FIX: USB Wi-Fi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

Elsie Otachi By: Elsie Otachi
7 minute read
USB Wi-Fi adapter connection issues

Home » FIX: USB Wi-Fi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

A USB Wi-Fi adapter is a handy little gadget that should be part of your home essentials besides owning a computer or fast Internet connection.

If your computer has no Wi-Fi connection built into it, you can choose to use a USB Wi-Fi adapter to ensure you get online and continue browsing, streaming Netflix, or even playing games.

USB Wi-Fi adapters frees your computer from using cables, eliminates the need for running cables or installing internal hardware and upgrading your computer, plus you can use it on multiple devices.

If you’re trying get online but your USB Wi-Fi adapter is not connecting to the internet, here are some solutions you can use.

How to fix USB Wi-Fi adapter not connecting to the Internet

  1. Check your Wi-Ficonnection
  2. Turn off Airplane Mode
  3. Restart your Wi-Fi router
  4. Run the network troubleshooter
  5. Update the network adapter driver
  6. Roll back the network adapter driver
  7. Temporarily turn off firewalls
  8. Uninstall the network adapter driver and restart
  9. Use network reset to reinstall network devices

Solution 1: Check your Wi-Fi connection

If your USB Wi-Fi adapter is not connecting to the Internet, ensure your Wi-Fi is on by doing the following:

  • Click Start
  • Select Settings

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Select Network & Internet

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Select Wi-Fi to check for available networks

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • If a network you expect to see appears in the list, select it
  • Click Connect

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

Solution 2: Turn off Airplane Mode

Ensure your physical Wi-Fi switch on your laptop is turned on. An indicator light will show when this is on. Next, turn off Airplane mode by doing the following:

  • Click Start
  • Select Settings

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Select Network & Internet

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

 

  • Select Airplane mode

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Turn it OFF if it is turned on

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

Solution 3: Restart your Wi-Fi router

If solution 1 and 2 don’t work, and you have tried to move closer to your router or access point, you can also restart your Wi-Fi router. This helps create a new connection to your ISP, but it will disconnect everyone on your network temporarily. It should be one of the last solutions to try though. Here’s what to do:

  • Unplug the power cable for the router from the power outlet and wait at least 30 seconds
  • Plug back the router to the power source.
  • Wait a few minutes for the router to power on fully (you can check this by looking at the status lights on the two devices).
  • Try and connect your PC again.

Solution 4: Run the network troubleshooter

The Network troubleshooter helps diagnose and fix common connection problems. You can use this troubleshooter then run some networking commands if needed. Follow the steps below.

  • Right click Start
  • Select Control Panel

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Select Network and Internet

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Select Network and Sharing center

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

 

  • Go to the search box and type Identify and repair network problems
  • Select Identify and repair network problems to run it following the instructions carefully

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

Solution 5: Update the network adapter driver

An outdated or incompatible network adapter driver is one of the causes when your USB Wi-Fi adapter is not connecting to the internet. If you recently had a Windows 10 upgrade, most likely the current driver was for a previous version. Check if an updated driver is available by doing the following:

  • Right click Start

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Select Device Manager

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Select Network Adapters and click to expand the list then check for the adapter name

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Right click on the network adapter and select Update Driver software

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Select Search automatically for updated driver software

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Restart your computer see if it fixes the USB Wi-Fi adapter is not connecting to the internet issue

If Windows can’t find a new driver for your network adapter, visit your computer manufacturer’s website to download the latest network adapter driver.

Solution 6: Roll back the network adapter driver

If you recently installed a new network adapter driver, rolling back your driver to a previous version may help when your USB Wi-Fi adapter is not connecting to the Internet. Do the following:

  • Right click Start

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Select Device Manager

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Select Network adapters and click to expand the list then choose the network adapter name.

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Right click the network adapter, and then select Properties.

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • In Properties, select the Driver tab

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Select Roll Back Driver, then follow the prompts

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

If the button is unavailable, that means there’s no driver to roll back to.

