Wi-Fi is a wonderful thing when it works correctly. You can probably carry a device around and still get high-speed access to the internet. But when it misbehaves, fixing Wi-Fi configuration errors on Windows can be a pain. Here are some things you should try.
Restart Your Computer and Router
“Have you tried turning it off and back on again” is the biggest cliche in tech, and for good reason — restarting a computer will often solve a whole slew of problems. In this case, you’ll need to restart both your router and your PC.
Note: Combined router and modem units are common now. They’re the standard hardware you get from your internet service provider (ISP) — if you don’t have a dedicated router, just restart the combo unit.
Locate your router (or combo unit) and unplug it for a minimum of 30 seconds, then plug it back in. Be sure not to accidentally unplug any Ethernet, fiber, or coaxial connections while you’re fiddling with the power.
Next, you need to restart your computer. The Start menu got a significant cosmetic rework between Windows 10 and Windows 11. Follow the instructions for the version of Windows that you have on your PC.
To restart Windows 10, click the Start button, then click the Power icon on the left, and then click “Restart.”
Click the Start button, click on the Power icon, then click “Restart.”
Reset Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)
DHCP should handle acquiring an IP address from your router automatically, however, nothing is perfect. Try forcing your computer to reacquire a new IP address from your router. You’ll need to launch an elevated PowerShell.
Click the Start button, type “powershell” into the search bar, and then click “Run as Administrator.”
Type the following two commands into Powershell:
After you run each command you’ll see a bunch of text appear relating to different network adapters. Every computer will be different, depending on what hardware is present. The
ipconfig /renew command might take 10, 20, or even 30 seconds to fully run, so don’t panic if it just sits there for a bit before you start seeing things pop up in PowerShell.
Try your connection again.
Reset TCP/IP Stack
Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol, most often referred to as TCP/IP, handles how information is broken into packets and then labeled for delivery. It is critical for most modern Internet traffic, and when something gets corrupted or otherwise messed up, it can cause connection issues.
Launch PowerShell as Administrator, then type the following command into the window to reset the TCP/IP stack.
netsh int ip reset
There will be a bunch of “Resetting, OK!” lines in the PowerShell Window if everything went correctly.
Restart your PC, then check if the error is still happening.
WinSock is another part of Windows that allows your PC to communicate with devices on the Internet. WinSock can be responsible for network (including Wi-Fi) errors, and a WinSock reset only takes a few seconds.
Note: It is possible resetting WinSock will cause problems with some programs that modify the WinSock Catalog. If you have problems with an application after the reset, but it fixes your Wi-Fi error, just reinstall the program. It should fix the program’s issue.
Fire up an elevated Command Prompt or PowerShell, then type
netsh winsock reset into the window.
You will see “Successfully Reset the WinSock Catalog.” After you run the command, restart your computer and try your Wi-Fi again.
Adjust Your PC’s Network Settings and Drivers
Set Automatic DHCP
Your PC will be set to automatically acquire an IP address unless you manually changed it at some point. If you’re getting the “Wi-Fi Doesn’t Have a Valid IP Configuration” error, manually setting your IP could be the origin of the problem.
Click the Start button, type “view network connections” into the search bar, and click “View Network Connections.”
You can also navigate there through the Control Panel if you want — Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center, then click “Change Adapter Settings” in the top left corner.
Locate your Wi-Fi network adapter, right-click it, and hit “Properties.”
Scroll until you find “Internet Protocol Version 4” (IPv4) and “Internet Protocol Version 6” (IPv6). Start by selecting “Internet Protocol Version 4” and then click “Properties.”
Note: It isn’t likely, but if you happen to notice that “Internet Protocol Version 4” or “Internet Protocol Version 6” aren’t enabled (they aren’t enabled if they don’t have a checkmark next to them) click the box and enable them, then click “OK.” It is possible that is the source of the problem.
Select the option for “Obtain an IP Address Automatically,” and then click “Ok.”
Repeat the process for “Internet Protocol Version 6.” Just keep in mind that IPv6 settings will all display IPv6 addresses, so don’t be concerned if the IP addresses look different.
RELATED: What Is IPv6, and Why Does It Matter?
Update Your Network Drivers
Click the Start button, type “Device Manager” into the search bar, and then hit “Open.”
You’re looking for “Network Adapters” category. Once you find it, click the arrow and expand the list. What you see in the list depends entirely on what hardware and software you’re running — if you have a lot of things that require physical or virtual network adapters, like a VPN, a virtual machine, a physical Ethernet port, and a Wi-Fi adapter — you should expect a pretty busy list.
The Wi-Fi network adapter will probably be named something similar to “Intel(R) Wi-Fi” or “Realtek Wi-Fi,” as they manufacture most of the wireless adapters you’ll find in laptops and motherboards. If you have installed a specific Wi-Fi card, like one from TP-Link or D-Link, look for that instead.
Right-click the adapter and click “Update Drivers.”
Note: If you’re getting this specific error there is a good chance you can’t get on the internet to get drivers in the first place. If you can, plug in via an Ethernet cable.
Select “Search Automatically for Drivers” and let it search.
If it recommends you install drivers, do it, and then restart your computer.
If you can’t get on the internet to look for drivers, or the drivers Windows fetched automatically didn’t help, you should download and install the drivers from the manufacturer.
You can find the manufacturer’s drivers on the manufacturer’s website. Be careful when searching for drivers, there are plenty of websites that will promise to install all of your drivers and optimize your computer for you — in the best-case scenario, they’re loaded with tons of garbage freeware you probably don’t want and definitely don’t need.
If you have an Intel wireless card, Intel provides a utility to automatically identify the correct drivers for your system.
Factory Reset Your Router
Your router probably isn’t the origin of the problem, so don’t do this until you’ve exhausted all of the other options available to you. Configuring all of your network settings isn’t really fun, so it is best avoided if possible.
RELATED: Beginner Geek: How to Configure Your Router
If you’re out of options, however, you can try it. Locate your router, or your combined unit, and press the recessed button for at least 10 seconds. You might need a paperclip or other narrow object to depress the button.
If that didn’t work, you’re going to have to start trying more unlikely solutions. If you’re running antivirus software and a firewall — be it a third-party antivirus or Microsoft Defender — try disabling them. After that, go down the list and see if any of these solutions help.
RELATED: How to Fix When Wi-Fi Won’t Connect