Original Poster

SOLVED :Chromebook: WiFi "turned off" / "disabled" - no way to turn on / enable

So, I had this problem with an HP Chromebook the past weekend.  I ran across these threads with similar problems:
I'm not 100% sure all these problems are the same as mine.  In my situation, I performed an update of the ChromeOS on a ChromeBook that had not been updated in at least a year.  After rebooting from the update, the ChromeBook showed the WiFi as "turned off" (with an "X" through the WiFi symbol) and there was absolutely no way to turn it back on neither on the taskbar nor in the Settings (nor Advanced Settings) panel.
I tried doing a Powerwash twice as well as a full USB restore and still could not fix the WiFi problem.
Solution: I was finally able to fix the problem in a surprisingly simple (but not necessarily free) manner.  I bought a cheap, generic USB-to-Ethernet adapter.  My plan was to get the ChromeBook connected to the Internet and see if there were possibly any additional ChromeOS updates or patches that might possibly fix the problem.  But that plan turned out to be unnecessary.  As soon as I plugged the USB-to-Ethernet adapter into the ChromeBook's USB slot, and the ChromeBook recognized the additional network connection, the WiFi connection also suddenly turned on as well.  Sincé then, I havent had any problems with the WiFi connection.
I would have posted this solution to one of the posts I linked above, but all the google forum posts seem to be locked already.  I wanted to share this experience with you, my anonymous Internet friends, in the hopes that it might save someone some time and/or frustration.
Of course, no guarantee this will work for you, because there's no guarantee your problem is the exact same as mine, but it is something to try at least if your symptoms are similar.
For anyone running across this post, here are some other solutions you can try:
  1. Restart your ChromeBook (obviously)
  2. Reset your Router (why not?)
  3. Make sure your ChromeBook is fully updated (hard to do without WiFi; see step 7.)
  4. Perform "Hard Reset" (instructions below in the thread)
  5. Login to your ChromeBook as Guest
  6. Perform a PowerWash (restores your ChromeBook to Factory defaults)
  7. Try plugging in a USB-to-Ethernet adapter
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Gerald Clark
Gerald Clark
Did you reset your router?
Try to connect as guest.
Try to connect at a free WiFi connection location such as a restaurant.
Do any of these work?
Original Poster
I feel like you didn't even read the content of my post. :P
  1. My problem is already solved, so I'm not sure why you are suggesting solutions, but thanks anyway.  I'm just trying to share a solution that worked for me with others that might have the same problem.
  2. Resetting my router doesn't really make sense: the WiFi was showing as "turned off".  It's not that I couldn't see my specific WiFi, it's that there was no WiFi funcionality at all on the ChromeBook.  While using my phone or tablet, from the same physical location I was able to detect at least 30 other SSIDs from neighbors.  The ChromeBook couldn't see any WiFi networks at all, because, again, the WiFi was completely disabled.
  3. Connect as a guest to what?
  4. What would connecting to a free WiFi accomplish?  See 3.  I couldn't pick up any WiFi signals in an área with at least 30 active SSIDs, because the WiFi was turned off, so I wouldn't have been able to connect to a free/public WiFi either.
F Noltie
F Noltie
Hi Dan,

Thanks for posting your solution. Maybe/Hopefully it will be useful to others. 🙂


Gerald Clark
Gerald Clark
I wonder if a Hard reset would have fixed it.
Original Poster
it was an HP-Brand ChromeBook (not sure of the model right now off-hand) so I don't see the procedure for that specific brand in that list.  That said, I did try powering the machine down completely and removing the power adapter for about an hour.  The battery is not removable unfortunately. 
I don't have a USB-Ethernet adapter, but I have a smartphone that does tether as " Ethernet connection" via usb, connecting the phone I can get internet via tethering but the wifi does not turn on. 

Should I buy the USB-Ethernet adapter to give one more try?
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