivers. For more information, see the How to Download and Install the Latest Dell Wireless Network Adapter Driver section.
    • For information about how to turn Bluetooth or individual devices on or off, touch or click the Bluetooth and Other Devices tab.
    NOTE: When viewing this article on a mobile device, swipe left or right to move between tabs, as indicated by a blue bar, and select the wanted tab.
 


This icon means that your wireless antenna is on and your computer is connected to a wireless network. When you cannot get to the Internet, see the Dell Knowledge Base article Connect Laptop to Wifi and Troubleshoot Network Issues, see the I am having issues with a slow connection, getting or staying on the Internet section.

To turn the wireless (Wi-Fi) antenna off:

  1. Touch or click the Network icon (Windows 11 wireless connected icon).
     
  2. Touch or click the panel that is labeled Wi-Fi. The panel should turn from blue to gray, as shown in Figure 2.
    Note: When you want to turn off all the wireless devices, touch or click Airplane mode. The panel should turn from gray to blue, as shown in Figure 3.
    Windows 11 wireless status wireless off Windows 11 wireless airplane mode on
    Figure 2: Wi-Fi Antenna Off Figure 3: Airplane Mode On
 


This icon means that you are not connected to a wireless network, and the antenna is turned off or is disabled. For information about setting up and connecting to your wireless network, see the Dell Knowledge Base article Connect Laptop to Wifi and Troubleshoot Network Issues.

Touch or click the Network icon (Windows 11 wireless not connected icon).

Perform the steps according to the situation that you have.

  • When the Wi-Fi panel is blue (upper left corner). Touch or click the Wi-Fi. The panel should turn from blue to gray, as shown in Figure 2.
    NOTE: When you want to turn off all the wireless devices, touch or click Airplane mode. The panel should turn from gray to blue, as shown in Figure 3.
    Windows 11 wireless status wireless off Windows 11 wireless airplane mode on
    Figure 2: Wi-Fi Antenna Off Figure 3: Airplane Mode On
  • When the Wi-Fi panel is gray (upper left corner), it means that the Wi-Fi antenna is off.
    NOTE: When you want to turn off all the wireless devices, touch or click Airplane mode. The panel should turn from gray to blue, as shown in Figure 4.
    Windows 11 wireless airplane mode on
    Figure 4: Airplane Mode On
  • When the Wi-Fi panel does not show (Figure 5), it means that the Wi-Fi antenna is disabled.
    Windows 11 wireless status wireless disabled
    Figure 5: Wi-Fi Disabled
    NOTE: When you want to turn off all the wireless devices, touch or click Airplane mode. The panel should turn from gray to blue, as shown in Figure 6.
    Windows 11 wireless airplane mode on wifi disabled
    Figure 6: Airplane Mode On
NOTE: To enable the Wi-Fi antenna, perform the following steps.
  1. Click the Network icon (Windows 11 wireless not connected icon).
  2. Click the Settings icon in the lower right corner.
  3. Click Network & Internet.
  4. Click Advanced network settings.
  5. Click Enable to the right of Wi-Fi.
  6. Close the Settings window.
 

 


This icon means that the computer is in Airplane mode and that all wireless communication devices - including Wi-Fi, Mobile Broadband, Bluetooth, GPS, and near-field communication (NFC) are turned off.

To turn the communication devices and the wireless (Wi-Fi) antenna back on:

  1. Touch or click the Network icon (Windows 11 airplane mode icon).
  2. Touch or click the panel that is labeled Airplane mode. The panel should turn from blue to gray.
    NOTE: When the panel does not turn from blue to gray, it may mean that your computer has a physical wireless switch as well. See Table 1 in the Windows 7 and Vista section for the options that your computer may use. When your computer does not have a wireless key Single_Wireless_Key_BD_v1, your computer does not have a physical wireless switch.
    NOTE: When Airplane mode still cannot be turned off, see the Dell Knowledge Base article Resolving Not Being Able to Turn Off Airplane Mode.
  3. When the panel labeled Wi-Fi is still gray, touch or click the Wi-Fi panel, and it should turn from gray to blue, as shown in Figure 2.
    Note: When you need help with connecting to a wireless network, see the Dell Knowledge Base article Connect Laptop to Wifi and Troubleshoot Network Issues.
    Windows 11 wireless connected panel
    Figure 2: Wireless Antenna On
 

 


This section provides information about how to access the settings for Bluetooth and other wireless and networking functions.

