Ask LH: How Do I Stop My Laptop's Wi-Fi Connection From Timing Out?

Dear Lifehacker, Ever since I bought my laptop there has always been trouble connecting to my home Wi-Fi. If the computer goes to sleep (set to 30 minutes of inactivity), then when it wakes up, the Wi-Fi won’t reconnect. The only way to get it working is to reboot the computer entirely. My siblings also have laptops on the same Wi-Fi, but there's work fine, so I think it must be my machine. Right now I have to reboot a few times a day - could this harm my laptop, and how do I fix it?

Dear WP,

Yours is not an uncommon problem, and there can be a number of things causing it. Fortunately, it (should be) a relatively easy fix.

And don’t stress, rebooting your computer frequently doesn’t cause any problems.

The exact procedure will depend on what versions of Windows you are running, but in general it is all the same.

The problem appears to be that your computer is turning your Wi-Fi off during sleep, but not back on when it wakes up. You PC will turn it off to save power, but it sounds like some sort of bug is stopping it coming back on when it should.

It’s easy to check. Navigate to the Control Panel, and then Device Manager (or just type Device Manager into the Windows search bar).

From there, scroll down till you find the ‘Network Adapters’ and click to open it. You should then see an entry for your Wi-Fi device - ours says ‘Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC', but yours may be different.

Right click on the Wi-Fi device and select properties. From there open up the Power Management tab.

Make sure that the option for the computer to turn off the Wi-Fi is NOT selected. From there, reboot and see if that solves the issue.

Alternatively, some users report that they need to have the option selected (if not already) for it to work correctly. Try changing it, rebooting, then changing it back.

Alternatively, there might be a setting buried in your computer's power plan.

Head to the Control Panel, then open up Power Management. Typing ‘Power Options’ into the windows search bar works too.

From there, dive into the Advanced Settings, then Wireless Adaptor Settings. Make sure it's set to maximum performance.

Wi-Fi issues can be very frustrating, and there isn’t always a clear reason for the issue.


What Wi-Fi annoyances have you experience, and what was the workaround? Tell us in the comments.

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Comments

    What WiFi /ethernet chip is in the machine, what OS are you using?
    In my experience, certain intel chips will do this and is a known fault, particularly with Windows. My solution was to upgrade the chip, yours may be something similar. Google the model of the chip and see what comes up.

    I used to have this issue though win10 returns out the win10 driver is generic and doesn't manage the hardware power saving mode. I had to go into bios and turn the power management for it off then let windows handle it completely.

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