Home > Uncategorized > How to: Bypass a laptop wireless switch

How to: Bypass a laptop wireless switch

It’s happened to me multiple times at work, a client brings me a laptop saying their wireless isn’t working and it turns out to be the hardware switch for the wireless card on the laptop. You can fix these, but with a lot of new laptops, they are done through a circuit board, and for me it seems a bit excessive to be pulling apart half the laptop and re-soldering or potentially replacing the old circuit board.

If the laptop is using a mini-pci-e wireless adapter (Pretty much industry standards these days) then there is this neat little trick to automatically bypass the switch and keep the wireless card turned on.

If you place a small piece of tape over pin #20, it will completely bypass the laptops on/off switch.
Pin #20 is the second pin after the notch on the side with more notches, on the under side. (Side without antenna plugs)
Make sure your tape is only covering the correct pin and not others. Use electrical tape and not “sticky” tape. It is pretty hard to hard to cut such a small size, but definitely possible!

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  1. kivnul
    August 10, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Thanks!

  2. Jasen
    September 8, 2011 at 4:05 am

    Dude you have just literally made my entire year. I have been looking for a repair for 6 months straight for my laptop, and this fix works great! I just used a bit of clear scotch tape, a razor blade, and a pair of needle nose pliers to remove the cut tape!

  3. Delwyn
    January 2, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    it didnt work for me….i have a half pcie card in my asus 😦

    • January 2, 2012 at 12:33 pm

      Sorry to hear 😦 You can buy USB wireless adapters for around $20 these days too.

  4. ABZ
    January 18, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH, UR A LIFESAVER

  5. F
    February 16, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Thanks so much for the cool solution. Very helpful πŸ™‚

  6. ghost2916
    June 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Just tried this on my toshiba satellite. I used a dell wireless adapter to replace the toshiba adapter then the switch would not work. So using this tape method I avoided hours of headaches and frustration. Thanks!

  7. Cj
    June 10, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Do I cover both sides of the card on that pin or just the side thats flush with the pins?

  8. ZG
    July 8, 2012 at 6:15 am

    Thanks for taking the time to share this. Just worked on my Sony Vaio. I covered the second to last pin on the long side before the groove, although it wasn’t 20 (I guess pins on wireless cards vary). Been pushing off getting something new until after the summer and this will hold me over until then.

  9. October 18, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    This totally worked for me, however, I went ahead and bought an expresscard adapter before I saw this post. I may keep it as a backup. Thanks.

  10. October 31, 2012 at 4:52 am

    Wow. I’ve done IT and general tech support for a long time, and my friends have found all sorts of creative ways to break things and give me things to fix, forcing me to learn new tricks… this is one of my new favorites. It worked like a charm. Thanks!

  11. Lila
    November 11, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    Hi!
    I just opened my Vaio pcg 81212m today to clean it bu i think i broke(?) the physical wifi switch :\ it didn’t click when i was switching it to off and on. So i want to try your method but I don’t know where is pin #20. Is there any way that you could post a pic? :/
    Thanks!

  12. November 17, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    A friend brought me a Gateway w350i laptop that was given to them. OS was screwed up so I reinstalled Win7 on it and kept getting that annoying “turn on wireless” error. I hunted high and low for a switch but no luck. It did have the FN+F2 to enable it, but that did nothing lol. I thought maybe the card was bad, so popped in a different one and got same thing. At this point I was looking to throw in the towel and tell them they would have to go external usb, which i am sure would have gotten broken by the kids hanging out the side… After hours and hours of googling and forum hopping “how to bypass wireless switch”, I came to this one. When i took it out and looked at it, I said I doubt very much I am going to be steady enough to get a sliver of tape on that one pin. So I took your other route and broke out the tiny screwdriver. I didn’t want to use a knife in fear of cutting into the board which is just microns thick to begin with. So I carefully chiseled away at that number 20 pin. Granted it took a little time, but wanted to be careful as to not chip away into the other pins or go too deep. After about 15 minutes and a final inspection, looked pretty good. So i popped it back in the laptop and fired it up. To my amazement when I loaded the laptop I seen “network connections are available”. I was like “no way” lol. So I just had to register an account and post this. A big thanks for this valuable tip. It was well worth the effort.

  13. Mosh
    November 26, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Do you know what pin to cover on the full size wifi card to bypass the switch? The one with no notch double the width as the one in the pic.

  14. dan
    December 4, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    excellent.. good job man. werry ty for the tip.. have a laptop having this problem for a year

  15. January 18, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    You saved my laptop. I have elitebook 2530p, and the tough switch failed. I tried your trick here, and it worked immediately. Thanks!

  16. March 24, 2013 at 12:48 am

    You are the BEST~!!!!!!!!!
    That worked like a charm!

  17. Mike
    May 13, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Just tried this for my Gateway P7811fx – worked like a champ! Just remove the larger back panel on the bottom of the laptop (once all power and battery is removed), remove the 2 screws from the wifi card and flip it over. Find the pin shown in the pic above, use electrical or masking tape with an x-acto knife, reverse your installation and voila! BEAUTIFUL!

