Wi-Fi disabled by hardware Switch – How to fix?

For some reasons, I still use Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. I’m not attached to it, and neither I get myself into the arguments related to Windows vs Linux.


To be honest, I don’t have much time to try the new OS(s). I miss the old days when I could test multiple distros of Linux in a day and still feel the hunger of trying more. Those were the days.

Anyway, I chose Ubuntu as my distro for the sake of stability.

You might be wondering why am I telling these crap about my life and the reason I use Ubuntu. Well, keep wondering because even I don’t know.

Coming to the important part – fixing the problem.


What can you do if the Network Manager suddenly starts to show something like “Wi-Fi disabled by hardware switch“, and when you press the F12 key hoping that it would fix the problem when it ends up disappointing you?

Answer If the GUI can’t, the CLI will. 

When I faced this problem, I started with –

$ sudo service network-manager restart

and it didn’t work.

The good thing – I was aware of `​rfkill`. It’s a command-line tool for enabling and disabling the goddamn wireless devices.

Doing $ rfkill list all gave me the status of the wireless devices, something similar to –

1: phy0: Wireless LAN
Soft blocked: yes
Hard blocked: no

I don’t remember if the device was hard blocked or soft blocked.

Below is the list of commands I checked in order to see if they worked –

  • $ rkfill unblock wifi
    • didn’t work
    • Reason – I don’t know why.
  • $ rfkill unblock all
    • didn’t work
    • Reason – I don’t know why.
  • $ sudo rfkill unblock wifi
    • didn’t work
    • Reason – I don’t know why.
  • $ sudo rfkill unblock all && sudo service network-manager restart
    • worked
    • Reason – I don’t know how.

That’s it. It took only a minute to fix because I was aware of the rfkill command.

Hope this helps!


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