How to Connect to a Wi-Fi Network in Windows 8

Windows 8 has changed a lot about how people use their Windows PCs. Some of the simplest tasks have been altered and may appear foreign to a new user, especially if that user has limited experience with Windows in general. This operating system combines a lot of mobile elements to a desktop environment. This merging is a bit schizophrenic, which can make it confusing.

One of the most frequently asked questions on the Web since Windows 8’s release is how to connect to a Wi-Fi network. The process is fairly simple, but very different from that of Windows 7.

Here’s how to get it done.

First, you’ll need to locate the network icon in the taskbar. It should resemble a staircase if you have a Wi-Fi controller enabled. If you don’t know if your computer is capable of Wi-Fi, you’ll want to consult the documentation that came with your system and/or install any appropriate drivers. Give the icon a single left-click. This should bring up a sidebar with any available Wi-Fi networks displayed.
How to Connect to a Wi-Fi Network in Windows 8

Next, you’ll need to decide which Wi-Fi network is the one to which you need to connect. Often, your service provider’s router will be the network of choice. In an apartment, this may be one specific numbered router out of a dozen. Find out which router belongs to you from your service provider if you don’t already know. Often, it’ll be the one with the strongest signal (most filled in lines) next to the name. Give it a single left-click.
How to Connect to a Wi-Fi Network in Windows 8

This should bring up an option to connect to the network automatically whenever your system is on and in range. Only select this if you want your computer to trust this network enough to connect directly to it without you doing it yourself. I personally only use this option for my home network. Left-click the Connect button when you’re ready to move on.
How to Connect to a Wi-Fi Network in Windows 8

If your desired network is password protected, a password prompt will appear. Fill in your Wi-Fi password and select Next when you’re done.
How to Connect to a Wi-Fi Network in Windows 8

The final prompt will ask you if you want to turn on file and device sharing. Only select Yes if you absolutely trust every computer connected to the network. This will enable someone else to view files in shared folders. It will also allow you to connect to network-attached printers, storage, and other shared hardware.
How to Connect to a Wi-Fi Network in Windows 8

Once you select an option, you should be connected to the network and ready to surf the Web. If you have any Windows 8 questions that you’d like to see in a future article and/or video, please let us know in the comments section below!

Article Written by

Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.

  • Josh

    Really? LockerGnome have had very.. “strange” articles lately about Windows 8. It’s a new OS, sure, but they’ve already dumbed down most processes for us – if someone is stuck connecting to WiFi they likely won’t see this or think a “LockerGnome” is something out of a pixar movie.

  • jay davis

    I believe that when a company changes things so dramatically like Microsoft did with win it makes it harder for people even if you put the icons or option in the same places because people would start getting overloaded with all the new stuff that’s being thrown at them.

    • i3e5l4

      Change is good. People are bad lol.

      • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

        Sure, change is good. That does not mean that change is good in every situation though. Adding such a rapid UI change such as the Windows 8 Style UI without a long of period of time for people to get used to it is sort of foolish. Sure, some people will get used to the interface real quickly, but most businesses and mom and pop will have trouble with this.

  • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

    A 2WIRE router eh? Well I hope that the router uses WPA and not WEP like most routers with that brand do.

  • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

    A 2WIRE router eh? Well I hope that the router uses WPA and not WEP like most routers with that brand do.

  • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

    Well they could just be building up content to improve their SEO ranking. The more original content, the better.

  • https://plus.google.com/112301869379652563135/posts Ryan Matthew Pierson

    Josh, you have no idea how often these things are asked. If you check Bing for the top 20 Windows 8 searches, this one is on that list. In fact, All of the Windows 8 tips I’ve been writing about this week are top searches. That means a lot of people DON’T get it. Think about your parents, and their parents. Think about your neighbors, and the people that use Internet Explorer (most of the Web) because they honestly don’t know other browsers exist. This stuff stumps real users.

  • Paul Butler

    Great simple step-by-step tutorial Ryan Pierson!

  • Eve

    Hi, I’ve been trying to connect to my home wifi and have the password, but windows will only let me connect if I submit a username aswell as password. I’ve tried phoning my ISP but they say there is no username & that it is a windows issue! Plz help!!!

  • serhio vilares

    “First, you’ll need to locate the network icon in the taskbar. It should resemble a staircase if you have a Wi-Fi controller enabled. If you don’t know if your computer is capable of Wi-Fi, you’ll want to consult the documentation that came with your system and/or install any appropriate drivers.”

    Thanks for the article, but if I’ve found this icon, I’d never need to read this article…
    So, I’ll search an other, that will explain me what to do if I have no that icon… I believe there should be a “classical” way to access the WiFi menu, but the icon that can, or can’t be present in the toolbar, depending of the computer configuration…