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How do I disable wireless access on my Windows laptop?

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Related ServiceStudent Laptop Support
Article SummaryIf your laptop has a wireless switch, turn it off. If not turn off wireless from in the Windows Mobility Center.
This article is intended for all staff, faculty, and students at all campuses.

Why turn off wireless on your laptop?

If you are not plugged into a network and you turn off wireless, your computer is stand alone - it will not access the outside world. You may want to do this for one or more of the following reasons:
  • Save battery life. Your laptop will run longer on batteries if you turn wireless off. For more tips, see How can I extend the life of my laptop battery?
  • For security / Prevent virus infection. If you suspect someone is trying to infect your computer, or that your computer may be infected - take it off the network right away! Then you can attempt to fix the problem at your own speed. For more information on dealing with security issues, see How do I know if I have a virus on my computer? or How do I report a computer virus on my staff or faculty computer?
  • Prevent interruptions. Some people work better when they can focus on one task, and frequent email or message notices can be very distracting. Especially during a presentation or class!
  • Don't need it. If you are plugged into the wired network, you don't need access to the wireless network. Also this may prevent some conflicts and speed things up for you.


How to turn off wireless on your laptop

Turning off the wireless network is straight forward on most laptops ― specifically, the type that features a hardware On-Off switch for wireless networking. In that case, slide the switch to the Off position. You’re done!

When your laptop lacks a wireless networking hardware switch, you must disable the wireless networking software.

To disable wireless networking in Windows 7 and 8

  1. Press Win+X to open the Windows Mobility Center.
  2. Click the button labeled Turn Wireless Off.
  3. Close the window.
You have successfully turned off wireless!

After you’re certain that the wireless networking hardware has been disabled, it’s time to work!

  • You most likely want to re-enable the wireless networking hardware eventually. To do so, flip the hardware switch to on. If you used the software method, repeat the steps above steps but choose Turn Wireless On in Step 2.
  • If your laptop doesn’t have a wireless networking hardware switch, check the keyboard for a special key combination that disables the wireless network. Usually this is the function key (Fn) + one of F1 through F12.



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