To turn Bluetooth on or off, perform the following steps:
  1. Touch or click the Bluetooth icon (Windows 11 Bluetooth icon), either in the taskbar or in the hidden icons area.
  2. Touch or click the Bluetooth tile (Figure 1).
    Windows 11 Bluetooth panel
    Figure 1: Bluetooth Antenna On
  3. When the Bluetooth panel is blue, the Bluetooth antenna is on, when the Bluetooth panel is gray the Bluetooth antenna is off.
  1. Locate the wireless icon either in the taskbar or in the hidden icons area (Figure 1). Both of these locations are in the lower right corner of the screen.
1iC_Hidden_Icons_BD_V1
Figure 1: Hidden Icon Location
  1. Select the tab below that matches the icon on your computer.
    NOTE:
    • Ensure to unplug any network (Ethernet) cable or undock before performing the steps, otherwise the wireless icon may not appear correctly.
    • When you cannot find the wireless icon, reboot the computer. When it still does not show, download and install the latest drivers. For more information, see the How to Download and Install the Latest Dell Wireless Network Adapter Driver section.
    • For information about how to turn Bluetooth or individual devices on or off, touch or click the Bluetooth and Other Devices tab.
    NOTE: When viewing this article on a mobile device, swipe left or right to move between tabs, as indicated by a blue bar, and select the wanted tab.
 


This icon means that your wireless antenna is on and your computer is connected to a wireless network. When you cannot get to the Internet, see the Dell Knowledge Base article Connect Laptop to Wifi and Troubleshoot Network Issues, see the I am having issues with a slow connection, getting or staying on the Internet section.

To turn the wireless (Wi-Fi) antenna off:

  1. Touch or click the Network icon (Win_10_Available_Connected_Wireless_Icon_BD_v1).
     
  2. Touch or click the panel that is labeled Wi-Fi. The panel should turn from blue to gray as shown in Figure 2.
    Note: When you want to turn off all the wireless devices, touch or click Airplane mode. The panel should turn from gray to blue as shown in Figure 3.
    Wireless_Antenna_Off_Windows_10_BD_v3 Airplane_Mode_On_Windows_10_BD_v3
    Figure 2: Wi-Fi Antenna Off Figure 3: Airplane Mode On
 


This icon means that the wireless (Wi-Fi) antenna is on, but you are not connected to a wireless network. For information about setting up and connecting to your wireless network, see the Dell Knowledge Base article Connect Laptop to Wifi and Troubleshoot Network Issues.

To turn the Wi-Fi antenna off:

  1. Touch or click the Network icon (Win_10_Not_Connected_Wireless_Icon_BD_v1).
     
  2. Touch or click the panel that is labeled Wi-Fi. The panel should turn from blue to gray as shown in Figure 2.
    Note: When you want to turn off all the wireless devices, touch or click Airplane mode. The panel should turn from gray to blue as shown in Figure 3.
    Wireless_Antenna_Off_Windows_10_BD_v3 Airplane_Mode_On_Windows_10_BD_v3
    Figure 2: Wi-Fi Antenna Off Figure 3: Airplane Mode On
 


This icon means that the wireless (Wi-Fi) antenna is off.

To turn the Wi-Fi antenna on:

  1. Touch or click the Network icon (Windows_10_wifi_off_BD_v1).
  2. Touch or click the panel that is labeled Wi-Fi. The panel should turn from gray to blue as shown in Figure 2.
    NOTE: When the panel does not turn from gray to blue, it may mean that your computer has a physical wireless switch as well. See Table 1 in the Windows 7 and Vista section for the options that your computer may use. When your computer does not have a wireless key Single_Wireless_Key_BD_v1, your computer does not have a physical wireless switch.
    NOTES:
    1. When you need help with connecting to a wireless network, see the Dell Knowledge Base article Connect Laptop to Wifi and Troubleshoot Network Issues.
    2. When you want to turn off all the wireless devices, touch or click Airplane mode. The panel should turn from gray to blue, as shown in Figure 3.
    Wireless_Antenna_On_Windows_10_BD_v3 Airplane_Mode_On_Windows_10_BD_v3
    Figure 2: Wi-Fi Antenna On Figure 3: Airplane Mode On
 

 


This icon means that the computer is in Airplane mode and that all wireless communication devices - including Wi-Fi, Mobile Broadband, Bluetooth, GPS, and near field communication (NFC) -are turned off.

