By default, wireless (Wi-Fi) support is disabled in all Windows Server 2022/2019/2016/2012R2 versions. If you plug a Wi-Fi network adapter (USB or PCI) into a host running Windows Server, you cannot enable it in the Control Panel. I will show how to enable wireless support on Windows Server in this short note.
Connect a physical Wi-Fi adapter to a Windows Server host and install the drivers. Make sure that the new adapter has appeared in the Network Adapters section of the Device Manager (
Open the PowerShell console as administrator and make sure that the Wireless LAN Service is not installed.
You can use the Install-WindowsFeature PowerShell cmdlet to install a feature or role on Windows Server.
Install-WindowsFeature -Name Wireless-Networking
Or install the Wireless LAN Service using the Server Manager (Add Roles and Features -> Features).
After the installation is complete, reboot the host:
shutdown –f –r –t 0
After the restart, the Wireless LAN Service (WLAN AutoConfig) appears in Windows, but it is disabled by default. Start the service and change its startup type to automatic:
Set-Service WlanSvc –startuptype automatic –passthru
Start-Service WlanSvc –PassThru
Then navigate to the Network Sharing Center in the Control Panel (
ncpa.cpl) and enable the Wi-Fi adapter manually (right-click it and select Enabled).
Now you can connect to a Wi-Fi network (you can check the Wi-Fi signal strength of available access points using PowerShell ) or even create a Wi-Fi access point on your Windows Server.
This guide has been tested on Windows Server 2019 and 2016.