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 Connecting to a Wireless (WIFI) network

First, be careful you know the network you are connecting to.  Honeypots are becoming very popular.  Honeypots are unsecured wireless networks meant to sucker someone in to connecting.  Connecting to a honeypot may make for a really bad day...

Second, just because you find an unsecured network does not give you the right to connect.  If you don't own it, don't touch!  There are many States and localities that have enacted laws making it illegal to have an unsecured network and/or to connect to an unsecured network. 

But with that out of the way...

In Windows 8 and up, click the network icon and a list of available wireless networks should appear.

Simply select the desired network.  If you are connecting using WPS, the connection should complete shortly. 

If not using WPA, you will be prompted for the network password.

Computers running Windows 7 or earlier, or those running wireless connection software may have a connection icon similar to these:

     

Security

There are various security schemes available, the most popular are WEP and WPA/WPA2.

  • WPA(2) has variations within: TKIP and AES... Typically WPA is an eight (or more) character code.  
  • WEP common in older routers, requires either a 10 or 26 character code with numbers and letters a-f. 
    "O" is always a zero.  "l" is always a one.  Remember a number or letter but only A-F...
connecting

If WIFI is not on or Airplane mode is on, you will not see (or be able to connect) to any wireless networks...

Not finding a WIFI network?

If your computer is not showing any networks available, there are a few things to check:

No wireless device

If the computer does not see any wireless devices in the Device Manager, it item is likely defective but, maybe one more place to look and that's in the Bios.  Most laptops have an enable/disable BIOS setting.

Desktop WIFI devices are easy to replace.  Typically a USB connected device, sometimes and internal card.
Laptops on the other hand may be very expensive to fix in which case, purchase a USB wireless adapter...

See also