To turn the communication devices and the wireless (Wi-Fi) antenna back on:

  1. Touch or click the Network icon (Windows_10_airplane_mode_BD_v1).
  2. Touch or click the panel that is labeled Airplane mode. The panel should turn from blue to gray.
    NOTE: When the panel does not turn from blue to gray, it may mean that your computer has a physical wireless switch as well. See Table 1 in the Windows 7 and Vista section for the options your computer may use. When your computer does not have a wireless key Single_Wireless_Key_BD_v1, your computer does not have a physical wireless switch.
    NOTE: When Airplane mode still cannot be turned off, see the Dell Knowledge Base article Resolving Not Being Able to Turn Off Airplane Mode.
  3. When the panel labeled Wi-Fi is still gray, touch or click the Wi-Fi panel and it should turn from gray to blue as shown in Figure 2.
    Note: When you need help with connecting to a wireless network, see the Dell Knowledge Base article Connect Laptop to Wifi and Troubleshoot Network Issues.
    18Ic_Wireless_Antenna_On_Windows_10_BD_v3
    Figure 2: Wireless Antenna On
 

 


This section provides information about how to access the settings for Bluetooth and other wireless and networking functions.

To turn Bluetooth on or off, perform the following steps:
  1. Press and hold the Windows key (Windows_Key_BD_v4), and then press the i key.
  2. Touch or click Devices.
  3. Touch or click Bluetooth.
  4. Touch or click the slider under Bluetooth to switch Bluetooth on and off.
  5. Touch or click More Bluetooth options to allow other Bluetooth-enabled devices to discover your computer.
To control other wireless devices individually, perform the following steps:
  1. Press and hold the Windows key (Windows_Key_BD_v4), and then press the i key.
  2. Touch or click Network & Internet.
  3. Select the appropriate option:
    • Check the status of your Internet connection.
    • Turn the wireless antenna on and off.
    • Turn on Airplane mode on and off.
    • Make your computer a Mobile Hotspot.
    • Change the settings for VPN, Data Usage, and Proxy servers.
  1. Locate the wireless icon either in the taskbar or in the hidden icons area (Figure 1). Both of these locations are in the lower right corner of the screen.
Hidden_Icon_Winodws_8_BD_v2
Figure 1: Hidden Icon Location
  1. Select the tab below that matches the icon on your computer.
    NOTES:
    • Ensure to unplug any network (Ethernet) cable or undock before performing the steps, otherwise the wireless icon may not appear correctly.
    • When you cannot find the wireless icon, reboot the computer. When it still does not show, download and install the latest drivers. For more information, see the How to Download and Install the Latest Dell Wireless Network Adapter Driver section.
    • For information about how to turn Bluetooth on or off or change the settings, touch or click the Bluetooth Options and Settings tab.
    NOTE: When viewing this article on a mobile device, swipe left or right to move between tabs, as indicated by a blue bar, and select the wanted tab.
 


This icon means that your wireless antenna is on and your computer is connected to a wireless network. When you cannot get to the Internet, see the Dell Knowledge Base article Resolving Connection Issues on Your Wi-Fi Network for Windows 8(8.1).

To turn the wireless (Wi-Fi) antenna off:

  1. Touch or click the Network icon (Wireless_Conected_Windows_8_BD_v2).
     
  2. Touch or click the slider under Wi-Fi. The slider should move to the left and change Wi-Fi from On to Off, as shown in Figure 2.
    Note: When you want to turn off all wireless devices, touch or click the slider under Airplane mode. The slider should move to the right and change Airplane Mode from Off to On, as shown in Figure 3.
    Wireless_Antenna_Off_Windows_8_BD_v3 Wireless_Airplane_Mode_On_Windows_8_BD_v1
    Figure 2: Wi-Fi Antenna Off Figure 3: Airplane Mode On
 


This icon means that the wireless antenna is on, but you are not connected to a wireless network. For information about setting up and connecting to your wireless network, see the Dell Knowledge Base article Wireless Networking for the Home for Windows 8(8.1).

