Facepalm: Microsoft's Mandatory Windows Update Is Breaking Wi-Fi On Some PCs

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If you have Microsoft’s latest Windows 11 update on your PC, you may have to say adiós to your Wi-Fi connectivity. Several educational institutes report that Microsoft’s latest December update KB5033375 is breaking Wi-Fi support on some student laptops. Microsoft has not acknowledged the issue yet, but it has become a widespread in a very short time. If you rely on wireless connectivity regularly, be sure to delay installing this update until Microsoft comes up with a fix.

The reason isn't clear just yet, but several reports from both universities and everyday end users have revealed several issues with the latest December update. One is related to hardware compatibility problems with some Qualcomm adapters, while another is related to Protected Extensible Authentication Protocol (PEAP) breaking with the December Windows 11 update. Additionally, another report revealed connectivity problems when connecting to 802.11r networks with Qualcomm adapters (similar to the first problem).

The most serious problem appears to be the PEAP issue, which can be tracked back as far as a year ago when Windows 11 22H2 came out. According to a 1-year-old Reddit post, users can experience connectivity errors with PEAP networks due to Microsoft enforcing Credential Guard on Windows 11 22H2 and newer.

university windows update deletion tutorial
Windows 11 December Update Deletion Tutorial - By Brunel University London

The Qualcomm adapter issues are more bizarre. According to one report from the Microsoft website, a local IT specialist at a Belgium university found that four of his students could not connect their Qualcomm wireless-equipped laptops on an 802.11r network. Switching over to another network type (that is not 802.11r) fixed the issue. At least one other IT administrator working at another university has also identified Qualcomm adapters as being affected, but did not report that connecting to 802.11r networks was the problem.

Problems with the Decmeber update have gotten so severe that several universities have had to publish tutorials on how to delete it for their respective students so they can access their own university’s Wi-Fi network. While the root causes remain unknown, there is clearly a problem with Windows 11 23H2 that is breaking Wi-Fi connectivity for many people.