How to Connect to a Wireless Network in Windows 8

Windows 8 does a lot of things well, however one of the things it doesn’t do well is make it easy for users to connect to a wireless network. Here’s how to connect to a wireless network in Windows 8.

With the advent of smaller, thinner and lighter computers there has never been a more important time for Microsoft to allow users to easily connect and switch wireless networks, especially with Windows 8.

Though Windows 8 ships as the only operating system on desktops, its more important form factors (that is laptops and tablets) no longer ship with network internet ports. Instead, these devices only have wireless cards that allow users to connect to local Wi-Fi network.

Until now, devices running Windows 7 and Windows Vista shipped with third-party tools that focused on enabling wireless connectivity. While useful, these utilities often lacked cohesive interfaces and didn’t integrate well with the rest of the operating system.

From anywhere, including the Start Screen, open the Charms Bar by swiping to the left from the right side of the screen on touch-based Windows 8 PCs, or placing your mouse cursor in the top right hand corner of the screen.

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Tap or click on the Settings Charm. It’s the cog shaped charm at the bottom of the Charms Bar.

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Click on the wireless settings icon on the top right hand corner in the settings area. For the purposes of this How To, it’s the setting highlighted in the above screenshot.

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If your wireless hardware is turned on and there are available Wi-Fi networks in your area, you’ll find a list of wireless networks to choose from. In our example we’re trying to connect to is called “harlemPhone.”

Tap or click on the network you would like to connect to. If for some reason your wireless is turned off, tap or click on the Wi-Fi switch at the top of the settings menu and then tap or click the network that you would like to connect to.

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If the network you are connecting to is secure, type in the security code for that wireless network. If the wireless network that you are trying to connect to was setup by your internet provider, they should have provided you with a written copy of the security code. If you setup the wireless router yourself, you’ll need to enter the security code that you created during the setup process for your router.

If the wireless network you are trying to connect to is public, like at local Starbucks for example, Windows 8 will not prompt you to enter a network key of any kind.

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Once you’ve entered the correct security code, Windows 8 will take a moment to connect to the wireless network.

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Once Windows 8 has verified your security key and connecting you to the network, the Wireless icon in the settings menu will show the name and signal strength of the network you’ve just connected to.

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