Windows - Uninstalling/reinstalling a network adapter in device manager
This document details how to uninstall and reinstall a network adapter for the purpose of troubleshooting networking problems on Windows 7, 8, and 10.
If a user is having issues connecting to or staying connected to a wired or wireless network, an easy first step at troubleshooting is to uninstall and reinstall the network adapter. This is also a good step to try if a user is able to connect to a network but are unable load web pages in their browser. This fix will bring the network adapter back to default settings and will resolve issues a large percentage of the time. If the the network adapter doesn't show up in the list it could indicate a hardware issue with the adapter.
- Type "Device Manager" into the search field to open the device manager console.
- Expand the "Network Adapters" field. This will list all network adapters that the machine has installed. Right click on the adapter you want to uninstall and select "Uninstall". This will remove the adapter from the list and uninstall the device. If troubleshooting a wireless issue make sure to select the correct device - the word "Wireless" will likely be in the title.
- Click "Ok" when prompted to uninstall the device. This will remove the adapter from the list and uninstall the driver.
- Once the adapter has been uninstalled click on the "Scan for hardware changes" button to search for and reinstall the correct adapter. The icon can be hard to see - you can hover your mouse over the button to confirm you are choosing the correct one.
If the device is successfully reinstalled it will show back up under the "Network Adapters" drop-down. Reboot the computer and see if the connectivity issue has been resolved.
If the issue is not resolved click here for instructions on restarting the windows networking service.