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How to Fix the "Windows Can't Connect to This Network" Error in Windows 11

MUO 2/16/2023 Matthew Wallaker
© Provided by MUO

A common network issue that Windows 11 users face, is the "Windows can't connect to this network" error. This error can be quite frustrating, as Windows doesn’t give you any instructions on how to fix it. Sometimes, you just have to update the network driver or run the network troubleshooter.

However, the solution might be a bit more complicated, but there's no need don’t worry. We’ll walk you through a complete troubleshooting process to get rid of the “Windows can’t connect to this network” error.

1. Connect to the Network Using Another Device

There’s a chance there’s nothing wrong with your Windows 11 computer, but you get the “Windows can’t connect to this network” error due to a network-related issue. To test it, try to connect to the same network using a different device. If you run into the same error, you’ll have to solve your network issues.

If you can connect to the same network on a different device, go through the troubleshooting tips below.

2. Manage the Network Drivers on Windows 11

In many cases, connection issues such as the "Windows can't connect to this network" error can be resolved by updating your PC's network drivers. However, if you recently updated the drivers and the error appeared soon afterward, you should roll back the drivers to the previous version until the new ones are fixed. You can also try reinstalling the drivers to see if that fixes the problem.

All these actions can be performed by accessing the Device Manager, so let's dive in and try some fixes.

1. Update Network Drivers

To update your network drivers, perform the following:

  1. Right-click the Start button and select Device Manager.
  2. In the Device Manager window, expand the Network adapters section.
  3. Right-click on the wireless adapter for your device, and click on Update driver.
  4. On the next window, choose Search automatically for drivers.
  5. Windows will download and install the latest drivers for your device.

2. Roll Back the Network Drivers

If the issue started after you installed a new network driver, here's how to go back to the drivers you had before:

  1. Open Device Manager.
  2. Expand the Network adapters section.
  3. Right-click on the network driver and select Properties.
  4. In the Properties window, go to the Driver tab.
  5. Click on the Roll back driver option. The option will be grayed out if the driver wasn't recently updated.
  6. Windows will install the previous version of the network driver.
  7. Reboot your computer.

3. Uninstall the Network Drivers

If you want to do a fresh install, first download your network drivers from your manufacturer's website. It's a good idea to do this first before you uninstall your current network drivers; once they're gone, you won't be able to connect to the internet through that network adapter until you reinstall its drivers again.

Once you have your new drivers ready, it's time to scrub away the old one:

  1. Open Device Manager.
  2. Again, expand the Network adapters section.
  3. Right-click the network driver.
  4. Click on Uninstall device.
  5. Check the Attempt to remove the driver for this device option.
  6. Click on Uninstall.
  7. When you reboot your PC, Windows will automatically reinstall the driver.

If this method didn't work, there are other ways to uninstall drivers in Windows 11.

3. Check for Windows Updates

Microsoft constantly releases updates to fix any bugs and glitches you may encounter while using your computer. If you’re using an older Windows version, you might miss the updates designed to keep your computer running smoothly.

To update Windows to the latest version, press Windows key + I to bring up the Settings menu. Then, click Windows Updates > Check for updates.

Windows will search for any updates and install them automatically. Once the process is complete, try to connect to the network.

4. Disable IPv6

IPv6 is really not needed for most connections unless explicitly specified by your router or ISP. So, you should disable it and try connecting to the wireless network again.

Here is how you can disable IPv6 on your computer:

  1. Locate the network icon on the System Tray.
  2. Right-click on the icon and choose Network and Internet settings.
  3. Click on Advanced network settings.
  4. Under Related settings, choose More network adapter options.
  5. Right-click on the wireless network, then choose Properties. Ensure you have admin privileges.
  6. Uncheck the Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) option.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Reconnect to the wireless network again.

5. Disable and Enable the Wireless Network Adapter

Sometimes, an easy reset of the wireless network adapter can fix connection issues on Windows. You can do this using the Advanced network options in Windows 11:

  1. Right-click on the Network icon located in the System Tray.
  2. Click on Network and Internet settings.
  3. Click on Advanced network settings.
  4. On the next window, choose More network adapter options.
  5. Now, right-click the wireless adapter and click on Disable.
  6. Wait for a moment, then right-click the wireless adapter and choose Enable.
  7. Reboot your PC and try reconnecting to the network.

