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[Fix] Wi-Fi Networks (SSID) Not Visible in Windows 10/11

Your Windows 10 computer may not show available Wi-Fi Networks (No Wi-Fi Networks Found) sometimes after installing a feature update. Many of the users have reported that they are unable to search and discover new Wi-Fi access points after going through the Fall Creators Update. However, this issue still exists in computers running v2004 which is the latest Windows 10 build as of this post.

Welcome to the Windows-land where the “mandatory updates” and “security patches” would more often than not, make your life harder by either messing up or not showing something. One of the rather recent additions to the list is the Wi-Fi problem.

Workaround: Connect to a Wi-Fi network via the lock/login screen

In some cases, the command netsh wlan show networks (from a Command Prompt window) may show the list of available Wi-Fi access points (SSIDs) correctly, but the GUI may indicate no wireless networks are available.

Despite this problem, the Lock Screen may show the list of available Wi-Fi networks and you should be able to choose the network via the Wi-Fi icon in the bottom right corner. The “missing Wi-Fi networks” problem may be seen only for logged in users.

Here is the comprehensive list for troubleshooting which if followed properly should make Windows 10 show all available Wi-Fi networks in your vicinity.

Windows 10 Does Not Show Available Wi-Fi Networks (SSID)

Step 1: Check your Services configuration

  1. Right-click Start, and click Run.
  2. Type in services.msc and click OK.
  3. Make sure that the following services are running, and the startup type is correctly set:
    • Network Location Awareness (Automatic)
    • Network List Service (Manual)
    • Windows Event Log (Automatic)
    • Windows Update (Manual)
    • WLAN AutoConfig (Automatic)
    • Radio Management Service (Manual)
  4. After verifying and fixing the Service configuration, close the Services console.

For more information, check out the article Windows 10 Default Services Configuration.

Step 2: Turn on the network discovery

Many users have stated that they are having difficulties connecting to the current networks; it, in fact, won’t show anything at all. So, let’s start the investigation by checking the Network discovery options.

  1. Open Control Panel
  2. Click “Network and Internet” which will lead you to the “Network and Sharing Center”.
  3. Click the “Change advanced sharing settings” in the left-hand top corner.
  4. You should now be on a page with the heading “Change sharing options for different network profiles”. Among many others, there should be a section named “Network discovery” around the top. Make sure it’s active; if it is not currently, click on the “Turn on network discovery” radio button.
  5. Click “Save changes” at the bottom.

Step 3: Turn on the Network Discovery for all network profiles:

We are going to turn on the Network discovery for all the networks this time. This time a slight bit differently though.

  1. Open an admin Command Prompt.
  2. Type in the following command and press ENTER:
    netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group="Network Discovery" new enable=Yes
  3. Close the command prompt after successfully executing the command.

This should eliminate any network problem that you had previously. If it’s still there bothering you then it implies that there might be something wrong with the drivers.

Step 4: Update the Wi-Fi network card (WLAN) drivers

There might be the possibility that the current version of the network drivers is not compatible with Windows 10 causing some Wi-Fi networks to not appear.

  1. Head over to the manufacturer’s website of your network adapter and download the appropriate version. It most often comes in the form of an archive (.zip or .rar format).
  2. Right-click Start, and click “Device Manager”.
  3. Expand the “Network adapters” option.
  4. Find your Wi-Fi adapter, right-click on it and choose the “Update Driver Software…” option. Also, make sure that the Wi-Fi network adapter is not in a disabled state.

  5. Click the “Browse my computer for driver software” option and locate the downloaded driver file from the explorer when prompted.

If everything goes well your network drivers should be updated successfully and the problem would be history by now. If it’s still present, follow on.

Step 5: Router’s frequency – 2.4 vs 5GHz band

It’s possible that the router is configured to use the 5 GHz frequency, whereas your Wi-Fi adapter (802.11 b/g/n) doesn’t support 5 GHz. If that’s the case, the specific SSID won’t be visible on your computer, but seen from your latest smartphone.

You may either purchase a new Wi-Fi 802.11ac (or higher) adapter or configure the router to broadcast in the 2.4 GHz frequency.

Step 6: Wi-Fi Channels 12 & 13

(This tip helps most users.)

It could be possible that your router is broadcasting on the channel 12, 13, or even 14 (e.g., Japan), but your Wi-Fi adapter is not capable of receiving signals on Channel 12, 13, or 14.

Option 1: Change the Wi-Fi adapter’s country region setting

On some Wi-Fi adapters, you can change the country region (2.4 GHz) setting to 1, in order to enable channels 12 and 13.

Open Device Manager, and access the Wi-Fi adapter properties. Click on the Advanced tab, and change the Country Region (2.4 GHz) setting accordingly.

FCC (US) permits 2.4 GHz Channels 1 to 11. Channels 12 and 13 are allowed, but only in low-power mode. In Europe and the rest of the world, channels 12 & 13 can be used unrestrictedly. Channel 14 is illegal in the United States. It’s valid in Japan.

