FIX: Windows 11 Ethernet not working [Driver issues]

Kazim Ali Alvi
by Kazim Ali Alvi
Kazim has always been fond of technology, be it scrolling through the settings on his iPhone, Android device, or Windows. And at times, unscrewing the device to take a look at the hardware, although... Read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Several users have reported facing trouble with the Ethernet and being unable to access the Internet.
  • It could be due to issues as trivial as loose or faulty connections, to intricate ones like outdated or corrupt drivers and misconfigured network settings.
  • The error can be easily fixed by updating the driver, resetting the network settings, or with some built-in troubleshooters. 
Ethernet not working in Windows 11
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Windows 11, the latest iteration in the series from Microsoft, has a lot to offer, both in terms of functionality and design. However, after making the upgrade, a lot of users reported that the Ethernet is not working in Windows 11.

This poses a major problem since they have trouble establishing a secure Internet connection. Hence, it becomes imperative that the Windows 11 Ethernet not working error is fixed at the earliest.

But before we head to the actual solutions, you must first understand what exactly causes the error. This will help you identify the underlying problem in your case, and make the troubleshooting a lot simpler and quicker.

Besides that, take a closer look at this article dedicated to solving Wi-Fi issues in Windows 11. You’ll see that some of the culprits are similar.

What causes the Ethernet not working error in Windows 11?

The issue can be caused by a bunch of reasons and we have tried to list them all below:

  • Outdated or corrupt drivers
  • Running an older version of the Windows
  • Issues with the hardware
  • System infected with malware or virus
  • Ethernet adapter is disabled
  • Misconfigured settings
  • Conflicting applications

Now that you understand the underlying causes, it’s time we head to the fixes.

What can I do if the Ethernet is not working in Windows 11?

1. Check Ethernet cable connections

When dealing with the Ethernet not working error in Windows 11, your primary approach should be to check if the connections are in order.

The first thing you should verify is whether the cables are plugged in firmly. Or, simply unplug and replug them, and make sure they fit perfectly into the port.

Also, check for damages to the Ethernet cable. More often than not, a damaged cable is found to be the underlying cause. Check for any major bends or cuts in the cable, and if any are found, replace it.

2. Restart the modem/router

A simple fix for problems encountered when establishing an Ethernet connection is to restart the modem/router. You can either unplug the power cable or check for a power switch to turn it off.

Some newer models have built-in batteries, in which case, these will have to be removed as well to turn off the modem/router.

After turning it off, wait for a minute or two and then plug it back into the power source and check if the Ethernet not working error in Windows 11 is fixed.

3. Restart your Windows 11 PC

  1. Navigate to the desktop and press Alt + F4 to launch the Shut Down Windows box.
  2. Click on the dropdown menu and select Restart from the list of options.Restart Windows 11 to fix Wi-Fi issues
  3. Click on OK to restart the computer.Restart the computer

In most cases, it’s a trivial bug behind the Ethernet not working error which can be simply fixed by restarting the computer. When you reboot the Windows, the OS is reloaded, and any bug that crept in earlier will be eliminated.

After restarting the PC, check if you are able to establish a connection via Ethernet. In case it doesn’t, head to the next fix.

And even if it does, you should execute the remaining fixes since rebooting generally acts as a temporary solution to most problems.

4. Check if the Ethernet adapter is enabled

  1. Press Windows + R to launch the Run command.
  2. Type ncpa.cpl in the text field and click on OK at the bottom or press Enter to launch the Network Connections window.Launch Network Connections
  3. Locate the Ethernet adapter and check if it’s greyed out. If that is the case, the concerned adapter is disabled, and will require to be manually turned on.Ethernet disabled in Windows 11
  4. Right-click on the Ethernet option and select Enable from the context menu.Enable Ethernet adapter in Windows 11
  5. After enabling the adapter, check if the Windows 11 Ethernet not working error is fixed.

5. Reinstall the Ethernet driver

  1. Right-click on the Start button in the Taskbar or press Windows + X to launch the Power User/Quick Access menu.
  2. Select Device Manager from the list of options that appear.launch Device Manager
  3. Locate and double-click on the Network adapters entry.Network adapters
  4. Right-click on the Ethernet adapter and select Uninstall device from the context menu.Uninstall Ethernet Driver in Windows 11
  5. Next, tick the checkbox for Attempt to remove the driver for this device and click on Uninstall.Uninstall Ethernet Driver
  6. After removing the driver, restart the Windows 11 PC.

In many cases, the driver may corrupt over time and lead to various errors with the Ethernet. Here, all you have to do is reinstall it.

Once you restart the computer after uninstalling the corrupt Ethernet driver, Windows will automatically install a fresh copy of it, one that is not corrupt. This should fix the Ethernet not working error in Windows 11.

6. Update the Ethernet driver

If an outdated version of the driver is installed on the PC, it’s likely to cause a bunch of errors including the Ethernet not working issue. Hence, it’s imperative that you keep the driver up-to-date.

There are three ways you can update a driver in Windows 11: using the Device Manager, Windows Update, and manually downloading the latest version from the manufacturer’s website.

All three methods have been listed in order to help you update the Ethernet driver.

6.1 Via Device Manager

Note icon
Device Manager can only install driver updates that are already available on the system. In case you have one downloaded, proceed to the steps listed below. Otherwise, you can head to the next method, i.e, Windows Update.

