You take your new Windows 8 PC to a coffee shop. You’ve just set up wireless Internet at home. Or you’re one of the lucky ones who has Wi-Fi on a plane. So how do you connect to and manage your laptop’s Wi-Fi connections from Windows 8?
In the past, you’d click on the connection icon in the lower-right corner (this group of icons is called the Notification Area). Then, you’d choose a wireless network and connect from there.
Luckily, you can still do that in Windows 8. Just press Windows + D to go to the Windows 8 desktop, and you should see the familiar connection icon in the lower right. Click on it, and you’ll see a brand-new pane slide into view from the right side.
But what if you’d like to manage wireless connections from the Start Screen? Here’s how to do that.
At the top is Airplane Mode. Those with a smartphone or tablet will be familiar with this setting. It disables all Wi-Fi connections and saves a lot of battery life … useful when your laptop is aboard a plane that doesn’t have Wi-Fi, or for landing and take-off. Also, you don’t have to use Airplane Mode when on a plane. There are lots of times where you’ll want to turn Wi-Fi off … such as when you’re connected to the Internet via cable.
Next up is your Connections. Here you’ll see an icon with a cable next to it if you’re connected to a hardline, or a series of bars if you’re connected to Wi-Fi. The shaded bars show your connection strength, with five being the highest.
Below that are the Wi-Fi connections available in your area. Find the one appropriate to you and click on it.
If you can select the Connect Automatically check box, your PC will connect to that source every time it’s in range. Then, click Connect. You may need to enter a password, depending on the connection.
You can also disconnect from Wi-Fi or connect to a different location from this same screen.
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