If your router is broadcasting on Channel 12 or 13, but your Wi-Fi adapter’s Country Region (2.4 GHz) option is set to 0 or 2, the Wi-Fi network won’t be visible to your computer.

Country region setting missing?

Some users have indicated that upgrading the Wi-Fi driver restored the missing Country Region (2.4 GHz) setting. Not all Wi-Fi adapters may have this option. If your Wi-Fi adapter doesn’t, it probably has a hardware limitation. It’s time to buy a new adapter.

Option 2: Change the Wi-Fi network’s channel in the router

Routers are preconfigured with automatic channel assignment so that it chooses the right channel automatically based on the level of interference. But, if channels 12 & 13 are used, some adapters can’t see the SSID. In that case, you can manually assign your preferred channel (1 – 11) in the router administration screen.

Additional Tip: Some users have indicated that changing the 2.4 GHz band’s Channel Width to 20 MHz (from Auto) in the Wi-Fi adapter’s properties resolved the issue.

Step 7: Got a Wireless 6 (AX Wi-Fi) router? Try disabling the “AX” mode.

If you’re using the Wireless AX Wi-Fi 6 router and your computer is unable to detect your router’s WiFi 6 network, it might be because you have an older wireless network adapter. Downloading and installing the latest drivers for your wireless network adapter from your manufacturer’s website can fix this issue.

If updating your drivers does not fix the issue, you might still be able to detect your WiFi network if you disable the AX WiFi feature of your router.

To disable AX WiFi on NETGEAR RAX series AX routers:

On Cisco WiFI AX routers,

Step 8: Router SSID broadcast is hidden

If the router is configured to hide the SSID broadcast, devices can’t see the SSID in the list of networks.

However, users can connect to the hidden Wi-Fi network manually. You can create a new Wi-Fi network profile using the GUI. And connect to it on-demand any time using the following command if you want:

netsh wlan connect name=[SSID_name]

Or, if you’re in charge of the router, you can uncheck the Hide SSID or similar option in the router administration window.

Step 9: Manually connect to a Wi-Fi network

If the Wi-Fi network SSID is not visible, then router’s SSID broadcast may be set to hidden you may attempt to connect to the hidden network manually.

  1. Backup your Wi-Fi profiles.
  2. Delete the Wi-Fi profile that’s pointing to the problematic SSID.
  3. Open Control Panel → Network and Sharing Center → Click Set up a new connection or network.
  4. Click Manually connect to a wireless network.
  5. Type in the network name, security type, and the security key
  6. Enable the Connect even if the network is not broadcasting
  7. Click Next, and complete the process.

Step 10: Unblock SSIDs using Netsh command

Make sure that some SSIDs are not blocked manually using the Netsh command. For more information, check out the article How to Hide your Neighbors’ Wi-Fi Network (SSID) on Your Computer.

If some SSIDs are showing up, but others don’t, then you may have added a whitelist of SSIDs or blocked certain SSIDs earlier. Open a Command Prompt window run this command to clear the blocked entries:

netsh wlan delete filter permission=denyall networktype=infrastructure

Step 11: Remove the Outdated VPN software entry in the registry

This is a known issue that is mostly caused by some outdated VPN software. But before you even think about going to step 1, it’s strictly advised that you take a registry backup as it may mess up the system in the worst-case scenario.

  1. Open an elevated or Admin Command Prompt as explained earlier.
  2. Type the following command in the window and hit Enter:
    netcfg -s n
  3. This will show a list of networking protocols, drivers, and services. Check to see if DNI_DNE is listed in the output. This component is related to an outdated Cisco VPN client.
  4. If DNI_DNE is listed, then type/run the following commands to uninstall the components.
    reg delete HKCR\CLSID\{988248f3-a1ad-49bf-9170-676cbbc36ba3} /va /f
  5. Now type the following command and press ENTER:
    netcfg -v -u dni_dne
  6. Exit the command prompt window and restart Windows. You should now have access to all the Wi-Fi access points in range.

Step 12: Buy a new Wi-Fi adapter

If none of the above steps help, buy a new Wi-Fi USB adapter and see if the Wi-Fi network(s) is visible and you’re able to connect to it.

Also, a SuperUser member named Paul Sweatte posted the following observation:

The connection speed of the wireless adapter in the laptop may exceed the speed of the router based on the mode:

In a mixed environment of old and new devices, the router may stop broadcasting its SSID to devices requesting 150Mbps and higher connections, but continue to broadcast to devices requesting 54Mbps or lower connections.

Although I’ve not verified the above, it could be true. And, that may be the reason why certain Wi-Fi networks are not detected in a computer but seen from another computer or mobile phone.

Step 13: Reset Windows 10

If none of the above steps (including the new Wi-Fi adapter) helps, you may try resetting your Windows 10 device. Make sure you backup your data first.

Hope that was helpful. Let us know whether you were able to make Windows 10 show all available Wi-Fi network (SSID) successfully using the above methods. Let’s know your feedback in the Comments section below.

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