Windows 10 is the latest and greatest version of the Windows Operating System, but it is far, far from perfection. Among the many issues that Windows 10 users from all over the globe have faced is their networks adapters and their drivers not working in Windows 10. Some of the Windows 10 users affected by this issue simply don’t see their network adapters being listed in Device Manager, some of these users’ computers fail to recognize their network adapters, and, in some cases, the network adapters don’t work even though they are recognized and are listed in Device Manager.
Keep in mind that to perform some steps in the solutions below, you will need Internet connectivity, so, you may use a USB adapter, ethernet cable, Wi-Fi connection, or Bluetooth connection (e.g., use mobile’s internet through Bluetooth) to perform those steps.
Power Off Your Device and Unplug its Power Cable
A temporary glitch in the power options of your device (like the network adapter is put to “deep sleep” by the OS) may cause the network adapter not detected in Windows 10. In this case, powering off your device and unplugging its power cable may solve the problem.
- Shut down your PC and unplug its power cable. In the case of a laptop, remove its battery.
- Now hold the power button for a minute and then leave the system unplugged for 30 minutes.
- Then connect back the power cable to your system (in case of a laptop, put back its battery) and power on the system to check if it is clear of the network adapter issue.
If the issue persists and you are using a laptop, you may battery drain the laptop and afterward, check if the issue is resolved.
Use the Network Adapter Troubleshooter
Microsoft has bundled Windows 10 with a bunch of troubleshooters to solve the common system issues and one such troubleshooter is the Network Adapter Troubleshooter. Before diving into the more technical solutions, it will be a good idea to run the Network Troubleshooter to solve the issue.
- Right-click Windows and open Settings.
- Now select Update & Security and head to the Troubleshoot tab.
- Then open Additional Troubleshooters (in the right pane) and expand Network Adapter.
- Now click on Run the Troubleshooter and apply the suggestions by the troubleshooter.
- Then check if the network adapter is detected in Windows 10.
Update the System Drivers to the Latest Build
Your network driver might not be shown in the Device Manager if the system drivers are outdated. In this case, updating the system drivers (especially, the chipset drivers) may solve the problem. But before that, check if uninstalling the latest Windows update (if the issue started after a Windows update) solves the network adapter problem.
- Manually update the system drivers to the latest built. Do not forget to check the OEM website for the updated system drivers. If your OEM has an update utility (like Dell Support Assistant), use that utility to update the drivers.
- Once the system drivers are updated, check if the network adapter issue is resolved.
If the issue persists, you may try an older driver or roll back to an older driver of the network adapter to solve the issue.
Edit Power Plan Settings
The network adapter might not be detected in Windows 10 if the power settings of your device are putting the adapter to “sleep”. In this context, editing the power plan settings of your system may solve the network adapter problem.
- Right-click Windows and select Power Options.
- Now, in the right pane, click on Additional Power Settings and open Change Plan Settings.
- Then click on Change Advanced Power Settings and expand Wireless Adapter Settings.
- Now expand Power Saving Mode & set On Battery and Plugged-in to Maximum Performance (if it is already set to Maximum performance, see the bottom of this solution).
- Then apply your changes and unplug the power cable of your laptop.
- Now shut down your system (not restart) and then power on your system.
- Then check if the network adapter issue is resolved. If so, you may connect back the laptop’s power cable.
If at step 4 the On-Battery or Plugged-in options are already set to Maximum Performance, set the options to Power Saving mode and shut down your PC. Then follow the above steps and check if it solves the network adapter issue.
Disable the Fast Startup Feature of Windows 10
Fast Startup helps your PC to boot up quickly (as the name suggests) but as it restores the system from a mixed state between hibernation and shut down, it may “overlook” an essential resource and thus cause the issue at hand. In this scenario, disabling the Fast Startup feature of Windows 10 may solve the issue.
- Right-click Windows and open Power Options.
- Now open Additional Power Settings and in the resulting window, click on Choose What the Power Buttons Do.
- Then click on Change Settings That Are Currently Unavailable and in the bottom section of the window, uncheck Turn on Fast Startup.
- Now save your changes and shut down your PC (do not restart).
- Then power on your PC and check if it is clear of the network adapter issue.
Show Hidden Devices in the Device Manager and Reinstall the Network Adapter
The network adapter may not be shown in the active devices but is present in the hidden devices. In this case, uninstalling the hidden network adapter and reinstalling it may solve the problem.
- Click Windows, type: Command Prompt, and right-click on it. Now choose Run as Administrator.
- Now execute the following:
- Then right-click Windows and open Device Manager.
- Now, on the menu bar, click on View and select Show Hidden Devices.
