How to Fix the Red Cross on a Network Icon on Windows?

How to Fix the Red Cross on a Network Icon on Windows?

You may have come across this blog because you’re looking for answers to this question:

How do I fix the red cross on my network icon?

Don’t worry because there are several easy fixes available to solve this problem at no cost and time commitment from you. The most common methods include:

  • Rebooting or unplugging your device,
  • Checking all connected wires and cables, and
  • Using the Device Manager.

However, before we delve deep into these fixes, let’s define some basic terms you may encounter throughout this article. This way, you can get a better understanding of what to do.

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What Role Does the Network Icon Play?

The network icon sits on the taskbar, indicating the available network connections. It can show you whether your computer is connected to a wireless or wired router. The icon will also indicate if there are no connections at all.

Why Is There a Red X on a Network Icon on Windows?

You may ask, “Why is there a red cross on my network icon?“

Well, there are many things that a red cross on the network icon suggests. Most of the time, it tells you that your computer is not connected to the Internet. Other times, it could be any of the following:

  • There is an issue with your Wi-Fi router. Your Wi-Fi router may be experiencing some sort of problem in the hardware or firmware. Regardless of where the issue is coming from, it may trigger the red cross to appear on the network icon.
  • The Wi-Fi network strength is not strong. Are you connected to a Wi-Fi network with a poor signal? If so, you have found another potential culprit. A poor Wi-Fi signal can trigger the red cross to show on your network icon.
  • You are using an incompatible or outdated Wi-Fi adapter. If your Wi-Fi adapter is outdated, then you may see the red cross on the network icon. It is your computer’s way of telling you that you need to install any available update.
  • You are using the wrong log-in credentials. You may want to check the log-in credentials you are using to connect to the Wi-Fi network. Sometimes, if the administrator changes the log-in details of the network, devices that are connected to it will experience issues like the red cross on the network icon.
  • Your Wireless Network Adapter driver needs to be updated. Outdated device drivers are also notorious for causing this red cross on the network icon issue.
  • Malware entities have attacked your device. Though it rarely happens, some malware entities sneak into your Windows device and mess with system processes and settings. When this happens, you may see unusual processes and items on your screen, including the red cross mark on the network icon.

How to Remove Red Cross from a Network Icon on Windows 10/11

If the red cross is showing up in Windows 10/11, then it suggests that there may be an issue with your network connection that needs to be fixed. Now, before you try the more complicated fixes, begin with basic troubleshooting steps.

Basic Troubleshooting: How to Fix a Network Icon on Windows 11

The easiest and fastest way to resolve most issues associated with the network icon is rebooting your Windows device. Once your computer has completely rebooted, check if the red cross issue is gone.

If the problem persists, check the network cables. Try to unplug and plug them back to the ports. After that, check the network icon once again. If it still does not work, make sure the Wi-Fi switch is turned on. To do that, press the key on your keyboard that has a Wi-Fi icon on it.

Now, if none of the basic steps work, you can proceed to the fixes in the next section.

Fix 1: Enable Network Adapter and Install Any Pending Update

If you are using Windows 10/11, your computer most likely has one or more network adapters installed. These adapters allow the device to connect to a network and access internet services such as email and web browsing.

A network adapter is a hardware device that can be connected to your Windows computer via USB, Thunderbolt, or PCI Express slot on the motherboard. It may come in many different shapes and sizes. Some look like an external hard drive, while others resemble a small box with wires coming out of it. However, all perform the same function. They link your PC to other computers over Ethernet cables or wireless networks for data transfer purposes.

Now, when a network adapter is disabled, you may encounter problems like internet error 0x80300113 or the red cross on your network icon. So, try enabling it by following these steps:

  1. Press the Windows key and type “device manager” (no quotes) into the search field.
  2. Hit Enter to launch the Device Manager.
  3. Next, click Network Adapters. You should now see all the different network adapter drivers installed on your device.
  4. Right-click on the icon of the network adapter driver you suspect is causing the problem.
  5. Select Disable Device.
  6. You will be asked to confirm your action. Click Yes.
  7. And then, right-click on the same network adapter driver once again. This time, select Enable Device.
  8. Click the Update
  9. A window will pop up with several options. Here, click the Search automatically for updated driver software This will install any available update for the network adapter driver.
  10. Once all the steps are done, restart your computer and check if the issue is resolved.

