How to Reset Wi-Fi Adapter

You can reset a single Wi-Fi adapter or all of them

What to Know

  • Disable/enable Wi-Fi Adapter: Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Change adapter options. Click Disable. After 60 seconds, click Enable.
  • Reset all Wi-Fi network adapters: Go to Settings > Network & Internet and choose Network reset > Reset Now.
  • After either option, you may need to reconnect to your network and re-enter the network password.

Whenever you lose access to the internet or your own home network, one good troubleshooting step to try is to reset your Wi-Fi adapter. This article explains the how and why of doing it.

Why Does a Wi-Fi Adapter Need to Be Reset?

Most people who connect to the same Wi-Fi network, where very few network changes occur, will rarely need to perform a Wi-Fi adapter reset.

However, some issues can cause conflicts or errors with your Wi-Fi adapter. Resetting the adapter can clear up these issues. These include:

  • Router settings have changed, such as the network security type or password.
  • Your current computer's IP configuration has changed and doesn't match what the router (your network gateway) expects.
  • Corrupted or out-of-date Wi-Fi adapter driver files.
  • You've connected to many different Wi-Fi networks, and some of the adapter settings conflict with other Wi-Fi connections.

Resetting the Wi-Fi adapter clears remembered networks and reinitiates the adapter by reloading the driver. Settings are also set to default. Any of these things can resolve one or more of the issues listed above.

Since a Wi-Fi adapter reset clears configuration settings, it's important to remember that it will also delete all saved network information. It will delete any networks you've used, so it's vital to record the network name and password for your network so that you'll be able to reconnect after the reset.

Reset Your Wi-Fi Adapter by Disabling It

A less drastic method to reset your Wi-Fi adapter is disabling and then re-enabling it. Doing this clears cached data from your connections with other Wi-Fi networks. Once you re-enable, it will establish a new connection with your Wi-Fi network and resolve connection issues.

  1. Select the Start menu, type "settings," and select the Settings app.

  2. In the Settings window, select Network & Internet.

    Windows Settings with Network & Internet highlighted
  3. Ensure Status is selected from the left navigation menu. On the right pane, select Change adapter options.

    Network Settings adapter status with "Status" and "Change adapter options" highlighted
  4. Right-click the adapter you want to reset. If it's the one you're currently using to connect, you'll see a green network icon on the adapter. Select Disable from the dropdown menu.

    Wi-Fi adapter options with Disable highlighted
  5. You'll see the green network status turn gray. Count to 60, so the adapter has enough time to disable all connections altogether.

  6. When you're ready, right-click the Wi-Fi adapter again and select Enable. It may take a few seconds for the adapter to restart. When it restarts, you'll see the network icon turn green again.

    Wi-Fi adapter options with Enable highlighted
  7. The Wi-Fi adapter doesn't always reconnect to your home wireless network after you've re-enabled it. To check this, select the network icon at the lower right of the taskbar. If the status of your home Wi-Fi network doesn't say "Connected," select the Connect automatically checkbox and then select Connect.

    Network settings with "connect automatically" and "Connect" highlighted

How to Reset Your Wi-Fi Adapters

If you're experiencing any issues with your connection to your wireless network, follow the steps below to reset all Wi-Fi adapters on your computer and hopefully resolve those problems.

  1. Select the Start menu, type "settings," and select the Settings app.

  2. In the Settings window, select Network & Internet.

    Windows Settings with Network & Internet highlighted
  3. On the next window, make sure Status is selected from the left navigation menu. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select the Network reset link.

    Network Settings adapter status with "Status" and "Network Reset" highlighted
  4. Read the notice on the next window about what it means to perform a Wi-Fi reset. If you're OK with this, select Reset now.

    Network reset explanation page with "Reset Now" highlighted
  5. You will see a pop-up confirmation window asking if you're sure you want to perform the reset. Select Yes to continue. You'll see a countdown as the computer resets all network adapters. Once the countdown is complete, your computer will automatically restart.

    Network reset confirmation box with Yes highlighted
  6. Once the computer reboots, all your network adapters will reload their driver software. If you want to connect to your home network, you'll need to choose from an available network, select Connect, and enter the network password to connect.

    Available network with Connect highlighted
  • Why do I have to keep resetting my Wi-Fi adapter?

    You may need to update the drivers for your Wi-Fi adapter. If you have a weak signal, move closer to your router and remove any physical barriers between the devices.

  • How do I enable the Wi-Fi adapter on my PC?

    Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Change Adapter Settings, select your Wi-Fi adapter, then select Enable this network device. Repeat these steps and select Disable to turn off your Wi-Fi adapter.

  • Why isn't my Wi-Fi network showing up?

    You could be too far away from the router, or there could be interference with the signal. Move your device closer, then try rebooting the router and modem. If you have a hidden network, the network must be added manually in your Network and Internet Settings.

  • Why can't I connect to my Wi-Fi network?

    If you can't connect to Wi-Fi, make sure Wi-Fi is enabled and double-check the network password. You may also need to update your operating system and devices drivers. Run Windows Troubleshooter if you're still having trouble.

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