Why is my USB Wi-Fi adapter not showing up?

What should I do if my USB Wi-Fi adapter isn’t being recognized by my computer?

The USB Wi-Fi adapter seems to be the best option for you if you need Wi-Fi but don’t want to use cables.

But a lot of people have had trouble with those, especially the ones that aren’t branded. In particular, it looks like Windows 10 can’t find some of them.

For this reason, we came up with a list of possible ways to fix this and get Windows 10 to recognize your Wi-Fi adapter.

Install proper drivers

  1. Right-click on Start and go to Device Manager.
  2. Move your cursor to Network adapters.
  3. Open the Properties menu by right-clicking on the USB Wi-Fi adapter.
  4. Pick the tab with the details.
  5. Choose Hardware Id.
  6. Copy and paste the first line into your browser.
  7. Find the official drivers in the list of outcomes. Get them and put them in. Make sure to only download official drivers from trusted sources and install them.
  8. Startup your computer and see what happens.

Most USB Wi-Fi adapters sold today come with a support disk that has drivers that work with Windows 10.
It’s not clear if the drivers that are automatically installed will be enough, so it’s very important to install the drivers that the OEM gives you.

Check Power settings

  1. Right-click on the icon that looks like a battery and go to Power Options.
  2. Choose the plan you want and then click on Change plan settings.
  3. Choose the option that says Change advanced power settings.
  4. Go to USB selective suspend settings by expanding USB settings.
  5. Turn this off for both the On battery and the Plugged In options.
  6. Save changes and turn your computer back on.

Most of the power your PC uses goes to the USB ports and other devices you’ve plugged in.

Windows has some hidden power settings that tend to turn off USB to save battery life and cut down on the amount of power used.

Uncheck the box that says “Turn off this device to save power.”

  1. Right-click the Start button and go to Device Manager.
  2. Go to Universal Serial Bus controllers and make the section bigger.
  3. Open the Properties menu for each USB root hub by right-clicking on it.
  4. Click on the tab that says Power management.
  5. Uncheck the box that says “Let the computer turn off this device to save power” and click “OK” to save the changes.
  6. You’ll need to do this separately for each USB hub.
  7. Reboot your computer.


Why is my USB Wi-Fi adapter not showing up?

Try a different USB port or PCI slot on the computer. Check compatibility of the adapter and your USB ports. Some ports and hardware may not be backward compatible with each other (ie: if port is USB 2.0 or 3.0). Try another device.

How do I update my PC USB Wi-Fi adapter?

In the search box on the taskbar, type Device Manager, and then select Device Manager from the list of results. Expand Network adapters, and locate the network adapter for your device. Select the network adapter, select Update driver > Search automatically for updated driver software, and then follow the instructions.

Why is my Wi-Fi Adaptor disabled?

Usually the problem is that your WiFi adapter connection is shown as Disabled in your Windows computer. This is literally because your WiFi network card has been disabled, and the reasons that cause it disabled is various, such as your wireless network card faulty, or your WiFi adapter driver corruption.

How do I reset my USB WiFi adapter?

What to Know

  1. Disable/enable Wi-Fi Adapter: Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Change adapter options.
  2. Reset all Wi-Fi network adapters: Go to Settings > Network & Internet and choose Network reset > Reset Now.
  3. After either option, you may need to reconnect to your network and re-enter the network password.

Do Wi-Fi adapters need updates?

The manufacturer of the wireless network adapter may occasionally release updates for the adapter. The updates typically are designed to fix security issues, compatibility problems and add features. Updating the wireless network adapter helps to avoid problems with the computer’s wireless capability.

Why my laptop is not connecting to Wi-Fi?

Restart your router

Disconnect all the cables from your router, then unplug it. Removing the cables can help clear out any static in the lines, which can impact your connection. Wait at least 30 seconds, then plug it back in. Once your router is on again, wait at least two minutes before trying to connect to Wi-Fi.

How do I install a WiFi adapter driver?

Insert the adapter onto your computer.

  1. Right click Computer, and then click Manage.
  2. Open Device Manager.
  3. Click Browse my computer for driver software.
  4. Click Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer.
  5. Click Have Disk.
  6. Click Browse.
  7. Point to the inf file in the driver folder, and then click Open.

How do I enable my wifi adapter?

What to Know

  1. Open Settings: Network & Internet > Change Adapter Settings, select your Wi-Fi adapter > click Enable this network device.
  2. You can also right-click the Windows 10 Wi-Fi adapter name and select Enable.
  3. Repeat these steps and select Disable this network device or Disable to turn off your Wi-Fi adapter.

Andy Avery

I really enjoy helping people with their tech problems to make life easier, ​and that’s what I’ve been doing professionally for the past decade.

Recent Posts