How to Fix Windows 10 Ethernet Driver Problems

Get your computer back on the network

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

Ethernet cable & socket
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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 Sometimes driver files become outdated. Other times, drivers become 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 the computer. Most problems relate to glitches with memory allocation, so a reboot flushes the memory and often resolves the error.

  2. Use the Network Troubleshooter. Windows has a built-in network troubleshooter utility. It can help you find and repair the cause of the issue. To run it:

    1. Search for Network Troubleshooter, then select the corresponding result.
    2. Let it run for a moment to see if it discovers the Ethernet problem.
    3. If it does, select Try these repairs as an administrator, then give admin approval if requested.

    If you are unable to find the Network Troubleshooter you can also go to Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot > Additional troubleshooters. Then select from Internet Connections or Network Adapter.

  3. Reinstall Ethernet drivers automatically. If Windows can't fix Ethernet driver problems, give it a gentle nudge. Select Network Adapters to expand it in Device Manager, right-click (or tap and hold) the Ethernet adapter, and 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 that Windows 10 installs don't fix the driver problem, manually update the drivers. Alternatively, you can use a driver updater tool to fix the problem drivers.

  5. Reset the 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.

  • How do I update my ethernet drivers?

    Open Device Manager and find the category you need from the list (this could be under something like "Internet" or "LAN"). Right-click on the list item for your ethernet and select Update Driver from the drop-down menu. If Windows is unable to find a driver update, check the ethernet card manufacturer's website to see if they have a new driver you can manually download.

  • How do I install ethernet drivers without an internet connection?

    Download the necessary drivers using a computer that does have an internet connection, then transfer the driver files to another form of media you can use on the disconnected computer (for example, a USB flash drive). Next, connect the media with the drivers to the disconnected computer and copy them over. Then double-click the driver files that have been copied to your disconnected computer to begin the installation process, and follow the prompts.

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