- Then expand Network Adapters and check if a hidden network card is shown (a bit greyed out entry).
- If so, right-click on the hidden network adapter and select Uninstall.
- Then checkmark the option of Delete the Driver Software for This Device (if available) and click on Uninstall.
- Now repeat the same for all the hidden network drivers.
- Once the hidden network adapters are uninstalled, reboot your PC and upon reboot, check if the network adapter is detected in Windows.
- If not, check if installing the latest driver from the OEM website sorts out the adapter issue.
Use the Command Prompt to Reset Adapter
If the issue persists even after trying the solutions above, then you may try the administrator command prompt to solve the network adapter issue.
- Click Windows, type: Command Prompt, right-click on it and select Run as Administrator.
- Now execute the following cmdlets in the Command Prompt:
netsh int ip reset reset.txt netsh winsock reset netsh advfirewall reset
- Then reboot your PC after exiting the Command Prompt and check if it is clear of the network adapter issue.
- If that did not work, check if executing the following cmdlet in the Command Prompt solves the network adapter issue:
netcfg -v -u dni_dne
Disable Conflicting Devices in the Device Manager
The network adapter might not be shown in the Device Manager if a conflicting device is hindering the operation of the network adapter. In this context, disabling the conflicting devices in the Device Manager (PCMCIA adapter is reported to cause the issue) may solve the problem.
- Right-click Windows and select Device Manager.
- Then expand the PCMCIA adapter and right-click on the adapter (e.g., O2Micro OZ6912/601/711E0 CardBus/SmartCardBus Controller).
- Now select Disable Device and confirm to disable the device.
- Then repeat the same for the VPN and VMWare adapters.
- Now restart your system and check if the network adapter issue is resolved.
If that did not do the trick, you may try to disable all the non-essential devices one by one to find the problematic one.
Uninstall the Conflicting Applications
Windows 10 might not show a network adapter in the Device Manager if an application (especially a VPN client like Junos VPN) is hindering the networking modules of the OS. In this scenario, uninstalling the conflicting applications (like Cisco AnyConnect) may solve the problem.
- Right-click Windows and select Apps & Features.
- Then expand any VPN-based application (like Cisco AnyConnect) and click on Uninstall.
- Now confirm to uninstall the VPN application and reboot your PC.
- Upon reboot, check if the network adapter is working fine.
- If not, you may uninstall any VMware-related applications and reboot your PC to check if that resolves the network adapter issue.
If the issue persists, then you may clean boot your PC to find out the problematic application (like Visio 2016).
Edit the BIOS Settings of Your PC
Windows 10 might not show the network adapter in the Device Manager if the BIOS of your system is outdated or not properly configured. In this scenario, updating the system’s BIOS or properly configuring the system’s BIOS may solve the problem.
Warning: Advance at your own risk as editing the system‘s BIOS (or updating it) is a proficient skill and if not done properly, you may cause undying damage to your system/data.
Disable/Enable the Network Adapter in the BIOS Settings
- Boot your system into BIOS and expand Wireless.
- Now, in the left pane, select Wireless Device Enabled, and in the right pane, uncheck WLAN.
- Then uncheck Bluetooth and apply your changes (do not exit BIOS).
- Now, in the left pane, expand the System Configuration tab and select Integrated NIC.
- Then, in the right pane, select Disabled and apply your changes.
- Now boot your system into Windows and once fully booted into Windows, power off your system.
- Then boot into BIOS and enable Wireless, Bluetooth, and onboard LAN.
- Now boot your system into Windows and check if the network adapter is working fine (you may have to install the latest driver from the OEM website).
Update the BIOS to the Latest Built
- Update the system’s BIOS to the latest built (as per the OEM):
- Once BIOS is updated, check if the network adapter issue is resolved.
Reset BIOS to Defaults and Clear the CMOS Memory
- Boot your System into BIOS and near the bottom of the right pane, click on Restore Settings (or Load Defaults).
- Then confirm to restore the BIOS Settings and once done, boot into Windows after exiting BIOS.
- Now hopefully, the network adapter is detected in the Device Manager of Windows 10.
If not, then you may have to clear the CMOS memory (for details instructions, check method 2 of how to fix Memory Management BSOD) by pulling out the cell on the motherboard and wait for at least 5 minutes. Then place back the cell and power on the system to check if the network adapter issue is resolved (you may have to set your hard drive as the first boot option in the BIOS).
If the issue persists, you can fix your network adapter in Windows 10 by performing an in-place upgrade (download the Windows 10 ISO file and launch it as administrator) of your system to solve the network adapter issue.