How to Install Network Adapter Drivers

Network adapters are sometimes called network interface cards (NIC) or Ethernet adapters. The port in the adapter is your gateway to the Internet. Network adapters offer some of the fastest connections within a local area network, helpful when transferring large files between computers on the same network. You may face a hurdle, however, when the network adapter is malfunctioning due to corrupt or missing drivers — you cannot go online to research the remedy. If you need to install or reinstall the network adapter drivers on your PC, Windows has a wizard that guides you through the process.

1.Insert the installation CD that stores the network adapter drives into your CD drive. Exit any pop-up windows for now.

2.Click on “Start” or the Windows orb logo on the taskbar at the bottom of the desktop to show the Start menu. Select “Run” from the menu to open a dialog box. Type “devmgmt.msc” in the field labeled “Open,” then click the “OK” button to open the “Device Manager.”

3.Scroll down the Device Manager window to the “Other Devices” category, then left-click on the network card adapter to highlight it. The adapter may also appear under the “Network Adapters” category if it is not in “Other Devices.” Look for a yellow “!” (exclamation mark) and “?” (question mark) to identify hardware that needs drivers.

4.Right-click on the network adapter to show the pop-up menu, then select “Properties” from the menu to open a dialog box.

5.Click the “Reinstall Driver” button on the “General” tab in the dialog box to open the “Hardware Update Wizard.”

6.Click the radio button next to “Install from a list or specific location (Advanced),” then click the “Next” button to advance the page in the wizard.

7.Click the radio button next to “Search for the best driver in these locations.”

8.Click a check mark in the box next to “Search removable media (floppy, CD-ROM…).”

9.Click a check mark next to “Include this location in the search,” and then click the “Browse” button to open another box. Select the drive letter that is assigned to your CD drive, e.g., “D,” “E,” etc. Click on and off folders to expand them. As you click the folders, monitor the grayed-out disabled “OK” button. Once the “OK” button is enabled that means Windows recognizes that a driver is in that folder. Click the “OK” button to close the box and bring the Hardware Update Wizard back to the front.

10.Click the “Next” button and pause while Windows installs the driver file. Monitor the screen for any additional instructions and follow through. After the green progress bar advances from left to right, you will see a page in the Wizard that will state that the installation is finished. Click the “Finish” button and be ready if a restart is required.


If you don’t have the driver/software CD that was originally provided with the network adapter, visit the manufacturer’s website to download it. Click on the “Download” or “Support” section and then find the driver files by model number. Save the driver files to a USB flash drive or SD card.


You may have to login to Windows under an administrator account or use temporary administrator privileges.

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