How to Fix Windows 10 Ethernet Driver Problems

Get your computer back on the network

Ethernet cables

Volker Pape / Getty Images

Wireless internet has its benefits, but nothing quite matches the speed and reliability of a solid, wired Ethernet connection. Ethernet isn't immune to problems, however, so when you run into difficulties with the network adapter driver in Windows 10, try some standard quick-fix solutions to resolve networking errors.

What Causes Ethernet Driver Problems?

Ethernet driver errors are not too distinct from driver problems related to other facets of a system. Sometimes driver files become outdated, sometimes they corrupt because of an operating-system glitch, and in some cases, failing hardware breaks drivers.

How to Fix Problems With Windows 10 Network Drivers

Start with the easiest and most common solutions until you find an approach that works:

  1. Restart your computer. Most problems relate to glitches with memory allocation, so a reboot flushes memory and often resolves the error.

  2. Use the Network Troubleshooter.

    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 problems itself, give it a gentle nudge. In Device Manager, select Network Adapters to expand it, right-click (or tap and hold) your Ethernet adapter, 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 problem, try manually updating them.

  5. Reset network adapter. Even with driver problems, the Windows network adapter sometimes generates additional mischief on its own.

  6. Reset the Winsock. Open an elevated Command Prompt, then perform a Netsh Winsock Reset.