Force Vista To Connect To Wireless Network When SSID Is Not Broadcasting


vistalogo1.pngI just installed a wireless network in my home and am having a problem with my laptop that runs vista. I noticed on my second PC which is running XP, that it will connect to the wireless network even if the SSID has been enabled or disabled to broadcast. For some reason vista will not connect if the SSID is not broadcasting.

Is there a setting in vista that will allow it to connect when a wireless network is not broadcasting?

There is actually an easy fix to force Vista to connect to Wireless Network that is not broadcasting it's SSID (Service Set IDentifier)

Just open up the Network and Sharing Center by clicking on Start, type the word network in the Start Menu search box and click on Network and Sharing Center link in the search results. Or go to Start \ Control Panel \ Network and Internet \ Network and Sharing Center.


In the left navigation pane, click on Manage wireless networks.


Then right click on your wireless network connection and select properties.

Click on the check box next to Connect even if the network is not broadcasting and click OK to save the change (no reboot is necessary).


Now when you need to connect to wireless network, when SSID is not broadcasting, Vista will make the connection all the time.

Also, as far a security goes, there is no real advantage to hiding the SSID since many programs can see you wireless device when it is not bradcasting. It does not hurt to enable it, but will not deter someone who is network savvy. At the very least it can be implement with other methods for securing your home wireless network

Filed under Windows Vista Tips by  #

Comments on Force Vista To Connect To Wireless Network When SSID Is Not Broadcasting Leave a Comment

June 28, 2008

Annoyed With Vista @ 7:12 am #

This doesnt seem to work if you first try to connect to a network that was hidden, and then you tick the box. Windows Vista seems to somehow remember its "bad experience" from the first attempt and no amount of enabling SSID broadcasting or ticking boxes is going to make it change its mind. Is there some file or registry entry that can deleted to force it to clear its memory of the time when it tried to connect whilst the box was unchecked?

July 28, 2008

Jeremy @ 4:34 am #

This problem only seems to apply to Vista with Service Pack 1 installed. Without the service pack it behaves "normally".

Did u ever get a fix for this problem? We're having exactly the same issue and it's causing huge headaches for all Vista laptop users in our organisation.

December 11, 2008

greg @ 8:09 am #

Thank you for your help, i have been pulling out my hair for hours wondering why all of a sudden my Vista Laptop would not connect to my wireless network and my XP system would, even though it worked fine for weeks before!


December 29, 2008

Ricardo @ 5:29 pm #

My wireless network is recongnized by my computor but I cannot connect to the internet. The diagnosis says Hidden network wirless setting do not match. I have checked the "connect even if network is not broadcasting" box, but it still will not connect to the network. I can connect to my neighbors and orther wireless networks just not the Linksys at my home.

April 9, 2009

Paul M @ 4:56 pm #

This would be a great tip, if it actually worked.
My SSID is hidden, I've set all the options that you've listed here even before I found this page.
Vista is literally doing … *nothing*.
The connection is there, I know because I've got an XP laptop using it right now, I've entered in all the details into vista under "manage wireless networks" and it flat out refuses to do anything at all.

I'm thrown back to a menu where it shows me a list of Wireless access points that it has picked up, shockingly enough because mine is hidden is does not appear in the list. From this point I'm 100% screwed.

I can not stand all the dumbing down and fragmenting of menus and options relating to network settings in this god forsaken operating system. Before it was all controlled from the adaptor settings menu in XP, now we have 3 different places to control the same thing, and NONE OF IT WORKS.

April 29, 2009

Ryan @ 10:35 am #

Thx alot…not its work on my vista…i got headache searching for an answer…but this time it work perfectly

May 2, 2009

erjon @ 10:35 am #

this does work only for you…
this is my problem ,
my wireless router does not appear in the " manage wireless connections "
how do i connect??
plz help;
my email:

December 1, 2009

Jason @ 11:27 am #

Not to bring back an old topic … but … this site came up in search while trying to find something for a friend … So if this helps anyone it's worth it…

Was trying this thru win7 and having same experience as vista users here.

Attempt 1 – Desktop
While trying to add wireless connection to un-broadcasted router it wouldn't
connect. Router name was Jason and I was putting in ssid as jason under manage wireless connections … as soon as I capitalized J it connected!

Seems like it might be case-sensitive, not sure but make sure your spelling
ssid EXACT same way as it is in router.

Attempt 2 – Laptop
"Other network" showed up in my task bar network connections list when I tried to connect to that it asked me for ssid … from here same situation as above..
Put in jason no connection … tried again put in Jason and connected.

Good Luck!

April 24, 2010

Mike @ 1:55 pm #

Ok, here's one for you.

I have several machines connected to a wireless router that is not broadcasting its SSID.

