Find Wireless Network Adapters in Windows XP Notebooks

See if your Windows XP notebook has a built-in adapter

Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP, having released its last update in April 2008. Please consult our guide to network computer adapters for information relevant to modern operating systems and computers.

Newer notebook computers ship with Wi-Fi wireless network adapters. Verifying the existence of these built-in adapters can be difficult because they're not visible from the computer's exterior. Here's how to find wireless notebook adapters in Windows XP.

  1. Open the Start menu and right-click My Computer.

    My Computer icon in Start Menu
  2. Select Properties.

  3. In the System Properties dialog box, select Hardware.

    Hardware tab in System Properties window
  4. Select Device Manager to open the Device Manager window showing a list of hardware components installed on the computer.

    Screenshot of the Windows XP Device Manager
  5. In the Device Manager window, select the + to the left of the Network Adapters icon to display a list of network adapters installed on the computer. To find a wireless network adapter, look for any item that contains these words:

    • Wireless
    • WLAN
    • Wi-Fi
    • 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n
    Network Adapters
  6. If an adapter does not appear in the list, repeat the previous steps using the PCMCIA adapters list item in Device Manager. Although generally not installed by the manufacturer, some PCMCIA adapters are also wireless network cards.

If a network adapter is disabled or malfunctioning, it may not appear on the Windows list even though it is installed. Consult the computer manufacturer's documentation if you suspect this situation.