If Windows can’t find a new driver for your network adapter, visit your computer manufacturer’s website to download the latest network adapter driver.

Update drivers automatically

We strongly suggest you to do it automatically by using Tweakbit’s Driver Updater tool. This tool is approved by Microsoft and Norton Antivirus and will keep your system away from permanent damage caused by the installation of the wrong driver version. After several tests, our team concluded that this is the best automatized solution. Below you can find a quick guide how to do it.

  1. Download and install TweakBit Driver Updater
  2. driver updater starting windowOnce installed, the program will start scanning your PC for outdated drivers automatically. Driver Updater will check your installed driver versions against its cloud database of the latest versions and recommend proper updates. All you need to do is wait for the scan to complete.tweakbit's driver updater scanning
  3. Upon scan completion, you get a report on all problem drivers found on your PC. Review the list and see if you want to update each driver individually or all at once. To update one driver at a time, click the ‘Update driver’ link next to the driver name. Or simply click the ‘Update all’ button at the bottom to automatically install all recommended updates.
    driver updater scan finished
    Note: Some drivers need to be installed in multiple steps so you will have to hit the ‘Update’ button several times until all of its components are installed.

Disclaimer: some features of this tool are not free.

Solution 7: Temporarily turn off firewalls

There are times when your firewall or antivirus and malware prevention software may prevent you from connecting to the internet. You can temporarily turn it off and try to connect again. Check the documentation for your firewall’s software for steps on how to turn it off. However, turn it back on as soon as you can as not having it on makes your computer vulnerable to hackers and malware threats.

Solution 8: Uninstall the network adapter driver and restart

If the solutions above didn’t fix USB Wi-Fi adapter is not connecting to the internet, try to uninstall the network adapter driver, and then restart your computer and have Windows automatically install the latest driver. You can also do this if your network connection stopped working after a recent update.

Ensure you have drivers available as a backup, and visit the PC manufacturer’s website and download the latest network adapter driver from there.

  • Right click Start

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Select Device Manager

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Select Network adapters and click to expand the list then choose the network adapter name.

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Right click the network adapter, and then select Uninstall

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Select Delete the driver software for this device checkbox

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Click Uninstall
  • Restart your computer

If Windows doesn’t automatically install a driver, try to install the backup driver you saved before uninstalling.

Solution 9: Use network reset to reinstall network devices

This should be the last step you try if the other solutions don’t help when your USB Wi-Fi adapter is not connecting to the internet. It can also help solve connection problems you might have after upgrading from a previous version of Windows to Windows 10, as well as fix problems where you can connect to the Internet but not to shared network drives. It removes any network adapters you have installed and the settings for them.

Once your computer restarts, network adapters are reinstalled, with default settings.

Note: to use network reset, you must run Windows 10 version 1607 or later.

  • Click Start
  • Select Settings 

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Select Network & Internet

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Select StatusNetwork reset.
  • On the Network reset screen
  • Select Reset now
  • Click Yes to confirm.
  • Wait for your PC to restart and see if that fixes the problem.

After using network reset, you may need to reinstall and set up other networking software you might be using, such as VPN client software or virtual switches from Hyper‑V.

Note: Network reset might set each one of your known network connections to a public network profile where your computer is not discoverable to other PCs and devices on the network, which can help make your PC more secure. If your PC is part of a homegroup or used for file or printer sharing, you need to make it discoverable again by setting it to use a private network profile.

Here’s how to make your computer discoverable again:

  • Click Start
  • Select Settings

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Select Network & Internet

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Select Wi-Fi 

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • On the Wi-Fi screen, select Manage known networks

USB WiFi adapter is not connecting to the Internet

  • Select the network connection you want to change
  • Click Properties.
  • Under Network profile, select Private.

Did any of these solutions resolve the USB Wi-Fi adapter is not connecting to the internet issue? Let us know by leaving a comment in the section below.

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