Can’t go online straight out of Sleep Mode? Here’s the fix

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I got this question from one of my clients, Jim, recently: “Scott, whenever I move the mouse to wake up my laptop from Sleep Mode, I can’t access any website. I open Internet Explorer and it just says “Page cannot be found”. If I close Internet Explorer and wait a minute or two, I’m always able to connect to a website on the second try. Why is it doing this?” This probably happens to a lot of people, but they don’t bother trying to figure it out because they know after a couple of minutes it will start working properly anyway. But there’s actually a pretty easy fix for it.

sleeping wifi

To know how to fix this issue, we have to first know why it’s happening. If you have seen this happen with your computer, it’s just because it’s configured to save power.

You read that correctly. If you want to wake up your laptop and access a website, you might have to wait 1 or 2 minutes, but overall it’s worth it because you are saving multiple pennies off your electric bill each month. (Yes, that was me being sarcastic.)

What’s happening is that your wifi adapter – the thing that connects your computer to your wireless router in order to access the internet – gets shut off when the computer goes into sleep mode. In a way, this sort of makes sense, because obviously if the computer is in sleep mode you won’t be using it to view websites, get your email, or anything else really. So there’s no reason to be connected to the internet either.

But when you “wake up” your computer, it isn’t online immediately. It has to find the wifi signal and go through the process of connecting to the internet. In some computers that happens quickly, and in others it can take a minute or so.

For Jim, it seemed like the connection was successful just because he tried a second time. But that’s kind of misleading. The reason it always works on the second try is simply because enough time has passed so that the wifi adapter has had time to connect to the router again. It really has nothing to do with how many times he tries.

It’s kind of the same idea that drinking coffee can help you sober up after you’ve had too much to drink. In reality, coffee does not speed up the process. But it does give you something to do while time passes – and really it’s only the passage of time that gets the alcohol out of your system.

So you could just wake up the computer, wait a minute, then go about the tasks that require an internet connection. But if you’re like me, that wait is just wasted time – and that time is far more valuable to me than the extremely tiny amount I’m saving in electricity each month or each year. If that’s you, then you’ll probably want to turn off this “feature”.

How to turn off wifi power-saving mode:

1. Go to Control Panel, set the view in the top right corner to “Small icons”, and double click on the “Device Manager” icon.

2. In the list, look for the “Network Adapters” section, and click on the little triangle next to it to expand the items under that section. Then you want to look for any item in the list that includes the words “wifi” or “wireless”:

wifi adapter


3. Now, for each of the wifi or wireless entries, do a right click on the name and choose “Properties”. This will open a new window where you will click on the “Power Management” tab, and UN-check the box that says “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power”:

wifi adapter


4. Click OK, close the open windows, and you’re done. You just need to make sure you do this for each wifi or wireless device in the list.

Now, whenever your laptop goes into sleep mode, it will stay connected to the internet. And when you wake it up, you can immediately start getting your work done because you have access to the internet right away.

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