After installing Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2, the wireless adapter or WiFi adapter is not working or functioning. System cannot detect or see any wireless networks with no wireless networks available error message, and system cannot connect to Internet or wireless LAN.

To make matter worse, users have installed the proper signed driver for the wireless adapter, either through Windows Update, drivers CD from vendor or download latest and correct driver from OEM or manufacturer’s website. In Device Manager, the wireless or WiFi network adapter is working properly. And, when using Windows Server built-in diagnostics feature to troubleshoot the no wireless connection problem, it indicates that the wireless adapter is either having driver or hardware issue.

The cause of the no wireless connection is that Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 disables and turns off Wireless LAN service by default, which supports the wireless WLAN Auto Configuration service, and configures WLAN AutoConfig for automatic startup.

In order to turn on Wireless LAN and WLAN AutoConfig service in Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2, go to Server Manager (in Administrator Tools). Go to Features branch and click on Add Features. Click and tick the check box for Wireless LAN Service. Complete the installation wizard to install wireless support.

Wireless LAN Service in Windows Server 2008 (R2)

The Wireless LAN Service configures the WLAN AutoConfig service to start automatically, regardless of whether the computer has any IEEE 802.11 wireless adapters installed. When enabled, WLAN AutoConfig enumerates every wireless network adapter installed on the computer, manages IEEE 802.11 wireless connections, and manages the wireless connection profiles that contain the settings required to configure a wireless client to connect to a wireless network. WLAN AutoConfig allows user to connect to an existing wireless network (data encryption key or network key may be required), change wireless network connection settings, configure a connection to a new wireless network, and specify preferred wireless networks. WLAN AutoCofig also notifies user when new wireless networks are available. When switching wireless networks, WLAN AutoConfig dynamically updates your wireless network adapter settings to match the settings of that new network and a network connection attempt will be made.

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