Airplane mode (Flight mode in the UK) in Windows 10 is designed - as the name suggests - for use on an aeroplane. It supposedly stops your PC from interfering with the navigational instruments on an airplane.
But it can also be a useful way to silence all of the internet noise that can eat away at your ability to focus. It also disables Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and any LTE connections they device may have, such as you get with a Project Athena laptop.
Should your laptop get stuck in this mode, then it can be a real pain. Here’s how a fix it when Airplane mode won’t switch off.
Have you tried turning it off and on again?
There’s a good reason that this tech-support mantra exists and was the catchphrase of Roy from The IT Crowd.
In many cases, it really does make problems go away. Windows 10 is a complex piece of software, so it’s not surprising that from time to time things can get a bit confused. A quick reboot can often be the solution, so it’s always worth a go before moving onto more complicated methods.
To do this, either hold down the power button on your PC until you see the option to Restart or press the Windows key, select the Power icon (the circle with a small vertical line at the top), then select Restart.
If things go well, then your PC should return to its connected ways once the reboot is completed.
How to disable Airplane mode in Windows Settings
There are a few ways to either turn off Airplane mode or find a way around it until a permanent fix can be put in place. The first option is to try using the switch in the Windows 10 Action Centre. So, press the Windows key + A to open the menu, then click on Airplane mode to turn it off.
Another route is to open the Start menu then select Settings > Network & Internet. You’ll see a column on the left-hand side with various options. Choose Flight mode, then use the toggle switch in the main pane to disable the feature.
If neither of these are successful, you can try using Windows shortcut key combinations to turn off Airplane mode. Usually this will involve holding down the Fn key while also pressing the Wi-Fi key (the one that look like a radio tower or funky version of Gimli’s axe).
How to disable Airplane mode via network settings
If the standard software methods outlined above are unresponsive, you can try changing the settings for your network adaptors to see if this does the trick. To do so, press the Windows key + X to open the necessary menu.
Find Device Manager and click on it, then you’ll be presented with a long list of the various hardware that makes up your system. Double click on the Network Adaptor section and Windows will show a further list, outlining any adaptors (these include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and others). Find the one marked ‘Wireless’, right click on it, then select Properties.
Click on the Power Management tab, then you should see an option entitled Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power. At the moment it should have a tick in the checkbox, so untick it and click OK to enable your Wi-Fi once more.
Update Windows and drivers
Should the last step restore your Wi-Fi connection, it’s a good idea to immediately check for any updates to Windows that may be available. Install them and hopefully you may find that the error has been patched in the updates. Take a look at how to update drivers in Windows 10 and how to use automatic updates in Windows 10 for more details.
How to fix a Dell PC stuck in Airplane mode
Dell has posted a long method for fixing the Airplane mode issue in Windows 10 when running on its PCs. If you’re experiencing the problem, then visit the Dell support site to read the step-by-step guide.
If your PC, whatever its make, turns out to be beyond repair, take a look at our current pick of the best laptops to see if you can find one that’s perfect for your needs.