To turn the wireless (Wi-Fi) antenna off:

  1. Touch or click the Network icon (Wireless_Not_Connected_Windows_8_BD_v1).
     
  2. Touch or click the slider under Wi-Fi. The slider should move to the left and change Wi-Fi from On to Off, as shown in Figure 2.
    Note: When you want to turn off all wireless devices, touch or click the slider under Airplane mode. The slider should move to the right and change Airplane Mode from Off to On, as shown in Figure 3.
    Wireless_Antenna_Off_Windows_8_BD_v3 Wireless_Airplane_Mode_On_Windows_8_BD_v1
    Figure 2: Wi-Fi Antenna Off Figure 3: Airplane Mode On
 


This icon means that the wireless (Wi-Fi) antenna is off.

To turn the wireless (Wi-Fi) antenna on:

  1. Touch or click the Network icon (Wireless_Antenna_Off_Windows_8_BD_v1).
  2. Touch or click the slider under Wi-Fi. The slider should move to the right and change Wi-Fi from Off to On, as shown in Figure 2.
    NOTE: When the slider does not move to the right and change Wi-Fi from Off to On, it may mean that your computer has a physical wireless switch as well. See Table 1 in the Windows 7 and Vista section for the options your computer may use. When your computer does not have a wireless key Single_Wireless_Key_BD_v1, your computer does not have a physical wireless switch.
    NOTES:
    1. When you need help with connecting to a wireless network, see the Dell Knowledge Base article Wireless Networking for the Home for Windows 8(8.1).
    2. When you want to turn off all wireless devices, touch or click the slider under Airplane mode. The slider should move to the right and change Airplane Mode from Off to On, as shown in Figure 3.
    Wireless_Antenna_On_Windows_8_BD_v2 Wireless_Airplane_Mode_On_Windows_8_BD_v1
    Figure 2: Wi-Fi Antenna On Figure 3: Airplane Mode On
 

 


This icon means that the computer is in Airplane Mode and that all the wireless communication devices including Wireless (Wi-Fi), Mobile Broadband, Bluetooth, GPS, near field communication (NFC) and any other type of wireless communication are turned off.

To turn the communication devices and the wireless (Wi-Fi) antenna back on:

  1. Touch or click the Network icon (Wireless_Airplane_Mode_On_Windows_8_BD_v1).
  2. Touch or click the slider to the right of Airplane mode, the slider should move to the left and the listing under Airplane mode will change from On to Off, and should look like Figure 2.
    NOTE: When the slider does not move to the left and change Airplane mode from On to Off, it may mean that your computer has a physical wireless switch as well. See Table 1 in the Windows 7 and Vista section for the options your computer may use. When your computer does not have a wireless key Single_Wireless_Key_BD_v1, your computer does not have a physical wireless switch.
  3. When the listing under Wi-Fi is still showing as Off. Touch or click the slider to the right of Wi-Fi, the slider should move to the right and the listing under Wi-Fi will change from Off to On, and should look like Figure 2.
    NOTE: When you need help with connecting to a wireless network, see the Dell Knowledge Base article Wireless Networking for the Home for Windows 8(8.1).
    Wireless_Antenna_On_Windows_8_BD_v1
    Figure 2: Wireless Antenna On
 

 


This section provides information about how to access the Bluetooth settings.

  • To turn Bluetooth on or off, perform the following steps:
    1. Touch or click the Bluetooth icon (34iC_Windows_8_Bluetooth_BD_v1).
    2. Touch or click Show Bluetooth Devices.
    3. Touch or click the slider under Bluetooth to switch the Bluetooth radio on and off.
 
  • To make your computer discoverable to other Bluetooth devices, perform the following steps:
    1. Touch or click the Bluetooth icon (34iC_Windows_8_Bluetooth_BD_v1).
    2. Touch or click Open Settings.
    3. Touch or click to check or clear Allow Bluetooth devices to find this PC.
    4. Touch or click OK.


The Windows Mobility Center provides quick access to the most common mobile features.