  1. Press Windows + S to launch the Search Menu.
  2. Enter Device Manager in the text field at the top and click on the relevant search result to launch the component.Launch Device Manager to update Wi-Fi driver
  3. Locate and double-click on Network adapters.View devices under Network adapters
  4. Right-click on the Ethernet adapter from the ones listed here and select Update Driver from the context menu.Update Ethernet Driver in Windows 11
  5. Next, select Search automatically for drivers, the first option in the Update Drivers window, to let your system scan for the best available driver on the PC and install it.Search automatically for Ethernet drivers

After the driver is updated, check if the Ethernet not working error in Windows 11 is fixed. If it didn’t help or Windows couldn’t find a newer version on the system, head to the next method to update the driver.

6.2 Via Windows Update

  1. Press Windows + I to launch the Setttings app.
  2. Select Windows Update from the tabs listed in the navigation pane on the left.Go to Windows Update tab to update Wi-Fi driver
  3. Next, click on Windows Update on the right.Windows Update
  4. Locate and click on Advanced options under More options.Advanced options
  5. Now, locate and select Optional updates under Additional options. At the end of the option, you can find the number of updates available. In case there are none available, you can skip the following steps and go to the next method for update.Optional Updates
  6. Click on Driver Updates.View Wi-Fi driver updates
  7. If there’s an update available for the Ethernet driver, tick the checkbox for it and click on Download & install.Install Wi-Fi driver update

Windows Update is a quick and safe method to update the drivers installed on the system. But, only the drivers that have been submitted to Microsoft and have been certified will be listed here. And the whole process takes time.

This basically means there’s a good chance of an update available on the manufacturer’s website while it is yet to be approved by Microsoft, and these too are safe to install. Hence, it becomes essential to visit the manufacturer’s website.

6.3 Via the manufacturer’s website

Note icon
Before you check the manufacturer’s website for driver updates, it’s important to find out the current version in order to identify if a newer one is available.

  1. Launch the Device Manager as discussed earlier.
  2. Double-click on the Network adapters entry.Network adapters
  3. Right-click on the Ethernet adapter and select Properties from the context menu.Ethernet adapter properties
  4. Navigate to the Drivers tab and note the Driver version.Ethernet driver version
  5. Now, go to Google and search for a driver update with Device Name, OS (Windows 11) as the keywords, followed by Driver Update.Ethernet driver update in Windows 11
  6. Locate and open the manufacturer’s official website from the seach results.
  7. Check for a newer version using the current version, you noted earlier.
  8. If there’s an update available for the Ethernet driver, download it. This file will most likely be in .exe format.
  9. Navigate to folder where the downloaded file is stored, and double-click on it to launch the installer.Launch Wi-Fi driver installer
  10. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation process.

Sometimes, a driver update may be available on a third-party website and not the official manufacturer’s website. In such cases, it’s recommended that you thoroughly verify the source before proceeding to the download.

After downloading the latest version, check if the Ethernet not working error in Windows 11 is fixed. Even more, for automatic scans of missing or outdated drivers, we recommend using a dedicated tool such as DriverFix.

In case the error persists, it does not have anything to do with the driver. Hence, move to the next solution.

7. Run the Network Adapter troubleshooter

  1. Press Windows + I to launch the Settings app.
  2. Click on Troubleshoot on the right in the System tab.Troubleshoot Ethernet not working in Windows 11 error
  3. Next, click on Other troubleshooters.Other troubleshooters
  4. Locate the Network Adapter troubleshooter and click on the Run button next to it.Run Network Adapters troubleshooters
  5. Wait for the troubleshooter to start running, select the Ethernet option when prompted, and then click on Next.Troubleshoot Ethernet adapter

The built-in troubleshooters offered by Microsoft are one of the best ways to fix an error. Just locate the relevant troubleshooter, run it, follow the on-screen instruction, choose the response when prompted, and it’s done.

8. Update Windows 11

  1. Press Windows + I to launch the Settings.
  2. Select Windows Update from the tabs listed on the left.Windows Update tab
  3. Click on Windows Update on the right.Windows Update
  4. Click on Check for updates to scan for any available ones and download them.Check for updates

Running an older version of Windows is also known to cause a bunch of problems including the Ethernet not working error. Hence, it’s recommended that you keep Windows updated to avoid encountering errors.

Apart from errors, with each update, Microsoft releases a bunch of features and patches for previously known bugs. These are bound to make your Windows experience a lot better and safer.

9. Reset network settings

  1. Press Windows + I to launch the Settings app.
  2. Select the Network & internet tab from the ones listed in the navigation pane on the left.Network & internet
  3. Click on Advanced network settings from the options listed on the right.Advanced network settings
  4. Next, click on Network reset under More settings.Reset Ethernet network adapter
  5. Click on Reset now button next to Network reset.Reset Ethernet adapter in Windows 11
  6. Click Yes on the confirmation box that appears.Confirm network reset

If the above methods didn’t work, resetting the network settings might fix the Ethernet not working error in Windows 11. When you reset, the network adapters are reinstalled and the settings revert to their default state.

How do I execute the fixes if an Ethernet connection cannot be established?

In case of the Windows 11 Ethernet not working error, you can try establishing a Wi-Fi connection instead, if that’s available. If you are facing troubles with that as well, boot Windows 11 into Safe Mode.

We are going through all this trouble since some of the fixes listed here will require a working Internet connection. Rest assured that these solutions are the critical ones that have a higher chance of resolving the issue.

The fixes listed above will, in all likelihood, resolve the Ethernet not working error in Windows 11. However, if the error persists, you can either restore the system or reset Windows 11 to its factory settings.

Even more, check out this guide on how to fix Ethernet problems on Windows 10. After all, this issue isn’t exclusive to Windows 11 users and some of the solutions are similar.

Don’t hesitate to let us know which fix worked for you in the comments section below.

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