These days, wireless networks are virtually everywhere, giving us a way to get online without cables.

Thankfully, Windows 10 offers more than one way to quickly connect to the internet using a Wi-Fi connection, whether you're setting up a new device, bringing your computer to a new place, or looking for an efficient way to connect multiple devices to the same network.

In this Windows 10 guide, we walk you through the steps to connect to a Wi-Fi network using the Taskbar, Settings app, Control Panel, and Command Prompt.

  • How to connect to a Wi-Fi network using Taskbar
  • How to connect to a Wi-Fi network using Settings
  • How to connect to a Wi-Fi network using Control Panel
  • How to connect to a Wi-Fi network using Command Prompt

How to connect to a Wi-Fi network using Taskbar

Using the network flyout in the Taskbar is the most straightforward way to connect to a new Wi-Fi network. Here's how:

  1. Click on the wireless icon in the bottom-right corner of the taskbar. (If you don't see the button, click the up arrow button on the left.)

    Note: Alternatively, you can open Action Center (Windows key + A), and then click the Network button in the Quick actions section to access the network flyout.

  2. Select the wireless network you want to connect to.
  3. Check the Connect automatically option (optional).
  4. Click the Connect button.

    Quick Tip: If you don't see any network listed, click the Wi-Fi button to turn on the adapter.

  5. Enter the network security key (password).
  6. Click the Next button.

Once you complete these steps, you will be connected to the network using a wireless connection.

Reconnecting to a Wi-Fi network automatically

If you need to disable your wireless adapter to save battery, prevent connecting to a network in certain places, or for any other reason, Windows 10 also offers an option to re-enable and re-connect your device automatically.

  1. Click on the wireless icon in the bottom-right corner of the taskbar. (If you don't see the icon, click the app arrow button on the left.)

    Note: Alternatively, you can open Action Center (Windows key + A), and then click the Network button in the Quick actions section to access the network flyout.

  2. Click the Wi-Fi button.

  3. Use the drop-down menu and select when you want to re-enable and re-connect to the network. Option available include:

    • Manually.
    • In one hour.
    • In four hours.
    • In one day.

After completing the steps, the network adapter will re-enable automatically depending on the schedule you have configured. However, your computer will only auto-connect to those networks that you've previously configured to connect automatically.

How to connect to a Wi-Fi network using Settings

Using the "Network & Security" settings page, you can set up Wi-Fi connections manually, and then when your device is in range, it'll connect automatically. Here's how:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Network & Security.
  3. Click on Wi-Fi.
  4. Click the Manage known networks link.

  5. Click the Add a new network button.

  6. Enter the network name.
  7. Use the drop-down menu to select the Security type. (Usually, the security type is WPA2-Personal AES.)
  8. Enter the network security key (password).
  9. Check the Connect automatically option.
  10. Check the Connect even if this network is not broadcasting option (optional).
  11. Click the Save button.

After completing these steps, your computer will connect automatically to the Wi-Fi network you specified.

How to connect to a Wi-Fi network using Control Panel

It's also possible to connect to a wireless network manually using the network settings in Control Panel. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Click on Network and Internet.
  3. Click on Network and Sharing Center.
  4. Click the Set up a new connection or network link.

  5. Select the Manually connect to a wireless network option.

  6. Click the Next button.
  7. Enter the network SSID name.
  8. Use the drop-down menu to select the Security type. (Usually, the security type is WPA2-Personal.)
  9. Enter the network security key (password).
  10. Check the Start this connection automatically option.

  11. Click the Next button.
  12. Click the Close button.

Once you complete these steps, your device will now connect automatically to the network you specified.

How to connect to a Wi-Fi network using Command Prompt

Alternatively, you can connect to a Wi-Fi network using the netsh command line tool using Command Prompt. Here's how:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select Run as administrator.
  3. Type the following command to view the available network profiles and press Enter:

    netsh wlan show profile

  4. Make a note of the wireless network profile with the settings you want to use.
  5. Type the following command to connect to the Wi-Fi network and press Enter:

    netsh wlan connect ssid=YOUR_WIFI_SSID name=PROFILE_NAME

    In the command remember to specify the SSID of the network and profile name with the network settings you're trying to connect.

    Quick Tip: If you have more than one wireless adapter, you must also the specify in the command which adapter you want to use. For example, netsh wlan connect ssid=YOUR_WIFI_SSID name=PROFILE_NAME interface=Wi-Fi

After running the command, your computer will connect to the wireless network.

Connecting to a new Wi-Fi network

On Windows 10, you can use the netsh tool to manage wireless adapters and networks, but for some odd reason, it only lets you connect to networks you've connected in the past. The reason is that you must specify a network profile, which you can't create using the netsh.

However, if you must use Command Prompt to quickly connect one or multiple computers to the same Wi-Fi network, there's a workaround you can use. You can export the profile with the settings of the network that was created automatically when you connected the first time, which you can then import using netsh to connect to the wireless network. Here's how:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select Run as administrator.
  3. Type the following command to view the available network profiles and press Enter:

    netsh wlan show profile

  4. Type the following command to export a profile and press Enter:

    netsh wlan export profile tsunami key=clear folder=c:\your\custom\path\to\export\folder

Once you completed these steps, you can import the same XML file to connect other computers to the same network or reconnect your device if the profile is no longer available.

Importing Wi-Fi profiles

In order to import a profile to use netsh to connect to Wi-Fi network, do the following:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select Run as administrator.
  3. Type the following command to find out the name of the network adapter and press Enter:

    netsh wlan show interfaces

  4. Make a note of the name of the adapter you want to use to connect to the wireless network. (On Windows 10 with a single adapter, usually, the name is Wi-Fi.)
  5. Type the following command to import the network profile and press Enter:

    netsh wlan add profile filename="c:\your\custom\path\to\export\folder\wi-fi-tsunami.xml" Interface="YOUR_WIFI_ADAPTER_NAME" user=current

  6. Type the following command to connect to the wireless network and press Enter:

    netsh wlan connect ssid=YOUR_WIFI_SSID name=PROFILE_NAME

    Quick Tip: If you have more than one wireless adapter, you must also specify in the command which adapter you want to use. For example, netsh wlan connect ssid=YOUR_WIFI_SSID name=PROFILE_NAME interface=Wi-Fi

After adding the profile, your computer should connect to the network automatically.

More Windows 10 resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources: