Can’t connect to this network? Here’s the fix.

After upgrading to Windows 10, when I unhibernated my laptop the next morning, my wifi connection didn’t work. Forgetting the network and reconnecting didn’t help–I’d get the message that Windows 10 can’t connect to this network.

The problem seemed to be in the power management.

I’ve had similar issues under Windows 7 after adding a new access point, but my usual fix for that didn’t help this time. I also found a number of articles online but they repeated a lot of generic advice that didn’t help.

I noticed a couple of other symptoms. One was an asterisk next to my wifi icon in the system tray. The other was a ton of events with event ID 5010 in my system log from netwlv32. Netwlv32 is my wireless driver.

Disabling power management

Windows 10 can't connect to this network - the solution
Disabling power management corrected a maddening issue with Windows 10 failing to connect to my wireless network

I fixed it by hitting the Windows menu (what we used to call the Start menu) and typing Device Manager.

I navigated to Network Adapters. Then I double-clicked on my wireless adapter. Next, I navigated to Power Management and unchecked the box next to Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power. Finally, I rebooted.

After that I was able to connect without issues.

Why you get the can’t connect to this network error message

From what I’ve read, this seems to be a pretty common issue with Intel wireless cards, regardless of operating system. I haven’t personally seen the issue with anything other than Windows 10, but every Intel-based laptop I’ve upgraded to Windows 10 had this issue. This includes several generations of Dell, HP, and Lenovo laptops.

I may sacrifice a bit of battery life this way. But chances are if I’m running on battery, I’m using wifi and won’t want it to be turned off.

Of course, checking device drivers for updates isn’t a bad idea. But this advice doesn’t help older hardware that doesn’t have any newer device drivers and won’t be getting them. Frequently the older drivers aren’t officially supported, but drivers for Vista and later usually work in Windows 10.

That’s what worked for me. If you’re getting the message that Windows 10 can’t connect to this network, chances are it will work for you too.

I hope this article helps you. And if you’re having this issue, chances are you’re running Windows 10 on older hardware. My blog post on Optimizing Windows 10 will probably help you pep up your old laptop’s performance too.

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