4 Ways To Connect to Wi-Fi on Windows 11

Wi-Fi is used to connect devices to the internet wirelessly, which is of great convenience since it is…

Windows 11 Connect wifi

Wi-Fi is used to connect devices to the internet wirelessly, which is of great convenience since it is what our mobile phones use, and what makes are laptops that much portable without having to drag around a connected internet cable.

This post discusses several ways to connect your Windows 11 PC to a Wi-Fi device that includes both the Windows Graphical User Interface (GUI) and the Command Line Interface (CLI).

You can also use the given guide below to connect to a hidden wi-fi network, export a network profile, and then import the generated XML file on another computer.

How to Connect to Wi-Fi from the Taskbar

This is perhaps the most convenient method to connect to a wi-fi network; from the taskbar on your Windows PC. Here is how:

  1. Click on the Quick Access menu in the taskbar, then click the arrow beside the Wi-Fi icon.

    Expand wi fi options from Quick Access
    Expand wi-fi options from Quick Access
  2. Now click on the Wi-Fi network you want to connect to, check the box next to “Connect automatically” (if you want your PC to connect to the same network each time), then click Connect.

    Connect to wi fi
    Connect to wi-fi
  3. Now enter the password to connect to the Wi-Fi network and click Next.

    Enter wi fi credentials
    Enter wi-fi credentials

Your computer should now be connected to the Wi-Fi network, and you should now see the status below the Wi-Fi SSID, as in the image below.

Successfully connected
Successfully connected

How to connect to Wi-Fi From the Settings App

If you are already using the Settings app, you can connect to a wi-fi network from there too.

  1. Navigate to the following:

    Settings app >> Network & internet >> Wi-Fi
  2. Click Show available networks to show the wi-fi networks around you.

    Expand Show available networks
    Expand Show available networks
  3. Now click on the Wi-Fi network you want to connect to, check the box next to “Connect automatically” (if you want your PC to connect to the same network each time), then click Connect.

    Connect to wi fi 2
    Connect to wi-fi
  4. Now enter the password to connect to the Wi-Fi network and click Next.

    Enter wi fi credentials 2
    Enter wi-fi credentials

You should now be connected to the Wi-Fi network, and the app should now show the “Connected” status below the Wi-Fi SSID, as in the image below.

Successfully connected 2
Successfully connected

How to connect to Wi-Fi From the Control Panel

If you’d prefer the Legacy Control Panel over the modern Settings app, here is how you can connect to a Wi-Fi network from the Control Panel:

  1. Navigate to the following:

    Control Panel >> Network and internet >> Network and Sharing Center
  2. Click Set up a new connection or network under “Change your networking settings”

    Set up a new connection
    Set up a new connection
  3. Now select Manually connect to a wireless network and click Next.

    Connect to a wireless network
    Connect to a wireless network
  4. In the next window, enter the network details you want to connect to, and click Next.

    Note: The security type of a wireless router is usually WPA2 – Personal, unless altered otherwise.

    Enter network details
    Enter network details
  5. Now click Close.

    Close wizard
    Close wizard

Once the wizard closes, your device should now automatically connect to the Wi-Fi network.

If it does not, this means that one or more details in step 4 above were incorrect. In that case, repeat the steps above and provide the correct information.

Connect to Wi-Fi Using Command Prompt

If you prefer to use Windows CLI, you can use the Command Prompt to connect to a Wi-Fi network:

  1. Launch the Command Prompt with elevated privileges.

  2. Paste the following cmdlet to show the currently available wi-fi networks:

    netsh wlan show profile
    Show wi fi networks available
    Show wi-fi networks available
  3. Now use the following command to connect to a network while replacing SSID with the name of the network you want to connect to, and ProfileName with the user profile obtained from the command in step 1 above.

    netsh wlan connect ssid=-SSID name=ProfileName
    Connect to wi fi 3
    Connect to wi-fi

    Note: If your PC has more than one Wi-Fi adapter, you must also specify the adapter to be used, as in the following cmdlet:

    netsh wlan connect ssid=-SSID name=ProfileName interface=InterfaceName

Your PC should now be connected to the Wi-Fi network as entered in the cmdlet above.

How to Connect to a Hidden Wi-Fi Network on Windows 11

Networks are often hidden as an additional security measure so not everyone can attempt to connect to them. If you are asked to connect to a hidden network, then there are 2 methods to do so. One of these has already been mentioned above where we used the Control Panel to connect to a network. The same method can be applied in the case of a hidden network.

The other method is through the Settings app. Follow these steps to connect to a hidden network:

  1. Navigate to the following:

    Settings app >> Network & internet >> Wi-Fi >> Manage known networks
  2. Now click Add network.

    Add network
    Add network
  3. Now put in the hidden network details, check the box next to Connect automatically, and click Save.

    Add hidden networks details
    Add hidden network details

Your PC will now connect to a hidden network when it is in range.

You can also export this network profile into an XML file and share it with your friends and colleagues so that they can import it, and wouldn’t have to go through the hassle of adding the hidden network manually.

How to Export Wi-Fi Network Profile

You can export a network profile into an XML file so that it can be used by other computers to connect to a network using the Command Prompt. Here is how:

  1. Open Command Prompt with administrative privileges.

  2. Paste the following cmdlet to obtain a list of network profiles:

    netsh wlan show profile
    Show wi fi networks available 1
    Show Wi-Fi networks available
  3. Now use the following cmdlet to export a network profile while replacing ProfileName with the name of the network profile obtained in step 1, and PathToFolder with the complete path to the location where you want to save the generated XML file.

    netsh wlan export profile ProfileName key=clear folder=PathToFolder
    Export network profile
    Export network profile

The network profile is now successfully exported. You can now share the generated XML file and import it to another computer to add the network details.

How to Import Wi-Fi Network Profile

Perform the following steps to import a network profile using the XML file:

  1. Open Command Prompt with administrative privileges.

  2. Paste the following cmdlet to display the wireless interface details on your PC:

    netsh wlan show interfaces
    Show wireless interface details
    Show wireless interface details
  3. Now use the following cmdlet to import a network profile while replacing PathToXML with the complete path to the XML file, and InterfaceName with the name of the wireless interface you want to connect with.

    netsh wlan add profile filename="PathToXML.xml" Interface="InterfaceName" user=current
    Import network profile
    Import network profile

    That’s it! Your PC has now imported the network profile, to which you can easily connect using the taskbar method discussed at the beginning of this post.

    Alternatively, you can use the following cmdlet to connect to it right from the Command Prompt:

    netsh wlan connect ssid= SSID name=ProfileName

    Closing Words

    With the aging wireless technology, people are trying to make their networks as secure as possible, for which hiding their networks is one of the approaches. That said, exporting and importing network profiles can come in handy, especially when you have to connect a bulk of Windows computers to the same hidden network.

    This helps the netadmins secure their network whilst only the PCs with whom the XML file has been shared can connect to the network.

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