laptop stuck in airplane mode

Laptop users occasionally suffer from the purgatory of “Airplane mode.” The use for this mode is apparent when you’re traveling by air, where radio-frequency signals need to be disabled as to not disrupt an airplane’s communication systems.

However, while that’s great and all, sometimes Airplane Mode can get stuck, and when you’re not on a plane, how is that helpful to you? It isn’t. Save yourself with the solutions below.

Bumped the Airplane Key by Accident

The average PC user doesn’t scour their laptop’s keyboard to uncover every function it has. In fact, there’s features that go completely unnoticed until someone else brings it to their attention or, in this case, discovered by accident and leaves one smashing their face off the desk in frustration.

The sneaky “Airplane” key is one such key, one that you rarely find on a desktop computer, but it’s a staple among laptop keyboards. Check around your function keys (the keys like F1-F12). You’ll usually find the Airplane key hiding up there. Press it once and try your luck. Move on to the next solution if your luck ran dry.

Press your Wi-Fi Key

The flipside to the previous solution is pressing your “Wi-Fi” key. Some laptops come with their own dedicated Wi-Fi key, like Dell, and it’s been known to move around the keyboard depending on your model. It’s possible locations can be on “F3” or it can be located on “Print Screen” (or “PrtSc” or “Prt Sc”) or anywhere sharing space with your upper area keys, like the function keys.

If you aren’t sure what it looks like, it looks like a cellphone tower with a few crescent-shaped lines surrounding it.

Key Combination – “FN” + “Print Screen”

Like mentioned above, you won’t always notice every feature your keyboard comes with, and key combinations are another example. It may have even happened to you on occasion when you were surfing the web. You pressed two keys too quick and they gave you an unwelcome result.

Luckily for you, there’s a key combination that can save you rather than hinder you. Find the “FN” key and the “Print Screen” key (its other incarnations could be “Prt Sc” or “PrtSC”). Press them together several times. If the computer gods see fit to offer you mercy, it should disable Airplane mode.

Unplug USBs and Restart

This solution is pretty standard; a lot of computer troubleshooting can be solved with a quick restart. A restart can give your laptop a clean slate to work with considering something or other went wrong. If it’s nothing more than a hiccup in your system, a restart should do the trick.

Important: Do not pull USBs by the cable. Before you shut your laptop down, gently unplug all your USB devices, that includes your mouse and external keyboards. Once they’re removed, shut down your computer.

Disabling your Network Adapters Save Power Feature

With the quick and easy solutions set aside, and assuming those haven’t worked for you, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty solutions–the hard fixes. These solutions require you to make updates or changes to your system.

Important: Some solutions require a secondary device and a USB flash drive as they require a specific file. Since your laptop probably doesn’t have access to a network connection, you won’t have the ability to download the necessary file. Any device that can access your network is fine: tablet, smartphone, another computer.

Computers come with the handy ability of turning off and on specific components that are currently in use. This solution aims to shut the network adapter off.

device manager

1. Open Device Manager. There’s several ways to open Device Manager. Give permission if you’re prompted by your computer.

  • Press the Windows Type anywhere in the menu “Device Manager,” and open.
  • Open Type in the search field “devmgmt.msc” without quotations, and click OK.
  • Open Control Panel. Select Hardware and Sound. Afterwards, click Device Manager located under Devices and Printers.

2. Locate Network Adapters and click the small arrow to the left of it. This will expand Network Adapters.

3. Locate your network adapter and right-click. This will prompt a menu.

properties

4. Click on Properties.

disable device

5. Under the Driver tab, select Disable Device.

6. Enable the network adapter after one minute.

If that hasn’t solved your problem, you may need to update the network adapter’s driver.

Updating your Network Adapters Driver

A driver update can only be held off for so long before the component no longer works right. When a computer is constantly telling you a “driver needs updated” or “an update is available for a driver,” it’s always a good idea to take a few minutes and update them. Regardless, this is how you update your network adapter:

1. Open Device Manager. There’s several ways to open Device Manager. Give permission if you’re prompted by your computer.

  • Press the Windows Type anywhere in the menu “Device Manager,” and open.
  • Open Type in the search field “devmgmt.msc” without quotations, and click OK.
  • Open Control Panel. Select Hardware and Sound. Afterwards, click Device Manager located under Devices and Printers.

2. Locate Network Adapters and click the small arrow to the left of it. This will expand Network Adapters.

3. Locate your network adapter and right-click. This will prompt a menu.

update driver

4. Click on Update Driver. This will prompt a window. You’re given two choices:

Search automatically for updated driver software

  • Search automatically for updated driver software: your computer will search the Internet and your computer for any driver updates your network adapter, or any component, may need. Considering you may not have access to a network connection, you’ll need a secondary device and a USB flash drive–if it’s another computer–or a USB to connect to your laptop–if it’s a smartphone or tablet.
  • Browse my computer for driver software: This option simply searches your computer, but not the Internet.

5. Use your secondary device to browse the web for your network adapter’s driver update. This is solely dependant on what your network adapter is.

6. Once you’ve acquired the file, move it over to your laptop via USB cable or a USB flash drive.

7. Repeat Steps 1 through 4. Afterwards, choose “Browse my computer for driver software.”