How to Fix: Disable Airplane Mode in Windows 10

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How to Fix: Disable Airplane Mode in Windows 10

Infopackets Reader Eric H. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

When I used my computer last night (after returning home from work), I was immediately told that there was no Internet connection - none of my web browsers would work. I tried to reset my router by unplugging it, waiting a few seconds, and plugging it back in, but that did not help. With that said, I did notice that when I moved the mouse over the network icon in the system tray bar, a dialogue box says I have Airplane Mode turned on. I should mention this is a desktop PC. I managed to go to the Windows 10 Settings app, where I was able to disable the airplane mode and get my Internet working again. Question: is there any reason for this 'Airplane Mode' option on my desktop PC? Or is this another gaff from MS Windows 10 Anniversary issue? "

My response:

"Airplane mode" is a feature on wireless mobile devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones) which quickly disables wireless frequencies (such as Wifi, Bluetooth, GPS, etc) when flying on an airplane. The feature was invented because it was believed that wireless frequencies from mobile devices may interfere with the operation of an airplane. With that said, most commercial airplanes will now allow wireless frequencies, so this is no longer an issue - however, the feature still exists on devices.

As for Airplane mode being enabled on your desktop and whether it's a Microsoft gaff - I would say most likely, yes, unless you look at "airplane mode" as a quick and dirty way to disable WiFi if you are in a panic due to a virus infection. In any case, desktop PCs are not meant to be portable or used on an airplane, so I would have to say that Airplane mode should not even be accessible on your PC. I just checked on my own PC and I don't see Airplane mode when accessing my Network settings, however, that feature was certainly present in older versions of Windows 10 on my desktop.

How to Fix: Disable Airplane Mode in Windows 10

If you have airplane mode enabled and you want to disable it, then please do the following:

  1. Click Start and click on the Settings icon (it looks like a cog wheel). Alternatively, you can type in "settings" (no quotes) and wait for the Settings icon to appear in the list, then click it.
  2. The Settings window will appear. Click the "Network & Internet" section.
  3. On the top left of the page, it should have "Wifi" followed by "Airplane Mode" menu options - click the "Airplane mode" menu.
  4. On the middle of the page, you should now see an option to turn Airplane mode off. It should have the heading "Airplane mode" and underneath that, it will say: "Turn this on to stop all wireless communication". Since you don't want to do that (in most cases), you will want to have this feature off.

How to Fix: Airplane Mode Won't Shut Off

If airplane mode won't shut off due to a malfunction with Windows 10, I suggest you disable and re-enable the adapter, then make sure you have the latest Windows 10 installed to (hopefully) prevent this from happening again.

To do so:

  1. Right click the network icon in the tray bar by the clock, then select "Open network and sharing center".
  2. The Network and Sharing Center page should now be displayed. On the top left of the screen, click the "Change adapter settings" link.
  3. Your network adapters for the system should now be listed (there may be more than one). Right click each one (one at a time), then select Disable. Next, wait about 5 seconds, and right click the same adapter, then select Enable. Repeat this process until you have disabled and re-enabled each adapter in the list. This should hopefully reset any malfunctioning adapters that are stuck in airplane mode.
  4. To help make sure you don't keep re-encounter this issue, please download the latest Windows 10 (anniversary edition). Refer to this article on how to check if you have it, download and install it.

I hope that helps.

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About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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