With both Macs and PCs using Wi-Fi network connections, it is important to periodically check your settings and perform various maintenance. Here is a quick way to give your machines, what I like to call the “Wi-Fi tune-up.”
Let’s first start with the Mac. Whether you are using the latest operating system, macOS Sierra, or an earlier version, these recommendations should be similar.
Select your Wi-Fi symbol at the top-right and then select “Open Network Preferences” at the bottom of the menu. If your Wi-Fi symbol isn’t visible in your menu bar at the top-right, open System Preferences from the Apple menu. Next, select “Network.” The window that opens, allows you to manage all your network connections. Go to the left and select “Wi-Fi.”
Here you can control whether your Wi-Fi is on or off and you can checkmark the box below, to “Show Wi-Fi status in the menu bar” at the top of your desktop. This gives you easier access to your wireless settings.
To the bottom-right, select the “Advance” button. In the Preferred Networks box, is listed all the wireless networks you have allowed your Mac to connect with. I recommend you clear all of them out from time-to-time. This is especially important if you use public wireless networks, such as those at fast food places, hotels or even schools.
In fact, I recommend you clear these public places out soon after you leave the establishment. To do this, you will highlight one network in the box and click the “-“ minus sign at the bottom. Select the “Remove” button when prompted and the location will be deleted.
Remember, this is okay to do because when you return to the same place, all you need to do is re-add it to your list to use their Wi-Fi again. Once you are done, select OK to close the box and then you will want to select “Apply” in the Network box. You can now close the Network preferences box.
If you are using a PC with Windows 10 (Windows 7 and 8 will be similar), click on the wireless icon located at the bottom-right and then click “Network settings.” If you don’t see your wireless icon, click the Start button and then click the Settings icon (just above the power icon), then you will click “Network & Internet.” Next, you will click “Wi-Fi” to the left.
We should all now be in the Wi-Fi settings page.
In the center, find the “Manage known networks” link and click it to go to that page. Here it lists all the wireless networks you have connected with. Click each one and you will see “Properties” and “Forget” appear.
Click “Forget” and that wireless network connection will be removed. Do this for each connection you have listed.
As I mentioned with the Mac above, I recommend you clear all of them out from time-to-time. This is especially important if you use public wireless networks, such as those at fast food places, hotels, churches and even schools. In fact, I recommend you clear these public places out soon after you leave the establishment.
Once you have removed them all, you can close the settings page by clicking the “X” in the upper-right corner.
If you accidentally remove your current wireless connection, on a Mac, just select the wireless symbol at the top, select your wireless network name, enter your password and select “Join.” If you are using a PC, just click the wireless icon in the lower-right, click the name of your wireless network, click “Connect” and enter the password and click “Next.” Remember to put a checkmark in the box: “Connect automatically” if you want to have your computer remember this connection.
Please keep in mind, that “public” wireless networks are not secure and I don’t recommend you go into your banking, email or other sensitive websites when using these public wireless connections.
For 15 years, Scott Lindsay has helped tens of thousands of people better their skills, publishing more than 400 articles about Apple and Microsoft software, the computer and the Internet. You can reach Scott for comments or questions at ScottLindsay@live.com.