Red X on Network Icon
Experiencing a red X over your network (wifi, ethernet) icon? Here’s how to fix it.
Start with Basic Troubleshooting
You initially start checking cables, routers and anything else that is remotely related to your connections with the outside world.
After ruling those out, you conclude that there is something amiss with the service itself causing the red x on network icon to appear. It is time to start some troubleshooting steps in Windows.
Ensure the WLAN Services Are Running
Certain services need to be running in order for networking configuration to work properly. One of these is the WLAN AutoConfig service. If stopped for some reason, network access may cease, and a red x will appear over the icon.
From the Windows desktop, find the control panel via the search box. Click Administrative Tools and then Services. Select the WLAN AutoConfig from the list, then right-click and choose to Start.
Try disabling the device and starting it again.
Restart Windows Explorer
Sometimes when the taskbar or system tray acts up, it might be time to restart the Windows (not Internet) Explorer service.
To do so, you’ll need to right-click on an empty area of the Windows taskbar and choose the Task Manager (or hit the keys Ctrl+Shift+Esc on your keyboard). If you don’t immediately see it, choose the option to display more details.
Once you find the Windows Explorer listing, right-click and choose to Restart.
Verify the Latest Device Drivers Are Installed
While the prior steps are easy to move through, typically the issue revolves around another common problem.
If a device driver has been removed or is out of date, it could cause issues.
Allow Windows to Search for a Driver
It doesn’t hurt to let Windows try and find the driver for you, but don’t hold your breath.
To give it a shot, use the search box on the Windows taskbar to find the Device Manager. Under Network Adapters, locate the specific adapter. Right-click on it and select to Update Driver Software. You can then choose the option to search automatically for the driver.
Manually Search for a Driver
If Windows weren’t successful, you’d need to return to the Device Manager later and try to find a driver yourself.
Before doing so, a trip to the manufacturer’s website will be in order. You’ll need some additional information – like the model and serial number – to narrow down the correct driver.
If you can find the right one, download it and then return to the Device Manager to manually install it.
Automate the Task of Keeping Drivers up to Date
There exists software, such as Driver Support, that can automatically keep your drivers current – not just your network drivers.
Since 1996, Driver Support has helped keep a long list of devices running smoothly. An up-to-date driver is typically one that does not misbehave. Automating the process is a bonus.
Consider Other Options
There are always other possibilities to consider when there is a red x on the network icon. These can range from conflicting devices to registry key entries or permissions.
For conflicts, you can test booting in safe mode or try disabling other devices. If problems persist, you may need to contact the manufacturer.
As for the registry, be wary of this approach. Sure, there are fixes you can find that might help. However, one wrong keystroke in a registry key can cause a device – if not your computer – to fail.
Let Driver Support Facilitate Your Driver Needs
Often times, the culprit ends up being a missing, corrupt or out-of-date device driver.
Download Driver Support, and you might avoid certain problems altogether. Perhaps then, the only networking you will need to worry about is the social kind.