If you can't connect to a network, there might be a problem with your network adapter, the piece of hardware that makes it possible for your PC to connect to a network.

First, try using the Network Adapter troubleshooter to automatically find and fix some problems. This troubleshooter will disable and re-enable the adapter and try some other common repairs:

  • Open the Network Adapter troubleshooter by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering troubleshooting in the search box, and then tapping or clicking Troubleshooting. Tap or click Network and Internet, tap or click Network Adapter, and follow the instructions on your screen.

Things to check

If running the Network Adapter troubleshooter doesn't fix the problem, here are some more things to try.

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Make sure airplane mode is turned off and wireless communication is turned on

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Settings.)

  2. Tap or click the network icon The wireless network icon.
  3. Make sure Airplane mode is turned off and wireless communication (Wi‑Fi or mobile broadband) is turned on.

Make sure the network adapter is enabled

  1. Open Network and Sharing Center by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering network and sharing in the search box, and then tapping or clicking Network and Sharing Center.

  2. Tap or click Change adapter settings.

  3. Press and hold or right-click the network adapter, and then tap or click Enable. Administrator permission required You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.

Reset the network adapter

The Network Adapter troubleshooter will do this automatically, but if you'd prefer to do it manually, follow these steps:

  1. Open Network and Sharing Center by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering network and sharing in the search box, and then tapping or clicking Network and Sharing Center.

  2. Tap or click Change adapter settings.

  3. Press and hold or right-click the network adapter, and then tap or click Disable. Administrator permission required You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.

  4. Press and hold or right-click the adapter again, and then tap or click Enable. Administrator permission required You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.

After you've reset the adapter, try connecting to the network again, or run the Network troubleshooter to verify that your network adapter is now working correctly.

  • Open the Network troubleshooter by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Identify and repair in the search box, and then tapping or clicking Identify and repair network problems.

Update the network adapter driver

You must be signed in as an administrator to follow these steps.

If you reset your network adapter and you still can't connect to a network, try running the Network troubleshooter first.

To run the Network troubleshooter

  • Open the Network troubleshooter by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Identify and repair in the search box, and then tapping or clicking Identify and repair network problems.

If the Network troubleshooter doesn't find and fix the problem, you might need to update the adapter driver, the software that enables your network adapter to communicate with your PC. (Updating the driver can solve the problem of missing or failed drivers, as well as outdated ones.) There are several ways to do this, and some might be more successful than others, depending on the type of PC you have and other factors. Use the following procedures in order until you're able to update the driver.

To check for a driver in Windows Update

  1. Open Windows Update by swiping in from the right edge of the screen (or, if you're using a mouse, pointing to the lower-right corner of the screen and moving the mouse pointer up), tapping or clicking Settings, tapping or clicking Change PC settings, and then tapping or clicking Update and recovery.
  2. Tap or click Check now, and then wait while Windows looks for the latest updates for your PC.

  3. Click View details to view optional updates. (Network adapter drivers are likely to be listed as optional updates.) If an update for your network adapter driver was found, select it, and then tap or click Install.

    Note

    • You might need to restart your PC to finish installing some updates. Save and close all your files and apps before you restart so you don't lose anything.

If you weren't able to update the driver using Windows Update, try using Device Manager.

To check for a driver using Device Manager

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search.)

  2. Enter Device Manager in the search box, and then tap or click Device Manager.‌ Administrator permission required You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.

  3. Double-tap or double-click Network Adapters, press and hold or right-click your adapter, and then tap or click Properties.

  4. Tap or click the Driver tab, and then tap or click Update Driver.

    If Windows can't find the driver on your PC and you don't have a connection to the Internet, you might need to contact the network adapter manufacturer or your PC manufacturer to get the driver. Check the info that came with your network adapter or your PC to see if you have a disc that contains the drivers.

If you weren't able to update the driver using Device Manager, try using Action Center.

To check for a driver using Action Center

  1. Open Action Center by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Action Center in the search box, tapping or clicking Settings, and then tapping or clicking Action Center.

  2. Expand the Maintenance section and look for a network adapter driver notification. If you find one, follow the instructions to install it.

  3. If you don't see a notification, check for a solution manually in the Maintenance section, and then, under Check for solutions to problem reports, tap or click Check for solutions.

If you weren't able to update the driver using Action Center, try looking for a driver on the manufacturer's website.

To download a driver from the manufacturer's website

If Windows can't find a driver for your network adapter, and the adapter didn't come with driver software, you can look for a driver on the manufacturer's website. Driver updates are often available in the support section of such websites.

Go to the PC manufacturer's website, then locate and download the latest driver for your network adapter.

If you find an updated driver, follow the installation instructions on the website. Most drivers are self-installing—after you download them, you double-click the file to begin the installation, and then the driver installs itself on your PC.

Some network adapters have drivers that you need to install yourself. If you download a driver that isn't self-installing, follow these steps:

You must be logged on as an administrator to perform these steps.

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search.)

  2. Enter Device Manager in the search box, and then tap or click Device Manager.‌ Administrator permission required You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.

  3. Double-tap or double-click Network Adapters, press and hold or right-click your adapter, and then tap or click Properties.

  4. Tap or click the Driver tab, tap or click Update Driver, and then follow the instructions. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, enter the password or provide confirmation.

Once you've updated the driver, try connecting to the network again, or run the Network troubleshooter to verify that the adapter is updated and working properly.

To run the Network troubleshooter

  • Open the Network troubleshooter by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Identify and repair in the search box, and then tapping or clicking Identify and repair network problems.

If all else fails, replace the adapter

If you've tried resetting the network adapter and updating the drivers, and the Network troubleshooter indicates that there's still a problem with your network adapter, try replacing the adapter. Buy a new network adapter and install it in your PC by following the manufacturer's instructions, or have a service technician replace the adapter for you.

Disabling a network adapter

If you decide that you don't want to use a particular network adapter, you can disable it.

To disable a network adapter

Disabling a network adapter turns it off so that it won't be used.

  1. Open Network and Sharing Center by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering network and sharing in the search box, and then tapping or clicking Network and Sharing Center.

  2. Tap or click Change adapter settings.

  3. Press and hold or right-click the network adapter, and then tap or click Disable. Administrator permission required You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.