But if the power cycles on the router, the one Vista machine won't connect.

If I reboot it will connect, however this was more elegant in XP. In Windows 7, I don't have these problems, everything just works.

My question: In Vista, when I go to manage the wireless networks that I've created, I can highlight the one that needs changing, but there's no button to just force a CONNECT. How can this be done? The only way I have found that seems to work but is very not elegant is to uncheck the always connect, hit ok, and recheck it, and wait. (And wait.) And it might not work. But it might!

Any suggestions?

June 30, 2010

Damon @ 9:10 pm #

I have the same situation but with an Vista that connects and an XP that won't, do I just make the same setting adjustments but on the XP? If it makes a difference the Vista is a 2008 while the XP is a 2005.

July 16, 2010

home techie trouble shooter @ 9:23 pm #

the fix that worked for my vista laptop was removing all the multiple network names of the same SSID eg. homenetwork 1 , homenetwork 2, homenetwork 2 3, etc. and even those that were suspect of the same router SSID, ie. Linksys

then rebooted the laptop and re-entered in all the information. let it find its bearings, and once stable rebooted it for the 2nd time and the non-broadcasting SSID did an auto connect, no further problems.

hope this one can help

August 8, 2010

Chas Harris @ 2:43 pm #

Hi all,

Aaaaaaaaaaagh, we have a very similar problem. A laptop running Vista will not find our home wirelss network…. but gives a list of every other network in the area that we cannot delete from the list. In the main network and sharing menu it has our network listed on auto connect but it won't as it's not 'detecting' it! Does anyone know how to fix this???

August 13, 2010

Amanat @ 4:54 pm #

Hi guys I created my network ssid and set all but it,s not working on my laptop with windows vista, if some one has some suggessios let me know..


my email is

January 4, 2011

Dennis @ 5:03 am #

Hi, my problem is like this…I have one laptop that with xp version that seen SSID: Dlink_wireless and can connnect well with it.
but my vista desktop also have a wireless card installed and that computer desktop just beside this xp laptop but the problem is, It shown other SSID but just cant seen SSID: Dlink_wireless and how do I fix it…?
I already try the top example manually connect to hidden connection but just cant..

note:Sorry for bad grammar…

If you have information that solve the problem please send me a email Thanks.

January 9, 2011

cheylee @ 8:54 pm #

here's my story.

I randomly get notifications saying a computer has the same IP address as me. so I was like, what the hell. let me try to make a password for my network. i typed in google and got yahoo answers and they all gave the same url to or something. it said to "disable ssid broadcasting" and as soon as i saved it, it knocked my connection out. i can't do anything. i tried the "connect if not broadcasting" crap and it didnt work. i have windows vista. someone help me, please?

January 13, 2011

chuck @ 9:21 pm #

First go to your device manager and look under Network Adapters there should be 2 drivers listed there, one for ethenet and one for wireless(WLAN) if there are any others delete them they will conflict with the WLAN. Also if there is no WLAN driver thats why you can't connect. The fix, go to your computer manufacturers web site or use a recovery disc and reload the WLAN adapter driver and then go to your security set-up screen and disable the auto search for updates function.When your computer was new it worked for a while or not at all then the excess drivers started a turf war on your mother board and your most needed one lost out thats why it won't connect now,so even if you reload the proper driver the auto-up date function will go out on the net and get more unneeded drivers and continue this process untill you put a gun to your head or run down Bill Gates' with a Mack truck

February 26, 2011

Max @ 12:29 pm #

@Watching The Net:
steps you hasve provided ONLY work for PRE SP2 Vista.
On SP2 it DOES NOT work for some reasons!

Please remove this "how-to" or add a subscript that this will not work on Vista with SP2 installed. Otherwise, you are confusing users.

October 6, 2011

22curious @ 6:38 pm #

Still not working. Same problem. Have ticked the boxes over and over. Deleted networks, manually re-added them with the boxes checked. But still, looking in Event Viewer as admin, it is obvious that VISTA is IGNORING the box status:

"…Connect even if network is not broadcasting: No
Result of diagnosis: Problem found
Root cause: Windows cannot connect to "default" Wireless association failed because Windows did not receive any response from the wireless router or access point.
Detailed root cause: Wireless association to this network failed. Windows did not receive any response from the wireless router or accesspoint."

BUT THE BOX WAS CHECKED for connecting even if network is not broadcasting.


October 12, 2011

Mike @ 10:10 am #

Did you check for an update of your network card's driver software? If not, I would first delete the network, then add with "Connect … if SSID not broadcasting: YES". I have found that, depending on your machine, Windows would not connect against a network that was not broadcasting its SSID without this. And don't forget that someone could be messing with your network and how/why that might be.

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