- In general, Ethernet connections are easier to install and manage than wireless connections but there are cases when the connection is not working.
- In this article we will explore some ways you can fix this, so keep reading.
- To learn more, don't forget to check out our dedicated Troubleshooting Hub.
- For more articles on the subject and helpful guides, also check out our Security page.
Even though the IT industry is slowly moving towards wireless connections there are still uses and advantages to having a wired network connection.
The main advantage would be stability. While wireless connections can be affected by external interference, its wired counterpart is less prone to such factors.
This is one of the reasons cable connections are still recommended for servers, download machines, media streaming, and gaming.
Although Ethernet connections are easier to install and manage than wireless connections, sometimes they can be a bit of a headache to troubleshoot.
In this article we will discuss how you can check the basics of an Ethernet connection on a machine running Windows 10.
- Check for viruses
- Check your drivers
- Check that the connection is enabled
- Check network cable
- Check your connection details
- Run the Internet connection troubleshooter
- Roll back the network adapter driver
- Turn off your firewall and VPN software
- Reset your network
- Check your network hardware
How can I fix the Ethernet problems on Windows 10?
1. Check for viruses
Some viruses have the ability to block network connections on Windows machines. If you have antivirus software installed on your system you can use that to scan the whole system.
A great tool for removing viruses is Bitdefender. Due to its efficiency and protection features, it has been ranked as the best antivirus.
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2. Check your drivers
After you have uninstalled your drivers, we recommend reinstalling them automatically. Downloading and installing drivers manually is a process that carries the risk of getting the wrong driver installed, which may lead to serious malfunctions of your system.
The safer and easier way to update drivers on a Windows computer is by using an automatic tool. We strongly recommend you use DriverFix.
It automatically identifies each device on your computer and matches it with the latest driver versions from an extensive online database.
Drivers can then be updated in batches or one at a time, without requiring the user to make any complex decisions in the process.
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To update your drivers manually follow these steps:
- Right-click on the Start button and select Device Manager.
- Expand the Network adapters list and check whether there are any issues with the devices.
- Identify the Ethernet card, in this case it is a Marvell Yukon 88E8058 PCI Express gigabit controller.
- Right-click on it and select Properties.
- In the Device status window, it should say that your device is working properly.
- If your Ethernet controller icon has a question mark or an exclamation point then reinstall the correct driver for it.
3. Check that the connection is enabled
- Right-click on the Start button and select Network connections.
- All you have to do is right-click on it and select Enable.
4. Check network cable
In the Network connections window, once the Ethernet connection is enabled, you can also check its status. As you can see in the image above, the status of this connection says Network cable unplugged.
This means that the network card cannot identify if a cable is connected to it.
Check that one end of the network cable is connected to the Ethernet port on your machine, and that the other end is connected to the network (router, switch, or modem).
If your cable appears to be connected try disconnecting it and connecting it back again.
Cables can deteriorate in time or from improper handling. If your Ethernet adapter still shows the network cable as unplugged try switching to a different cable.
You can also try a different port on the router, switch, or modem (if more are available) as sometimes these ports can malfunction.
5. Check your connection details
The next thing to check is that the connection details are correct. This can be done from the same Network connections windows, by
- Right-clicking on the Ethernet connection and selecting Properties.
- In the Ethernet Properties window double click on the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) option.
- This is where you can enter the correct details for your connection.
- In most cases all you have to do is enable Obtain an IP address automatically and Obtain DNS server address automatically but there are situations where you have to manually input the details.
For this you’ll have to consult your router/switch/modem configuration manual or obtain the details from your ISP or network administrator.
NOTE: While most connections use IPv4, in the Ethernet Properties window you can also find an option called Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6).
6. Run the Internet connection troubleshooter
- Go to Start and type settings.
- Go to Update & Security and select Troubleshooter.
- Next, select and launch the Internet connection troubleshooter.
- Check if your Ethernet connection is now available
- If this is not the case, restart your computer and test again.
7. Roll back the network adapter driver
- Go to Search and launch Device Manager.
- Go to Network adapters and select the network adapter.
- Right click the network adapter and go to Properties.
- In the Properties window select the Driver tab and go to Roll Back Driver.
- Follow the on-screen steps to install a previous driver version.
- If the button is unavailable, that means there’s no driver to roll back to.
8. Turn off your antivirus/firewall and VPN software
- Go to Start and launch Windows Firewall.
- On the left side panel, select Turn Windows Firewall on and off.
- Check the two options that allow you to disable the firewall.
- Check your Ethernet connection again.
9. Reset your network
- Go to the Settings page, select Network & Internet, and go to Status.
- Locate the Network reset option. This feature allows you to set your network component to default. You might need to reinstall certain network software afterward.
- Click on the Reset now button and click Yes.
10. Check your network hardware
If you follow these steps and still can’t connect to your wired network, then the problems might not be related to your computer but rather to the network you’re trying to connect to.
You can try connecting a different machine to the network and see if the problem is the same on it.
If this is the case, then you should consult your router/switch/modem manual or ask your network administrator for the network details.
If you’re sure the network you’re trying to connect to is set up properly and still can’t connect to it, please use the comment section below to ask for further assistance.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2016 and has been since revamped and updated in September 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.