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ThinkPad Wireless keeps disabling itself - wireless radios being shut off


I have a ThinkPad T400 and for some reason the wireless capability is turned off sometimes.


When I tried to search for wireless networks, it said that no networks are found even though I turned my wireless adapter on.  When diagosed, it says that my wireless capability is turned off. 


This happens randomly and I don't know what is wrong,



This article was originally written in 2011 and at the time, most systems were running Windows XP / Vista / Win 7.  If you have an older ThinkPad running one of these OS versions and are using access connections, then this article may still help.  If you are running Windows 8 or newer, Scenario 2 may help in some cases.


Upgrading to the newest Wifi driver and power managment driver for your system will likely have the most positive results.  Over the last 18-24 months there have been multiple Wifi driver updates on many model systems, especially those with Intel wireless cards.


These symptoms may originally and otherwise  be caused by a combination of not finding a wifi network to auto connect to,  and  / or your power management settings.


Resolving Power Management Scenario 1 


If you are in in 'Energy Star' mode for instance, if it can't find a wireless network in X amount of time it just turns it off.  Setting to "Max performance" or disabling the setting to allow the wireless card to save power.  


- Press the blue ThinkVantage key

- From "Resource Center" menu, click "Wireless" and then "Find Wireless Networks". 

  The Access Connections window will pop up

- Go to "Options" tab and uncheck the "Allow the wireless LAN radio to be turned off when inactive." box


Resolving Power Management Scenario 2


If the steps in scenario 1 above did not resolve the adapter from being powered down during inactive periods and dropping connection, try the following:


Control Panel --> Power Options --> Power Manager (on the left side in red) --> Advanced Settings --> PCI Express --> Link State Power Management.  Change both Battery Settings and AC Settings to OFF.  


Or more typically...


Control Panel - > Device Manager -> Wifi card -> right click properties -> power tab -> uncheck the box that says "allow windows to manage power to this device"



Resolving Windows / Access Connections Conflicts


You can only have one wireless client software active.



  • If you want to use Windows to manage wireless, then uninstall Access Connections.


  • If you want to use Access Connections, don't create wireless connections through Windows, use Access Connections. 


  • When Access Connections attempts to connect, it automatically turns on the wireless radio, while Windows wireless does not.

Was this information helpful?

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andyP On 2014-03-27, 15:31 PM
kpkenn On 2014-06-11, 2:44 AM

You know, I must say this is the worst laptop I have ever owned in my life. The radio constantly just shuts off and there is absolutely nothing you can do short of shutting the computer down completely, sometimes you must do this multiple times before it will pick up the signal again. It is impossible for me to get my work done and drives me absolutely insane on a daily basis. From the comments, I see I am not the only one. Yes, I have tried all suggestions and nothing works. Lenovo x200. First and last Lenovo I will ever own.

HAF_schatzie36 On 2014-06-24, 0:27 AM

I've had this problem since my Thinkpad E531 was new, and it's getting worse. I didn't install Access Connections until about a month after I bought it (a few months ago). Now I have Access Connections, and the problem still exists. Are you saying I should uninstall the Windows wireless software if I'm going to use Access Connections? If so, what exactly is the name of the software I should be uninstalling? There are about fifteen different things under "Network Adapters" in my device manager when I click the "show hidden devices" option. Is that normal? My power options set to maximum performance, the box is unclicked that allows it to turn off the wireless radio, all the drivers are updated. My wireless router and internet service are fine. My wireless connection fails constantly, no matter where I am.  I called Lenovo support today and they had me update the BIOS, uninstall the wireless adaptor driver and reinstall it. Nothing works. It's so bad I can't even watch a twenty-minute TV show without it disconnecting. It does it like 20 times a day.

steve19569 On 2014-07-11, 1:03 AM

My Thinkpad T500 won't connect to the Wi-Fi at the Seattle Public Library.  The Intel WiFi Link 5100 AGN network adapter is running a driver version dated 10/17/10.  Would it possibly help to update to the 10/26/11 version?  If so, any idea where I could obtain it for free?  I am running Vista Business 32-bit.  I am able to connect to other hotspots.  Not sure what router the library is using.  Thanks for any and all help for this frustrating problem.

billbolton On 2014-08-13, 1:11 AM
GLOBALANALYST On 2014-08-14, 1:36 AM

I liked my lenova until I started getting this radio off nonsense and I cannot connect to any wi_fi.  I've tried all the suggestions and nothing works.  This is terribly frustrating and A WASTE OF A LAPTOP.  What's the point if you can't turn it on?  My very expensive IT consultant hasalso spent hours trying to fix this and can't.  If I can't get it fixed very soon, this goes in the trash and I'll get a new--non Lenovo laptop. 


I can't even go to the thinkVantage becuase that blue button doesn't work.  As for the icon at the bottom:  "think vantage access connections: stateus disconnected"


Please Lenovo help...soon.  My patience with this machine is rapidly running out.

GLOBALANALYST On 2014-08-14, 1:44 AM

the answer above say (#1) in "TYhinkVantage Access COnnections" , go to "Options" tab.


I am in Access Connections box and there is no "options tab"   Where is it hiding?

Mark_Lenovo On 2015-03-13, 22:34 PM




This article goes back several years and applied for Win XP / Vista / Win 7 environments.


Newer systems will not be using access connections.


I would look for updated wifi drivers on the Lenovo support site.  There have been numerous updates, especially for the intel cards over the last 28-24 months.



hedley On 2015-04-06, 8:00 AM

My thinkpad 8 is useless the wifi keeps dropping off and i cannot reconect? what is this problem as the solution does not work?

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