Fix 2: Enable Wi-Fi Connections

Windows 10/11 does a great job of connecting to networks automatically. However, sometimes, you need to connect to them manually for some reason, like you have accidentally disabled Wi-Fi.

In that case, you may see the red cross on the network icon. Don’t worry because it is easy to enable it. Follow the steps below:

  1. Press the Windows + R keys to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Into the text field, type “cpl” (no quotes).
  3. Hit the OK
  4. The Network Connections window should now open. Find Wi-Fi Network Connection and click the Enable
  5. After enabling Wi-Fi connections, restart your computer.

Fix 3: Enable the WLAN AutoConfig Service

Microsoft created the WLAN AutoConfig Service in Windows 10/11 to simplify the wireless network setup process. When it is disabled, it is likely that you encounter problems with network connectivity, such as the red cross on the network icon.

The good thing is that it’s easy to enable this service. Here’s how:

  1. Click on the Start menu and type services into the search box.
  2. Select Services from the list of results, then click on WLAN AutoConfig.
  3. Navigate to the Startup type section. If it is set to Disabled, change its value to Automatic.
  4. Hit the OK button to apply the changes.
  5. Next, go to the main Services Double-click on Network Connections.
  6. Go to the Startup type section and select Automatic.
  7. Check the Service Status If it is stopped, click the Start button.
  8. Click OK, then hit Apply to save the changes.

Fix 4: Run the In-built Windows Network Diagnostics Tool

The Network Diagnostic Tool can help troubleshoot the problem for you. It will ping the network connection, check the internet connection status, and diagnose whether DNS is working properly. It will also determine if there are any proxy settings configured on your device and test if there are any firewalls blocking connections.

To use this tool to fix the red cross on the network icon problem, refer to the steps below:

  1. Press the Windows + R keys to launch the Run
  2. Input “ncpa.cpl” (no quotes) into the text field and hit the OK This will take you to the Network Connections window.
  3. Next, right-click on the specific network that is showing the red cross.
  4. Click the Diagnose button to begin the diagnostics of the network.
  5. Once done, restart your computer and see if the issue is resolved.

Fix 5: Disable Your Security Software Temporarily

It’s important to use security software like Avast antivirus to protect your identity from hackers and block any phishing emails that may lead you into a trap set up by criminals. This software program may also offer your device protection against ransomware which locks down your computer until you pay the ransom fee.

However, there are instances when your security software also blocks specific network actions, resulting in the red cross on your network icon.

In this case, disabling the antivirus temporarily may do the trick. However, as soon as the issue is resolved, enable it once again. If you connect to the web without a security software program running, your computer is exposed to risks and becomes vulnerable to attacks.

Fix 6: Reset the Network

There are many reasons why the red cross is showing on the network icon. Sometimes, restarting the network solves that problem. Other times, it does not.

The good news is that there’s an easy way to reset your network settings on Windows 10/11. Simply do the following:

  1. Open the Run dialog by pressing the Windows + R
  2. Type “netsh winsock reset” (no quotes) into the text field and hit OK to execute the command.
  3. Restart your computer.
  4. See if the cross mark on the network icon is gone.

Fix 7: Use System Restore

If you have tried all the fixes above, but the issue just won’t go away, then use the System Restore feature of Windows.

System Restore is designed to help you get your computer back up and running in the event that it becomes unresponsive or encounters problems like the red cross on the network icon.

To use System Restore, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Click on the Start button and type control panel into the text field.
  2. Select the most relevant result.
  3. Next, search the Recovery option and click Open System Restore.
  4. Hit Next.
  5. Now, select a restore point from the list. Ideally, you would want to choose a restore point when the problem still did not exist.
  6. Click the Next button to proceed.
  7. Finally, hit Finish. Your computer will now proceed with the System Restore process.
  8. Once it boots up, check if the problem is fixed.


There are many instances when you may encounter the red cross on your network icon issue. Regardless of what’s causing it, the problem can cause frustrations, especially if you have to take time to figure out what’s wrong.

Hopefully, this article has provided you with sufficient information on how to deal with the issue. If you have other solutions in mind, please do share them with us in the comments.

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