6. Release the IP and Flush the DNS Cashe in Command Prompt

The "Windows can't connect to this network" error can be due to an IP error. To fix this, you'll need to release the IP and flush the DNS cache.

This may sound complex, but all you need to do is run a few commands in the Windows Command Prompt, and Windows will handle the rest. Here's how to do that:

  1. Type cmd in Windows Search.
  2. Right-click on Command Prompt > Run as administrator.
  3. In the Command Prompt console, type the following commands and press Enter after each one:
    • netsh winsock reset
    • netsh int ip reset
    • ipconfig /release
    • ipconfig /renew
    • ipconfig /flushdns
  4. Close Command Prompt and reboot your computer to see if the error is still there.

7. Reset Windows' Network Configuration

One of the most common culprits of the "Windows cannot connect to this network" error is an improper network configuration. An easy way to fix this is to simply reset your PC's network settings to the factory default.

Fortunately, Windows allows you to reset all its network settings with a single option:

  1. Right-click on the Start button and head to Settings.
  2. Click on the Network & internet option on the navigation bar towards the left.
  3. In the next window, choose Advanced network settings.
  4. Under More settings, click on Network reset.
  5. Click on Reset now.
  6. Your PC will reboot.

8. Turn Airplane Mode On and Off

This quick trick might be enough to solve your network issues. By turning on Airplane mode, you instruct Windows to completely disconnect from all networks. This allows you to re-establish a stable connection once you disable Airplane mode.

Open Windows Action Center and click on the Airplane mode tile. Wait a couple of minutes and turn it off. Then, try to reconnect to your network.

If Airplane Mode is missing from Action Center, there are other ways to enable and disable it.

9. Use the Network Troubleshooter

Windows 11 has an in-built troubleshooter to detect and fix network issues. It may be worth a try to see if the utility can detect and fix the issue causing the "Windows can't connect to this network" error.

To run the Windows Network Troubleshooter, follow these steps:

  1. In Windows Search, type network troubleshooter.
  2. From the search results, click on the Find and fix network problems option.
  3. Click on Next in the troubleshooter.
  4. Windows will detect and attempt to fix connection issues on your PC

10. Forget and Reconnect the Wi-Fi Network

If you get the network connectivity error when trying to connect to certain networks, you should have Windows forget them.

Here’s how you can manage every network that you have connected to:

  1. Open Windows Settings.
  2. Go to Network & internet > Wi-Fi.
  3. Select Manage known networks.
  4. Click the Forget button next to the network that you can’t connect to.
  5. Now, reconnect to the Wi-Fi. You will have to re-enter the password.

11. Restart or Reset the Router

Sometimes your router gets a little stuck and requires a reboot to sort itself out again. As such, giving your router a quick reset is a good way to quickly and easily fix an unstable Wi-Fi connection.

The method for resetting a router will vary depending on what model router you own. However, there is usually a physical power button on the router itself that you can use to turn it off and on again. If not, you can also access the router's configuration page and reboot it from there.

Failing that, you can try restoring the router to factory defaults, either via a button on the router or on its configuration page. However, you'll have to reconfigure the router after resetting it.

12. Use an Ethernet Cable

If you’ve tried anything on the list without any success, and you don’t have time to go through more time-consuming solutions such as installing a big Windows update or loading a restore point, there’s one quick fix. Connect to the network using an Ethernet cable.

Not only will it fix the issue, but Ethernet cables are more reliable and will offer better speeds.

The "Windows Can't Connect to This Network" Error, Now Fixed

Most likely, one of these fixes will resolve the "Windows can't connect to this network" error on your computer. And given how many Windows network issues can crop up, it's a good idea to learn the basics of resolving them so you're not stuck without the internet in the future.

Once you fix the connectivity issue, you can focus on increasing the internet speed in Windows 11.

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