Wi-Fi icon disappeared from Windows 11 notification area? Let’s see together how to restore it
On Windows 11 the Wi-Fi icon (or the network in general) cannot be moved or hidden as it happened on Windows 10, since it is part of the fixed system icons (therefore always present in the foreground). If we no longer see it appearing in the lower right corner it could be the first symptom of a hardware problem or the beginning of a problem related to some software (such as a latest generation malware).
In the following guide we will show you How to fix wifi icon disappeared in windows 11illustrating the steps necessary to be able to restore the icon in the lower right corner and how to solve the main hardware and software problems.
READ ALSO -> Wi-Fi not detected, why and how to fix
1) Restart the system
The first trick involves restarting the operating system, so you can check if the Wi-Fi icon problem is only temporary. To quickly restart the computer, press ALT+F4 on the keyboard, we select Reboot the system in the drop-down menu in the center of the window and wait for Windows to restart.
If the Wi-Fi icon appears at the next restart, we solved it quickly without further worries. To learn more, we can read our guide on all the ways to shut down windows.
2) Check the use of a VPN
If we are using a dedicated VPN connection app on our computer (like the app of CyberGhost) the Wi-Fi icon may disappear to be replaced bygeneric network connection icon (a computer with a stylized Ethernet socket). This happens because the TAP module for the VPN connection creates a “bridge” with the wireless card, overriding the network icon shown in the lower right corner.
In this scenario we have nothing to worry about: the Wi-Fi works fine, its icon has just changed! To restore the Wi-Fi icon is enough turn off the VPN connection (from the app provided by the VPN service) and wait a few seconds: as if by magic, the Wi-Fi icon will return to its place.
For more information, read our guide to The best free VPNs to browse safely from PCs and smartphones.
3) Start virus scan
If the Wi-Fi icon disappeared out of the blue or changed shape it could be the beginning of a very heavy malware infection. To avoid formatting and recovering Windows, we recommend that you scan your computer immediately with a free and comprehensive antimalware program like Malwarebytes.
We launch Malwarebytes on our PC and start scanning the entire system: if any malware tried to change the network icon it will be intercepted by the powerful scanning engine of this program, which will eliminate the threat. To restore the lost icon, just restart the PC at the end of the scan or, if the icon is still missing, follow one of the suggestions in the following chapters.
To scan your PC for hidden threats, we can also read our guide to free programs to clean PC from viruses and malware.
4) Use Troubleshooter
If the network icon still does not appear on the system tray we can try to restore it by pressing the right button on the Start menu, clicking on Settingstaking us on the path System -> Troubleshooting and pressing up Other troubleshooting tools.
In the new screen that will open, press the button Run next to the entries Internet connections And Network cardsin order to start the recovery procedure for the components related to the Internet connection (such as the network icon).
We follow the instructions of the tool to the letter troubleshooting and, at the end of the analysis, we restart the system for the changes to take effect. Upon reboot the Wi-Fi icon should be back in place.
5) Use network reset
Windows 11 allows you to quickly restore all the default network settings, useful if the Wi-Fi icon has disappeared after our experiment. To use this effective tool built into Windows, press WIN+I on the keyboard, go to the menu Network and the Internetclick on below Advanced network settingswe select the menu Network reset and finally we press on the button Restore.
All customized network settings will be erased and after the reset, you should be able to see the Wi-Fi icon again in the bottom right of the screen.
6) Check network card
If none of the previous tricks worked we will have to check the status of the network card used for the connection: most likely there is some problem with the driver, the device is not active or has some generic problem.
To check the network card, right-click on the Start menu, click on the menu Device managementwe expand the section Network cards and identify the problematic Wi-Fi card.
If the device is off we can activate it by pressing the right button on the card and pressing on the item Enable device; if the problem concerns the drivers, press on Update drivers and we follow the procedure to install new updated drivers (if any).
As a last resort we can uninstall the Wi-Fi card and make Windows reinstall it again: to proceed, right-click on the card, click on Uninstall device and confirm in the window that will appear.
After uninstalling, click on the top button Scan for hardware changes and wait for Windows to reinstall the wireless card driver, so as to also restore the WI-Fi network icon at the bottom right.
To correctly update the Wi-Fi card drivers we can also read our guide on how Update Windows PC Drivers Automatically.
7) Start system restore
Have none of the methods covered so far resolved the Wi-Fi icon issue? In this case, the last resort involves the use of system restore, excellent for going back in time to a date where the Wi-Fi icon was there.
To use this powerful tool we open the Start menu, type Restorationwe open the item of the same name and click on the item Open System Restore. In the new window we choose a previous restore point, wait for the reboot and get comfortable while the system finishes the restore procedure. On startup the Wi-Fi icon will be back in place.
To learn more we can read our guides on how activate system restore points in windows 10 and 11 and about how use system restore in windows 10 and 11.
An icon that disappears out of the blue is never a good sign, also considering that in Windows 11 the Wi-Fi icon is fixed and cannot be hidden in any way. With the suggestions presented above we will be able to fix most problems that cause the Wi-Fi icon to disappearso you can go back to browsing the Internet without worries.
Always on the Wi-Fi network we can read our guides on why WIFI is slow and how to fix and about how improve internet speed in windows 11 and 10.