How to update network drivers in Windows 11

by Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
Matthew is a freelancer who has produced a variety of articles on various topics related to technology. His main focus is the Windows OS and all the things... read more
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  • You can update Windows 11 network drivers by manually downloading them from company websites and installing them.
  • Windows 11’s Device Manager utility enables you to either manually or automatically install new network drivers.
  • Third-party driver updater software can also come in handy for updating Windows 11 drivers for network adapters and other devices.

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Drivers facilitate communication between Windows 11 (or any other OS) and internal and external hardware devices. Companies regularly update drivers for their hardware devices. Therefore, the original drivers that came with your PC will get outdated.

Network drivers are those required for the computer’s network adapters. Your PC’s network adapter is the device needed for Internet connectivity. Wireless network adapters’ drivers are also known as Wi-Fi drivers.

Windows 11 doesn’t include any new utility for updating device drivers. Therefore, there isn’t any new way you can update network drivers in the latest OS. However, you can still easily update network adapter drivers in Windows 11.

Do I really need to update my PC’s network driver?

Updating the driver for the network adapter can enhance both its performance and reliability. For example, an antiquated network driver might reduce the download speed on your desktop or laptop.

For the sake of faster download speed, it’s worth updating a network adapter’s driver. Furthermore, connectivity issues will more likely arise on a PC with an outdated network adapter driver.

If you can’t connect to the Internet, you won’t be able to download a new driver to fix that issue. So, it’s best to update your computer’s network driver when you can do so to forestall connection inconveniences.

How can I update my PC’s network driver in Windows 11?

1. Use Device Manager

  1. Press the Windows key and X simultaneously to open a menu that includes some handy shortcuts.
  2. Click the Device Manager shortcut to open that utility in Windows 11.
    Device Manager windows 11 network driver
  3. Double-click Network adapters to expand the device list for that category.
  4. Then right-click your Internet network adapter there and select the Update driver context menu option for it.
    Update driver option windows 11 network driver
  5. Select the Search automatically for drivers option to initiate a Windows search.
    Search automatically for drivers option windows 11 network driver
  6. If the updater utility detects a better driver, wait for Windows to install it.

2. Use the Windows Update Service

  1. Open the Start menu by clicking its button on the taskbar.
  2. Select the Settings app pinned to the Start menu.
    Pinned Settings app windows 11 network driver
  3. Next, click the Windows Update tab on the left of Settings.
  4. Select Advanced options on the Windows Update tab.
    Advanced options windows 11 network driver
  5. Click Optional updates within Advanced options.
    Optional updates windows 11 network driver
  6. If a network adapter driver listed within the optional updates, select its checkbox.
  7. Then press the Download & install button.
Note icon
To check for new updates, you’ll need to press the Check for updates button in Settings.

3. Manually update your PC’s network adapter driver

  1. Open a web browser in Windows 11.
  2. Next, search for your network adapter’s driver provider website with Google, which will be the manufacturer’s site. For example, Intel provides the drivers for Intel network adapters.
  3. Then open the manufacturer’s website.
  4. Click the link for the driver download section of the website.
  5. Select the network adapter (or wireless) product category.
  6. Then enter the name of your network adapter, as specified within Device Manager, in the website’s device search box.
  7. Click the Download option for your network adapter’s latest driver package listed on the website, which must be compatible with your Windows 11 platform.
    Intel network driver download page windows 11 network driver
  8. Thereafter, select a folder to download the driver package to.
  9. Click the Save button.
  10. When you’ve downloaded the driver package, click File Explorer’s taskbar button.
    The File Explorer button windows 11 network driver
  11. Open the folder you saved the driver package in.
  12. Double-click the driver package’s EXE file to open its installer window.
  13. Then go through the installer window’s instructions to install the network driver.
Note icon
Some driver packages have a CAB format. If you download a driver with a CAB format, you’ll need to extract its ZIP archive first. Then select the Browse my computer for drivers option in Device Manager’s Update Drivers utility to install it.

Third-party driver updater software tools provide another way to update network drivers in Windows 11. The good thing about driver updater utilities is that they scan your PC and list the devices with outdated or faulty drivers.

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Then you can instantly see what devices you need to update drivers for. You can update your PC’s device drivers quickly and easily by selecting the download and install options within a driver updater utility such as DriverFix.

How can I enable (or disable) automatic driver updates in Windows 11?

Windows 11 will automatically download and install some device drivers if configured to do so. You can enable automatic driver downloads with device installation settings. This is how you can do that in Windows 11.

  1. First, click the magnifying glass taskbar button for the search tool.
  2. Next, enter the keyword device installation settings within the search box.
  3. Click Change device installation settings to open that window.
  4. Select the Yes option on the Device installation window if it’s not already selected. Or you can select No if the opposite is true.
    Device installation settings windows 11 network driver
  5. Press the Save changes button to confirm.

Bear in mind that enabling automatic updates doesn’t mean Windows Update will update all device drivers on your PC. However, it will at least update the more essential device drivers.

So, there are numerous ways you can update your computer’s network driver. Choose whatever method you prefer for updating the network adapter and other device drivers.

Connectivity issues will less likely arise on your PC if you keep its network adapter driver up-to-date with the above methods. It’s best to update network drivers to prevent connection issues from arising in the first place instead of waiting for them to happen.

Even more, driver problems occur while playing games such as Minecraft and BattleField. Check out this guide dedicated to solving outdated drivers’ errors on Windows 11.

Have the above procedures worked for you as well? Let us know in the comments area below.

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