  18. govi
    May 16, 2013 at 2:15 am

    WOW i can’t believe this worked!! Saved my Laptop! Thanks whomever took the time to write this and enlighten us.

  19. Joe
    May 30, 2013 at 12:10 am

    Thanks for this tip, you really helped me out. Done on a Gateway FX laptop.

  20. Sean
    June 5, 2013 at 5:27 am

    Thank you for your knowledge. Saved my dell wifi. And its fun to get things working again

  21. Scott Forbush
    June 5, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Thank you so much! I was in disbelieve that this would work but you sir are a genius!!! The tape was difficult to cut but in the end it saved me money thank you again!!!

  22. Akshay Pudage
    June 30, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Thanks buddy! This technique worked like a charm! πŸ™‚

  23. Peter
    March 6, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Thank you so much for this great idea.It finally fixed the problem,my wifi is back cheers πŸ™‚

  24. garber
    March 16, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    I want to hug you. THANK YOU!!!!!!!

  25. iskandar
    April 2, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    very good you are genius it’s perfect
    Thank You

  26. Leo
    August 6, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    OMG it worked! Thank you very much. I’ve been going crazy for the past year trying to figure out how to get it working after the switch broke. You have made me SO happy πŸ™‚

  27. SnoopGus
    June 27, 2015 at 3:29 am

    Two years later and you sir are still awesome with awesome sauce!

  28. Victor Niebla
    November 16, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Thanks one hunden lots.

  29. jay2
    December 13, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    this is great, fix worked like a charm. you have my thanks. just curious how you managed to figure this out, did you find information on the wifi adapter, if so where? anyways thanks again!!

  30. Mike
    January 3, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    Dude! I just revived a 10 year old laptop that I left for dead! Tape was difficult, plus my bad eyesight. But, thank you very much!

  31. Barış
    January 15, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Thank you!Thank you!Thank you!Thank you! I was about to throw My laptop out of the window! By the way, I still hate Toshiba.

  32. jae
    March 1, 2016 at 9:25 am

    Thank you! Thank You! Thank You! It’s amazing the value of knowledge. I Actually cut out the metal strip rather than use electrical tape. Worked as you said.

  33. Ali Serdar SARI
    March 19, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    Thank you for the brilliant idea. It worked for me too πŸ™‚

  34. June 9, 2016 at 6:39 am

    After so many years, it has also helped me πŸ™‚ Thanks mate

  35. Graziano
    July 14, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Thank you! πŸ™‚

  36. MK
    August 21, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    THANK YOU SO MUCH – really good guideline!

    I’m 61 years old lady from Finland and I succeeded to fix our laptop’s wlan problem with help of this site.

    We have Sony Vaio with half mini card. The switch was broken and we couldn’t use wlan. Now Vaio is working fine and wireless is all the time turned on. Great! πŸ™‚

  37. jim
    December 30, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    Been looking for the right pin for quite a while – works perfectly!

  38. Miguel
    January 2, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    Thanks, its works in my toshiba satellite with old intel 3945bg

  39. February 8, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    This is excellent. Props, sir.

  40. bea
    February 10, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    amazing !!!! the magic still works

  41. Don Newman
    February 24, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Found this as a solution to not having Nano usb adapter. Had a known bad wlan switch and this fixed the problem. Avoided as Mr Denton said disassembly of laptop to fix issue. Many thanks

  42. Agus Alexander
    February 28, 2017 at 3:48 am

    Thanks Man! you saved my day! how did you get that info?

  43. ChristosH
    June 1, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    Greetings.. thanks for the sweet info but i am afraid i don’t have the aforementioned mini-pci-e wireless adapter. At least i think i don’t. I have a sony vaio laptop pcg 81214l with a broken network switch is there anyone could guide me through performing a similar operation to my laptop ?

    • ChristosH
      June 1, 2017 at 7:09 pm

      Problem Solved. Decided to switch the wireless configuration switch myself manually by using a paper clip as the broken wireless switch is utterly useless apart from the artistic view of course!

  44. Tim
    June 2, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    This worked great on an hp G60

    Thanks!

  45. July 30, 2017 at 12:00 am

    Thank you so much

  46. August 5, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    Every now and then as you search through the internet google-ing through the information highway, you will come across a technical god like this person who has the right fix for the right problem. The bar set so high that he is in a class all of his own. To give him a thank you is simply inadequate and doesn’t quite give him the appreciation he is so deserving of. So I will take a bow and praise this technical genius for the absolute god he is! If this did not work for you then you did it wrong because it works perfectly!

  47. August 5, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    Also, I tried this on a PCI Express Half Mini Card – Dell, Atheros, Intel, RealTek and HP Wireless Notebook Adapters where some had missing “notches” and others had all the “notches” (notches = the little gold pins) and it worked on all the wireless adapter cards without failure. I used electric tape and tested it with and without the tape and they all worked the same. With tape the wireless remained ON and without tape the wireless just would not turn ON. Toshiba notebook had windows 10 and all the wireless cards just would not turn on. Taping the second notch pin did the trick on every wireless card. I even tried a larger wireless adapter card and it also worked too. So ya this trick works brilliantly! Everyone take a bow to this technical god!

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