Wireless Radio Cannot be Enabled by Software Due to a Hardware Switch





What is the problem?

Many laptops have a hardware switch to enable or disable the wireless radio. If the switch is disabled and you are using Intel® wireless technology, you may experience one or more of the following issues:

  • No wireless connectivity
  • Wireless radio cannot be activated from Microsoft Windows, or from Intel® PROSet/Wireless WiFi Connection Utility or other applications
  • Wireless adapter cannot detect or connect with any other wireless device in the environment

What is causing the problem?

Symptoms may occur when the hardware manufacturer has implemented a hardware switch to enable or disable the wireless radio. The functionality allows you to switch off the wireless radio in radio sensitive environments, such as an airplane.

How to fix it.


Hardware radio control switches are implemented by the Original Equipment Manufacturer. Refer to your computer documentation or contact your computer manufacturer.

The hardware switch can be implemented in many ways, including:

  • Hardware switch at the side or front of laptop
  • Button around the keyboard area
  • Key combinations utilizing Fn, Ctrl, Alt in conjunction with specialized function keys ranging from F1 to F12
  • Wireless related settings in the BIOS that can disable Wi-Fi or Bluetooth
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