Red cross on the Internet icon in Windows

Updated: May 08, 2023
6 min read
Red cross on the Internet icon in Windows
by Jahed Torres
Tech Expert & Writer
Checked by
Quality Control team

There are many different problems in Windows that have something to do with the Internet connection. And one of them is the red cross on the icon that shows the status of the Internet connection (and also on the adapter in the "Network Connections" window). We refer to the icon in the tray (in the bottom right corner), by which we can tell if our computer is connected to the network, connected via Wi-Fi, or via cable, if there is access to the Internet, or not.

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Depending on the connection method, this red cross can tell us about different problems with:

  • Cable connection (LAN)
    This icon can be seen when a network cable from a modem, router, or directly from your ISP is not connected to the computer. If a cable is connected, but the status of the LAN connection is still with a red cross, this is some kind of problem. For example, something with the cable or the network card itself. Perhaps the network adapter driver is not installed.
  • Wi-Fi connection
    This connection icon is displayed when Wi-Fi is disabled on the laptop. There is a wireless module, and the driver is installed, but the wireless network is disabled in the Windows settings or with the function keys on the laptop keyboard. Or when the wireless network is turned on, but the computer doesn't see the available networks that you can connect to.

By the way, this icon is slightly different in Windows 10 compared to Windows 7 and Windows 8. But the solutions will be the same. Sometimes there is a red cross on the Internet icon, but the Internet works. It seems to be some kind of Windows system glitch. We will also look at the solution to this problem in this article.

Cable connection status with a red cross, and the Internet does not work

If the Internet over cable has worked before, we recommend checking the cabling and other equipment first. In case this computer has not yet been connected to the Internet via cable, you should check if the network card is present in the Device Manager:

  1. Open the Device Manager. There are many ways you can do this. The easiest is to press Win + R, copy the command mmc devmgmt.msc and press Ok.
  2. In the Device Manager, open the "Network Adapters" tab. There should be a network card there. Depending on the manufacturer or driver, they may have different names. Very often, it is something like "Realtek PCIe GBE...".
  3. If there is a network card there and it works fine (no arrow and yellow exclamation mark icons next to it), then the problem is most likely in the network cable, router, or ISP.

You may not find the network card in the Device Manager. In that case, see if there are any unknown devices (in the "Other devices" tab). If there is, it is possible that it is our network card (very often, it appears as an Ethernet controller). Simply it does not have the driver installed. You need to download and install it.

Red cross on the Internet icon in Windows

Since Windows 7, 8 and Windows 10 almost always automatically put a driver on the network card, it is possible that the problem is not in it. And if the reason for the lack of connection is not the network card, it is possible that the signal does not reach it. It is a good idea to check this by connecting another cable (from a router or ISP) to your computer or laptop. This way, we can see if the network card is working and if there are any problems in Windows that can cause the connection icon to be crossed out with a red cross.

If the network cable from your ISP is connected directly to your computer, try disconnecting and reconnecting it. See if the connector is damaged. See if the cable itself is damaged. If there is another PC/laptop, try connecting the cable to it. You can call the support of your ISP and explain the problem. Perhaps the cause is in their equipment.

Connection through a router or modem

When the connection is through a router or modem, you must first reboot these devices. If there is another network cable, replace it. Note whether the LED on the computer's NIC and the LED on the router (which shows the LAN connection status) light up. Try to connect to another LAN port (the router usually has 4 of them).

Sometimes the reason is that the network card has simply failed. If all solutions do not help, you will most likely have to buy and connect a new card. It plugs into a PCI slot. If we are talking about a PC. For laptops, there are external USB Ethernet adapters.

Find the network card in Device Manager. Try to remove it from there. Just right-click on it and select "Remove device". Confirm the removal and restart your computer. You may have to manually install the driver after that. But most likely, it will be installed automatically.

Red cross on the Wi-Fi network icon

Red cross on the Wi-Fi network icon

Here it is even more complicated because laptops and Wi-Fi adapters are all different, with different software, etc. But if you see a wireless network icon (even if it has an error), it means that the system sees the Wi-Fi adapter. It means that the driver is installed (though sometimes it is not working or does not fit your adapter/system). Make sure that there really are available Wi-Fi networks near you (check on another device if you are not sure).

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Try just turning on Wi-Fi. In Windows 10, you need to click on the tray icon and click on "Wi-Fi". You can also check the wireless settings in the settings. In Windows 7, try enabling it through the Mobility Center, which you can open by pressing Win + X. In Windows 10, you can open it by searching for "Windows Mobility Center".

Be sure to check the key combination that is responsible for activating the wireless network on the laptop. On newer laptops, this might be the one key with the aeroplane picture on it. It is true, it enables and disables the flight mode, but still, try to press it, maybe it will work, and the red cross will disappear, and the Internet will work.

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