FIX: Wi-Fi adapter won’t connect to router

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Windows & Software Expert
Milan has been enthusiastic about PCs ever since his childhood days, and this led him to take interest in all PC-related technologies. Before joining WindowsReport, he worked as a front-end web developer. Read more
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WiFi adapter won’t connect to router
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A Wi-Fi adapter, also known as a wireless adapter, is attached to a computer to enable connection to a wireless network, before devices with built-in connectivity were created.

They come in form of USB sticks plugged into a port on your computer, or PCI network cards plugged into a PCI slot on the motherboard.

However, Wi-Fi adapters are almost being phased out as the new-gen computers have built-in wireless connectivity.

If your Wi-Fi adapter won’t connect to the router, and you’ve tried restarting your machine or installing the latest Windows Updates, here are some more solutions that can help you going forward.

How to fix Wi-Fi adapter when it won’t connect to your router

  1. Reset your modem and your router
  2. Run the Network Troubleshooter
  3. Update the network adapter driver
  4. Roll back the network adapter driver
  5. Uninstall the network adapter driver and restart
  6. Check Device Manager for valid wireless card entry
  7. Ensure a vendor’s Wireless Utility is not running together with Windows’ native wireless utility
  8. Set up a new wireless connection
  9. Use network reset to reinstall network devices

1. Reset your modem and your router

This helps fix the network connection and creates a new connection to your ISP.

  • Click Start
  • Select Power
  • Click Shut Down
  • Unplug the power cord from your wireless router/gateway or wireless modem/router
  • Unplug the power cord from your broadband modem
  • Wait five seconds and then plug the power cord back to the wireless router and wait for the lights to come on and reflect the normal internet and computer activity.
  • Turn on your computer and perform a hard set once Windows loads. If it doesn’t connect automatically, click the Network Connection icon on the notification area and select your network.
  • Click Connect

2. Run the network troubleshooter

This helps diagnose and fix common connection problems.

  • Right click Start
  • Select Control Panel
  • Select Network and Internet
WiFi adapter won’t connect to router
  • Select Network and Sharing
WiFi adapter won’t connect to router
  • 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
WiFi adapter won’t connect to router

3. Update the network adapter driver

An outdated or incompatible network adapter driver is one of the causes when your Wi-Fi adapter won’t connect to the router. If you recently had a Windows 10 upgrade, most likely the current driver was for a previous version.

  • Right click Start
  • Select Device Manager
WiFi adapter won’t connect to router
  • Select Network Adapters and click to expand the list then check for the adapter name
WiFi adapter won’t connect to router
  • Right click on the network adapter and select Update Driver
  • Select Search automatically for updated driver software
WiFi adapter won’t connect to router
  • 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.

3.1 Update drivers using a third-party tool

Downloading and updating drivers manually from the manufacturer’s website can damage your system by choosing and installing the wrong versions. In order to prevent that, we strongly suggest doing it automatically by using specialized software.

This kind of tool will automatically find the right driver versions, thus protecting you from download and installation of bad ones.

Most of the time, the generic drivers for your PC’s hardware and peripherals are not properly updated by the system.There are key differences between a generic driver and a manufacturer’s driver.Searching for the right driver version for each of your hardware components can become tedious. That’s why an automated assistant can help you find and update your system with the correct drivers every time, and we strongly recommend DriverFix. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Download and install DriverFix.
  2. Launch the software.
  3. Wait for the detection of all your faulty drivers.
  4. DriverFix will now show you all the drivers that have issues, and you just need to select the ones you’d liked fixed.
  5. Wait for the app to download and install the newest drivers.
  6. Restart your PC for the changes to take effect.
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4. 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 by doing the following:

  • Right click Start
  • Select Device Manager
  • Select Network adapters and click to expand the list then choose the network adapter name
WiFi adapter won’t connect to router
  • Right click the network adapter, and then select Properties.
  • In Properties, select the Driver tab
WiFi adapter won’t connect to router
  • Select Roll Back Driver, then follow the promptsWiFi adapter won’t connect to router

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

5. Uninstall the network adapter driver and restart

You can 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
  • Select Device Manager
  • Select Network adapters and click to expand the list then choose the network adapter name.
WiFi adapter won’t connect to router
  • Right click the network adapter, and then select Uninstall
  • Select Delete the driver software for this device checkbox
  • Click Uninstall.
  • Restart your computer

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

6. Check Device Manager for valid wireless card entry

If there’s no valid entry in your computer’s device manager, delete any bogus entries and re-install the wireless adapter’s drivers. Check your Network connections to ensure you have a wireless network connection icon and the Properties of the icon are correctly configured with TCP/IPv4 protocol in the Network connections properties.

7. Ensure a vendor’s Wireless Utility is not running together with Windows’ native wireless utility

Ensure that no firewall prevents or blocks the wireless components to get to the network.

If all is well, and the Wi-Fi adapter won’t connect to the router, log in from a computer that is connected or can be connected to the wireless router with a wire, the disable the wireless security. Ensure the wireless broadcast is on and then try connecting with No Wireless security. When it is working, turn on the wireless security.

Note: Sometimes you may make a mistake in writing and retyping the security passphrase. You can circumvent this by copying it from the router’s menu, and then paste when asked by the wireless adapter.

8. Set up a new wireless connection

set up new wi-fi connection windows 10

If you’ve tried all the other nine solutions and none of them work, document the required settings and confirm they’re correct, then completely delete your wireless connection or connections from your computer.

Set up a brand new wireless connection and see if it resolves the problem. This may resolve any settings that changed without any reason, or any corruption in original connection files.

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 Wi-Fi adapter won’t connect to the router. 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 
  • Select Network & Internet
WiFi adapter won’t connect to router
  • Select StatusNetwork reset.
  • On the Network reset screen
  • Select Reset now
  • Click Yesto confirm.
  • Wait for your PC to restart and see if that fixes the problem.

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.

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.

Has any of these solutions fixed the problem? Let us know by leaving a comment in the section below.

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