Monday, November 13, 2017

Wi-fi Network list not visible in Windows 10 - here is the only fix that worked

Windows 10 users have been plagued with several strange bugs that are baked into Microsoft's newest Operating System. For example, a month ago, video stopped working on my Skype and Google Hangout calls, effectively crippling my business communication.  The camera drivers stopped working after an update and reloading them did not work. Troubleshooting with Dell Support quickly led to the realisation that the problem is software and not hardware based. At that point, Dell Support drops off like a hot potato, not even bothering to give the standard advice to reload Windows 10. I don't blame them for it, they are generally awesome at what they do but solving the Win10 mess is not their problem.

So I did a reset of Windows 10, which is very easy compared to what such a task would entail with earlier versions of the OS (Does anyone remember creating backup discs? Or booting up from a pen drive?) Thankfully those horrible memories are in our past now.

Win 10 boots up in an hour or less and automatically restores your files for you. It does delete your apps but helpfully leaves a list of deleted apps on your desktop for reference.

Once Win 10 rebooted, the first thing I did was look for a wi-fi network to connect to. Much to my irritation, not a single network showed up in the list. To connect to a network I had to go into Network settings, and manually enter the network name and key. 

Frustratingly the wi-fi networks showed up perfectly in my login screen - the one where Microsoft shows you pretty pictures. They just vanished once I started working. 

Another irritating side issue was that the Windows Search bar stopped working - search for anything and it returned a blank.

You can imagine that it's hard to live with and work on a PC that has this problem. Searches online turned up two threads that correctly identify the problem:

Microsoft Forums
Tom's Hardware

However, the fixes mentioned in these posts did not work for me. 

To be clear, this is a permissions/registry level issue, making it difficult for a lay person to solve.

The correct fix is Here on Page 3 of the Microsoft Forum.

One post advices users to download the free Windows Repair Utility from Tweaking.com

Downloading and running this utility fixed both issues that I mentioned. Now my wi-fi networks show up, and my Windows Search Bar works!

I hope this fix is of use to people who are afflicted with a similar problem.