How to install a driver for Wi-Fi on a laptop

There are a number of problems that all Windows users face. For example, there may come a time when your laptop refuses to work with a wireless network or even just receive its signal. What actions will help in this situation, that it is worth knowing and understanding novice users how to install a driver for Wi-Fi on a laptop, we will look at this article as closely as possible.

The device driver is responsible for its proper functioning.

What you need to know

For the correct operation of each component in our personal devices running Windows, there is a special type of software called a driver. It determines how specific equipment will function, how it will interact with the OS and the programs installed in it. Install the driver of each individual component can the manufacturer, producing a laptop, but in some situations it will have to do the user. This applies to every, even the smallest component of your PC. Wi-Fi adapter is no exception. It is he who is responsible for the connection and high-quality PC work with a Wi-Fi network.

  • If you installed new equipment in your laptop or added an additional component that was not supplied as standard.
  • If you have installed a new operating system.
  • If the manufacturer has released a newer version of the driver.

In all these situations, the instructions described in this article may be useful to you. In each of these situations, you will need to install a new driver. We will consider installing the driver using the Wi-Fi adapter as an example, since users encounter problems most frequently during this procedure.

How to check if the Wi-Fi driver is installed and working

As soon as users have problems connecting the laptop to the wireless network, we recommend that you make sure that the appropriate adapter is turned on in the computer, the driver for it is installed, and the device is working properly.

To do this, the first thing you should try to turn on Wi-Fi on a laptop mechanically. The fact is that in many models running Windows to save battery power in a laptop, you can quickly turn off and turn on Wi-Fi using a special physical switch on the case or a combination of keys on the keyboard. Some manufacturers use a combination of the Fn function key and the F2 or F3 buttons to do this. This information you can learn from the manual for a specific laptop model.

When an attempt to mechanically turn on is made, you need to check the functionality of this component in your laptop using the Windows operating system, and also to clarify whether there is a driver in the system that is responsible for the correct operation of the Wi-Fi network card and whether it works properly. You can get all this information and find out the status of the wireless network adapter in the Windows Device Manager. Find network adapters in this manager and check their properties. If any of them is disabled by software or the corresponding software is not installed for it, you will see an informational message and warning icons.

In any of these situations, you need to go to the next step, which will eliminate the problems with the connection of Wi-Fi and install the necessary driver.

How to search for a suitable compatible driver

In order to find the most suitable driver for the wireless Wi-Fi network adapter installed in your laptop, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the most complete specifications of the model on the manufacturer's website or use special software.

Laptops of the same model, released at different times, may have a Wi-Fi network adapter from different manufacturers and suppliers, which automatically means that you need to install completely different drivers. In order to find out the manufacturer of the Wi-Fi adapter, it's easier and faster to use the free utility HWVendorDetection for Windows. It does not require installation, and it is quite simple to find it in the open spaces of the network. After the utility shows the manufacturer of the network adapter, you need to go to its website and, choosing the version of the operating system installed in the laptop, download the most recent driver to date.

When finding out the hardware model, searching for compatible software, and automatically installing the driver, you can come to the aid of various software solutions. They are known more as compilations of drivers or drivers. Most often, they independently offer searching, downloading, installing and updating software for various hardware components, but they do it absolutely automatically. Sometimes this can lead to the fact that an improper driver will be installed or it will not be found at all. A similar system of automatic recognition of the model and downloading of the driver is valid in the OS itself, starting with Windows 7, but the correct software version is not always found, and the equipment may not be completely stable.

That is why we recommend searching for the driver manually and as much as possible preferably on the manufacturer’s website. The largest and self-respecting manufacturers release software updates quite regularly, improving the work of the equipment, including Wi-Fi adapters.

How to install or update the driver Wi-Fi

If you use special software to install drivers, you will most likely not need special skills in order to install the wireless adapter driver. Such programs do everything on their own and in the future many of them are able to check for updates in the background and notify users about them. Unfortunately (or fortunately), only the largest and only paid software products can boast of this functionality and its reliable correct operation. Free counterparts can sometimes install a not entirely compatible version of the software, do not know how to announce the presence of updates, and are overloaded with advertising.

If you are not too lazy and visited the website of the manufacturer of your laptop or network adapter and downloaded the most recent version of the software for Windows, the installation takes place by running the executable .exe file and strictly following the instructions of the installer. In this case, you can be sure that you install the most recent version on your computer, adapted specifically for your Windows build, which means that the adapter will work with guaranteed quality. The disadvantage of this method is that you have to monitor the new updates yourself, visiting the manufacturer’s website with a certain frequency.

Manual driver installation

If, after downloading the software for your wireless network adapter, you found a zip archive with loads of incomprehensible files in the downloads, or there is no executable .exe file among the downloads, you will most likely need to manually install the driver. Below we provide step-by-step instructions showing how exactly this can be done.

  • Extract all files from the downloaded archive and move them into one folder, signing it with any name that is most convenient and clear to you.
  • Launch Windows Device Manager.
  • Select a network adapter that does not have a driver or does not work correctly.
  • Open the context menu (right-click) and select Delete. This procedure will remove the existing driver and help to avoid conflicts between the old and the new software during the manual installation procedure.
  • Select the target adapter again, click on it (you need to right-click it) and select the option “Update drivers”.
  • Among the two proposed actions, select "Run a search for drivers on this computer."
  • The system prompts you to specify a specific location in the Windows file system to search for the driver. Specify the folder created a few steps earlier so that the system can install the software by itself.

After installing any such update software components, we advise you to restart the computer. This will help the system to tune in the optimal way, to activate the equipment that was disabled. In case of incompatible software versions or incorrect operation, the hardware may be disabled by Windows itself and will start only after a reboot.


The main recommendation when downloading and installing software for a network adapter and any other equipment in your laptop is to refer either to the manufacturer’s website or to the most reliable and trusted sources. This will save a lot of time and end up with the most efficient PC performance. The installation process itself can be manual or automatic, but using the instructions provided here it will become simple and straightforward.