To access the Windows Mobility Center, perform the following steps:

  1. Click Start.
  2. In the search box, type Mobility Center.
  3. Click Windows Mobility Center, in the search results.
  4. Click Turn wireless off or Turn wireless on as needed.
    Note: When you cannot click Turn wireless off or Turn wireless on (unavailable), it means that the wireless hardware switch has turned the wireless radios off.
    You will have to manually switch the wireless hardware switch to turn the wireless on before you can use the Windows Mobility Center.
    See Table 1 for possible key combinations and wireless hardware switch locations from most to least common.
     
    Possible Key Combinations and Wireless Switch Location
    Press and hold the Fn_Key_BD_v1 key and press the 57iC_PrnScr_Key_BD_v1 key.
    Press and hold the Fn_Key_BD_v1 key and press the 59iC_F2_Key_BD_v1 key.
    Press and hold the Fn_Key_BD_v1 key and press the 61iC_F3_Key_BD_v1 key.
    Press the Single_Wireless_Key_BD_v1 key.
    Slider switch that is on right or left side of the computer
    (applies to older models of Latitude and Precision.)
    Table 1: Possible Key Combinations

For more information, see the Quick Start Guide for your laptop, as this is the best place to find that information.

For information about Linux issues such as Connect to a wireless network and hidden wireless network, Connect to a VPN and Mobile Broadband network, Create a wireless hotspot, I cannot see my wireless network in the list, manually set network settings, Turn off wireless (airplane) and Wireless network troubleshooter, see the Linux Wireless Networking site.

See the Dell Knowledge Base article Drivers and Downloads FAQs, and see the How do I download and install a device driver? section. This article provides information about how to download drivers for the wireless network adapter installed in your computer.

Notes:
  • When the affected device has no wireless connectivity, to download a driver, you must do one of the following to get the driver on the affected device:
    • Connect the affected device to your router using a network cable (when that is an option).
    • Use another device that does have Internet connectivity to download the driver and use a USB Flash drive to transfer the driver to the affected device.
    • For tablets, use the USB cable that came with the tablet to transfer the driver to the tablet, which was downloaded to another device that does have Internet connectivity.
  • The network adapter drivers are located in the Network subsection.
  • For help with figuring out which wireless network adapter is installed in your computer, see the Dell Knowledge Base article Drivers and Downloads FAQs, see the How do I determine the hardware devices that are installed in my Dell personal computer? section.
  • After updating your wireless network adapter driver, it may be necessary to reconnect to your Wireless network. For information about connecting to your wireless network, browse to our Networking and Wireless Support Center and select the Setup and Manage Wireless Networking for the Home article for your Operating System, in the Wireless Networking section.
 
Note: For additional information about Bluetooth connection issues, see the Dell Knowledge Base article Bluetooth Troubleshooting and Usage Guide

Cause

SLN115331_en_US__65Networking  SLN115331_en_US__66WiFi Our Network and Wireless support page provides additional information and resources.

Resolution


Out of Warranty support Out of warranty? No problem. Browse the Dell.com/support website and enter your Dell Service Tag and view our offers.

NOTE: Offers are only available for US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, and China personal computer customers. Server and Storage not applicable.

Article Properties


Affected Product

Laptops, Chromebook, G Series, Alienware, Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Retired Models, Dell G3 3579, Dell G7 15 7588, Dell G3 3779, Inspiron 3452, Inspiron 14 N4050, Inspiron 14R N4110, Inspiron 7580, Inspiron 15R N5110, Inspiron 17R N7110Laptops, Chromebook, G Series, Alienware, Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Retired Models, Dell G3 3579, Dell G7 15 7588, Dell G3 3779, Inspiron 3452, Inspiron 14 N4050, Inspiron 14R N4110, Inspiron 7580, Inspiron 15R N5110, Inspiron 17R N7110, Inspiron M411R, Latitude 5290 2-in-1, Latitude 5290, Latitude 7290, Latitude 7390 2-in-1, Latitude 7390, Latitude 3490, Latitude 5490, Latitude 5491, Latitude 7490, Latitude 3590, Latitude 5590, Latitude 5591, Vostro 5370, Vostro 14 3468, Vostro 5471, Vostro 15 3568, Vostro 3578, Vostro 15 5568See more

Last Published Date

20 Oct 2022

Version

14

Article Type

Solution