How to Fix Windows 10 Ethernet Driver Issues

Get your computer back on the network

Ethernet cables

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Wireless internet has its benefits, but nothing quite matches the speed and reliability of a solid, wired Ethernet connection. That doesn't mean it's immune to problems, so when you run into difficulties with the network adapter driver in Windows 10, you need to know how to fix them.

What Causes Ethernet Driver Issues?

Ethernet driver issues are not too distinct from driver issues related to other facets of a system. Sometimes they're outdated, sometimes they become corrupted due to a problem with the operating system, and in some cases, failing hardware can lead to broken drivers.

There may be an underlying cause that needs to be fixed once your driver issues are sorted, but the most important point is to get back online so you can easily find (and download) any other fixes you might need.

How to Fix Problems With Windows 10 Network Drivers

There are a number of ways you can fix problems with your Ethernet connection and most of them relate to the drivers themselves. There are a few other fixes worth considering though. Here are our favorite fixes, starting with the easiest and most common way to sort the issue.

  1. Restart your PC. It might sound trite, or obvious, but there few fixes a quick system restart won't fix.

  2. Use the Network Troubleshooter. Windows has its own built in tool for helping you to fix Ethernet driver issues. While it has the power to find and fix a number of networking problems, Ethernet driver problems are part of that. To run it:

    1. Search for "Network Troubleshooter" and select the corresponding result.
    2. Let it run for a moment to see if it discovers your Ethernet problem.
    3. If it does, select Try these repairs as an administrator and give admin approval, if requested.
  3. Reinstall Ethernet drivers automatically. If Windows can't fix Ethernet driver issues itself, you can give it a push to do it. In Device Manager, select Network Adapters to expand it, right-click (or tap and hold) your Ethernet adaptor, then select Uninstall Device > Uninstall. Then reboot Windows.

    If you're not sure which is your Ethernet adaptor, it will probably have the company name of "Realtek" or "Intel" in its name, or "GBE."

  4. Reinstall Ethernet drivers manually. If the drivers Windows 10 installs for you don't fix your driver issue, try manually updating them.

    Some motherboard or system builders make self-installing drivers. If this true for you, you're in luck! The process is far easier. Once downloaded and extracted from their Zip or RAR archive (if required) simply open the file and follow the on-screen instructions to update the driver to the latest version.

  5. Reset network adaptor. It may be that even with driver problems the Windows network adaptor is causing the bulk of your problems. Resetting it can help fix the issue.

  6. Reset the Winsock. Another potential fix for your niggling driver issue is to use a couple of handy Command Prompt commands. To use them, open an elevated Command Prompt, then perform a Netsh Winsock Reset.