August 24th, 2021

How to fix a laptop that won't connect to a hotspot

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Mobile hotspots can be lifesavers when you're away from home and need an internet connection to do schoolwork or run your business. But if your Windows™ laptop isn't connecting, there's not a lot of work you can get done.

Don't panic. When your tech breaks, we fix it—whether your laptop has a virus or the battery isn't charging, our experts at Asurion are here to help. Here's their guide on how to fix a computer that won't connect to a hotspot so you can get back up and running.

Quick fixes if your computer won't connect to a hotspot

Try these steps first if your laptop isn't connecting to the hotspot on your mobile device or cellphone:

  1. Restart your mobile hotspot device.
  2. Restart your PC.
  3. Turn Bluetooth® off on your PC.
  4. Turn your PC's Wi-Fi off and on.
  5. Make sure you are inside your cellular carrier's network.
  6. If you're using your phone as a hotspot, make sure it's properly set up to provide a signal.

How to fix a PC that won't connect to a hotspot

If your computer still won't connect to a hotspot, try these steps for PCs running Windows 10 version 20H2. If you're unsure of which version of Windows you have or how to update it, check out the Update your operating system section below or contact one of our experts.

Forget your mobile hotspot network, then reconnect your device

This should resolve any signal issues if your computer won't connect to a hotspot.

  1. On your taskbar, click the Wi-Fi icon.
  2. Right click the name of your hotspot device.
  3. From the dropdown menu, select Forget.
  4. Wait for the name of your hotspot device to reappear, then try reconnecting to it.

Update your operating system

Your operating system is responsible for managing the software and hardware on your computer. But if it's outdated, your PC can experience a lot of issues—like being unable to connect to a hotspot. Here's how to update it:

  1. On your taskbar, click Start > Settings > Update & Security.
  2. From the Windows Update tab, click Check for updates. If no updates are available, the menu will say “You're up to date." If updates are available, Windows will automatically download and install them.

Update your network adapter driver

The network adapter driver is also a critical component of your internet connection, and if it's outdated, it can cause your computer to be unable to connect to a hotspot. Here's how to update it:

  1. On your taskbar, type “Device Manager" into the search box.
  2. Click Device Manager > Network adapters. Right-click the name of your network adapter driver (on some PCs, this may look like Intel® Dual Band Wireless with a dash and a series of numbers at the end).
  3. Select Search automatically for updated driver software > Update driver (on some PCs, this may simply say Update driver).
  4. Restart your PC before trying to reconnect to a hotspot.

Roll back your network adapter driver

If updating your network adapter driver doesn't help your hotspot issues and causes other problems with your computer, Windows gives you the option to undo the update using the rollback feature. Here's how:

  1. On your taskbar, type “Device Manager" into the search box.
  2. Click Device Manager Network adapters.
  3. Right-click the name of your network adapter driver and select Properties. A new window will appear.
  4. Click the Driver tab, then click the Roll Back Driver button.

Troubleshoot your network adapter

This could help if there are issues outside of driver updates that are causing your network adapter to malfunction:

  1. On your taskbar, click Start > Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot.
  2. Scroll down and click Additional troubleshooters > Network Adapter.
  3. Click Run the troubleshooter and follow the onscreen instructions.

Run the internet connections troubleshooter

Like troubleshooting your network adapter, this will ensure there are no general connectivity issues that are causing your computer to be unable connect to hotspot:

  1. On your taskbar, click Start > Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot.
  2. Scroll down and click Additional troubleshooters > Internet Connections.
  3. Click Run the troubleshooter and follow the onscreen instructions.

Check the storage space on your PC

If your PC is out of storage space, your computer can experience major performance issues, including hotspot problems. Here's how to check your storage:

  1. On your taskbar, click Start > Settings > System > Storage.
  2. If your PC has less than 1 GB available, you'll need to free up space using one of these storage optimization features.

Turn off antivirus protection software and Microsoft Defender Firewall

Occasionally, antivirus and firewall software can prevent your laptop from being able to connect to a hotspot. Here's how to disable it:

Note: If you choose to disable your antivirus software or Microsoft Defender Firewall, this could leave your PC vulnerable to cyberattacks. So be careful while browsing certain websites.

  1. On your task bar, click Start Settings > Update & Security Windows Security.
  2. Click Virus & threat protection Manage settings.
  3. Turn off Real-time protection.
  4. Return to Windows Security, then click Firewall & network protection. Select Private network, then switch Microsoft Defender Firewall to the off position.

Reset the network settings on your PC

If none of the above steps resolves the issue, you can try this step as a last resort—resetting your network settings will remove and reinstall all your network adapters and wipe all of your password presets. Here's how to do it:

  1. On your task bar, click Start Settings > Network & Internet.
  2. Select Status from the left panel, then select Network reset and follow the onscreen instructions.

Still having issues?

If your computer still won't connect to a hotspot, you may be dealing with a hardware problem. For a free diagnostic, visit the nearest uBreakiFix by Asurion store. We'll get you back up and running as soon as the same day.

Protect the devices your family loves and relies on with one simple plan that covers all your favorite home tech. With Asurion Home+, we cover your computers, TVs, tablets, premium headphones, smart devices, and so much more—plus, 24/7 assistance for your whole family with any tech care need—for less than $1/day. Learn more about Asurion Home+ coverage and how you can get peace-of-mind device protection.

*The Asurion® trademarks and logos are the property of Asurion, LLC. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Asurion is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by any of the respective owners of the other trademarks appearing herein.*

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