Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ubuntu Wireless disabled: SIOCSIFFLAGS: Operation not permitted

 Not again! I was working on my box (Ubuntu 10.10, HP Compaq) and I forced a reboot. On turning back my laptop, I noticed my laptop wireless was not connected to my home network. I clicked on my network-manager and there it goes "wireless network disabled".

I remembered I had this problem some time ago on Ubuntu 9.04 and after wandering on several forums I got it working.  From experience, this problem normally occurs when you power off you system abnormally :)

So many forums suggested different hacks but not close to the solution so they never got it working perfectly.

To solve this problem,
Simply run the command below:

    $sudo rm /dev/rfkill

After that, simply reboot your computer

   $sudo shutdown -r now

When you reboot the device /dev/rfkill deleted will be re-created automatically
and you should be able to connect back to your network.


  1. if rfkill is not installed, download the package and install otherwise run the command below:
    $sudo apt-get install rfkill

    Then follow the instruction in the blog :)

  2. thank you so much! I was pulling my hair out trying to solve this one (and for the record: I have an Acer Aspire 3500, ubuntu 10.10).

  3. nope, didn't work. Running Ubuntu 10.10 on a Dell Inspiron 6000.

  4. Can you paste the output of
    $sudo ifconfig wlan0 up

  5. wlan0: ERROR while getting interface flags: no such device

  6. WHen I loaded 10.10 in dual boot with XP the system ran flawlessly. Then it went into hibernate mode and would not come out, not even for cheese! I did a hard shutdown to regain control. Now, no wireless. Thanks for any help you can give.

  7. It seems that your interface card is not detected or maybe is not wlan0.

    To get a list of your interface card for your wireless, type:
    $sudo ifconfig -a

    If you cannot get a list of your wireless card, try installing the driver module for your wireless card with modprobe.

    After installing your driver then try the blog post again.


  8. OK. I have reinstalled Ubuntu to try to correct this problem:
    here is the current output:
    john@john-Inspiron:~$ sudo ifconfig eth1 up
    [sudo] password for john:
    SIOCSIFFLAGS: Operation not possible due to RF-kill
    john@john-Inspiron:~$ sudo ifconfig -a
    eth0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 00:12:3f:e1:6c:fc
    RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
    TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
    collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
    RX bytes:0 (0.0 B) TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)

    eth1 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 00:13:ce:29:ee:3f
    RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
    TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
    collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
    RX bytes:0 (0.0 B) TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)
    Interrupt:17 Base address:0x6000 Memory:dfdfd000-dfdfdfff

    lo Link encap:Local Loopback
    inet addr: Mask:
    inet6 addr: ::1/128 Scope:Host
    UP LOOPBACK RUNNING MTU:16436 Metric:1
    RX packets:108 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
    TX packets:108 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
    collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
    RX bytes:8304 (8.3 KB) TX bytes:8304 (8.3 KB)

  9. I did try the blog suggestion after re-installation.

  10. @KLR 650 Rider: alright, did it work after following the blog post?

  11. I'm sure it's something simple . . . which tells you a lot about my level of Linux knowledge!!! LOL

  12. It's ok now. Hard kill is in the BIOS . . .

  13. iwl3945 - this method not work. :sad:

  14. Same problem here. The wireless is dead even when I boot in windows...
    The problem started after an abnormal shutdown after running out of battery.
    The solution here didnt work. Any other suggestions?

  15. Hi again.
    Finally what solved the problem for me was shutting down the machine with the wifi button in the “off” position. After booting ubuntu again I moved the switch to the on position and it started working again. Really odd...

    Now my output from the command “rfkill list
    ” is:

    0: phy0: Wireless LAN

    Soft blocked: no

    Hard blocked: no

    Before it read “Hard blocked: yes” and the on-off switch didn't work at all.

    By the way my laptop is a Toshiba satellite with ubuntu 10.10 and windows vista installed.
    Hope this helps someone else.

  16. Pablo, thanks for the feedback , I hope it helps someone else too.

    This solution seems to work on my box, I 'm wondering probably you never rebooted your box when you deleted the device file /dev/rfkill?
    And it started to work after you rebooted your box.

    Have you tried to also check if the wireless is now working on windows?

  17. Hi Philip.

    In fact I did reboot the computer after deleting /dev/rfkill as you suggested en the post (and repeated the proces several times just to be sure). However it did not solve the problem.

    It just worked after rebooting with the on-off swith at the off position. It seems that at startup the swith had to be at the off position as the system "believed" it was, and then when I moved it to the on position the system responded activating the wireless again...
    I know it sounds weird and I dont really have an explanation, but it just worked.

    Now it works on windows too.

    Thanks again for the help!

  18. Great. That one helped.

    Maybe you should add, that in case soft block is set to "yes" you just have to enter "rfkill unblock wifi".

  19. Stefan Klumpp, I tried five or six different solutions, none of them worked... But that 'rfkill unblock wifi' did the trick! Thanks SO much!

  20. Thank you!
    My acer aspire zg5 netbook had this issue.
    I disabled the wireless network while in class, and manually switched the wifi off.
    The wireless icon in Ubuntu would not allow the wireless network to be re-enabled (greyed out).
    The hardware switch did nothing.
    Solution: delete dev/rmkill file and restart - this cleared the hardware block on the wi-fi device.
    Thanks Again!

  21. Thanks !
    Your trick works like a charm.
    I'm on a 2710p (hp) with dual boot (Ubuntu 10.10 / Vista Business Edition).
    Thank you again from France !

  22. thank you!!!!!!!!!

    The instructions are correct, but I guess people who failed accomplishing it (like me) just had a slight different issue.

    1) my laptop wireless switch was off, so I turned it on and still gave me the same error. So start by checking if it is really on. Right click on the wireless icon to see if it's enable if not, that's step one.

    2) I had to restart it. I had two areas that occurred blocks.

    $rfkill list all
    0: hp-wifi: Wireless LAN
    Soft blocked: yes
    Hard blocked: no
    1: phy0: Wireless LAN
    Soft blocked: yes
    Hard blocked: no

    3) Unblock both by using:
    rfkill unblock 0
    rfkill unblock 1

    restart ubuntu, bang bang... you're free of wires again.

    A big thank you to the author who posted this and I hope it helps those, like me, who couldn't get at the first try.

  23. oh my God..i've never been any happier..the rfkill unblock wifi did the trick...thank you so much

  24. Thank you! It worked!
    I have made a blog post on this issue too! Cheers!!

  25. I have an HP 630. Today I upgraded my system from Ubuntu 10.10 --> 11.04 --> 11.10 --> 12.04.
    My wireless was working well till the 11.10 upgrade.
    After I upgraded from 11.10 to 12.04, my wireless adapter could not be enabled. The system was not allowing me to enable the card using Fn+F10. Tried the rfkill stuff but that wud not help.

    As a last step, I set my BIOS to factory defaults and reconfigured the BIOS settings....and wireless started working well!

  26. it worked for me ^^ thank you so much

  27. Yes worked for me too, with the Broadcom WLAN -- thanks so much guys !

  28. ive tried every single method nothing my linux experiences is limited so how about sudo apt-getf/*ked


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