Laptop stuck in airplane mode

My neighbor knocked on my door the other night. Her Windows 11 laptop was stuck in Airplane Mode. That meant she couldn’t log onto the Internet. You’d think the solution would be as simple as switching off Airplane Mode or turning WiFi on. That turned out not to be the case.

The solution was actually a pretty simple one. However, it took me forever to get to it. What makes this so embarrassing is that I had the exact same issue for years with my old Dell Windows 7 laptop. I’ve even written articles about it before. So what was the culprit?

The shortcut key on the Dell laptop that lets you turn WiFi off and on with a tap. Activate it and you won’t be able to turn WiFi service back on until you tap it again. Here’s what that little button of doom looks like on a laptop.  If the little WiFi symbol is blue, you need to hit the Function key to activate it. If it’s white, you just need to tap the key.


Sometimes it’s a separate key, other times it shares a key with the numeral 2 and the @ symbol.


It’s very easy to accidentally tap that key, especially if it doesn’t require you to hit Function first. If you experience an unexpected loss of Internet, check there first.  Tapping it again might just turn your WiFi back on.

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