How To Fix Wireless Adapter Missing In Windows 10

You might find yourself in trouble when the WiFi stopped working and the wifi adapter is missing on your Windows 10 PC. You are trying to fix the WiFi issue and you don’t find Wireless Adapter in the device manager.

Without a Wireless Adapter, you won’t find any WiFi signal on your computer and can’t connect to any wireless network. So it becomes important to fix the missing Wireless adapter in your Windows 10 PC.

In this article, you will find some simple and easy ways by which you can re-install the wireless adapter back.

Fix Wireless Adapter Missing in Windows 10 / 11

There may be different reasons why you can’t find the wireless driver in the device manager. These are some common causes behind driver failure-

  1. Accidentally uninstalled the driver from the control panel.
  2. Failed Windows updates.
  3. Failed driver update.
  4. Third-party firewall.
  5. Conflicting Apps.
  6. Different type of malware.

Or it could be an unknown reason, here are some methods you should try.

1. Check the Device Manager 

The very first thing to do is to check if the Wireless Adapter is hidden or not. You can do that easily:

1. Go to the Windows Search Bar, type “Device Manager” and hit enter. 

2. Double-click on the ‘Network adapters’ to expand it.

3. Now check if you can locate the Wireless adapter, it may be Broadcom, Atheros, Realtek, or any other.

4. If the WiFi adapter isn’t listed there, it might be hidden. 

wireless adapter missing

You can show the hidden adapters. Select ‘Network adapters

5. Click on the ‘View’ tab from the top menu. 

6. Now click on ‘Show hidden devices

show hidden devices

You might see your network adapter listed. 

In case it is disabled for some reason, you can re-enable it. Here is how:

Step 1: Select your ‘Network adapters’. 

Step 2: Click on the ‘Action’ tab. 

Step 3: Now click on ‘Scan for hardware changes

scan for hardware changes

That’s it and now your WiFi adapter will be re-enabled. If it was uninstalled, this method will reinstall it and the wireless adapter missing issue will be fixed for you. 

2. Take Help Of Network Troubleshooter to get WiFi adapter back

Windows inbuilt network troubleshooter can help you to find the reason behind this issue, if it can find the problem you will see the recommended solutions.

Step 1: Go to the Windows search bar, type “Settings” and hit enter. 

Step 2: Open the ‘Network & internet’ option.

Step 3: Click on the ‘Troubleshoot’ button. 

troubleshoot network when wireless adapter is missing

If it is not present there, navigate down and you will find the option to troubleshoot network-related issues. 

Step 4: Run the troubleshooter. 

Now the troubleshooter will look for any potential problems. If it finds anything, you will get the option to fix it. You can apply the fix and the issue will be solved for you. That way you can get the WiFi adapter back. 

3. Enable Network Services

There are multiple Windows services that need to be running in order to operate WiFi on your PC. If any of these services are stopped then you need to enable them manually.

Step 1: Go to the Windows search bar, type “Services” and hit enter. You will see a list of Windows services.

Step 2: Navigate down, locate and select the ‘WLAN AutoConfig’ service. 

Step 3: Right-click on it and click on ‘Properties’. 

WLAN Autoconfig service

Step 4: Make sure that the ‘Startup type’ is “Automatic”. If it is set to Manual then change it to Automatic. Now click on “Apply”.

WLAN Autoconfig Automatic

Step 5: If the service isn’t running, click on ‘Start’ to run the service. 

Step 6: Apply the changes and click on OK.

Step 7: Repeat all of the above steps for the ‘WWAN AutoConfig’ service.

That’s it and now you can restart your Windows and wireless adapter missing issue should be fixed. If not move on to the next method. 

4. Fixing The Network Sockets & Ports

The network ports and socket could have a bad configuration. You can reset it to fix any possible socket API errors.

Step 1: Go to the Windows Search Bar, type “cmd”, and right-click to ‘Run as administrator’. 

Step 2: Type the following command and hit enter:

netsh winsock reset
netsh winsock reset

If there are any socket API errors, this command will resolve them. Just restart your computer and check if it is working or not. If it is still missing, follow the next steps:

Step 1: Go to the Windows Search Bar, type “cmd”, right-click to ‘Run as administrator’. 

Step 2: Type the following command and hit enter:

netcfg -d 
netcfg -d to fix wireless adapter missing issue

You should see a message reading “Successfully removed all MUX objects”. 

The above command will uninstall all the network adapters, you should see the “Removing device..” message, if not execute the command again.

Now restart your computer. After the restart Windows will re-install the network adapters from the versions stored in the system.

5. Perform Network Reset to Fix Missing Wireless Adapter

Although the above method should fix the underlying issue. In case, if the above methods didn’t work for you, it is better to perform a network reset. 

Step 1: Go to the Windows search bar, type “Settings” and hit enter. 

Step 2: Open ‘Network & internet’. 

network and internet windows 10

Step 3: Navigate down and click on ‘Network reset’. 

windows 10 neetwork reset

Step 4: Now click on ‘Reset now’. 

network reset now

Step 5: A confirmation pop-up window will appear, click on ‘Yes’ to confirm.

Let the process complete, restart your computer and this will fix the wifi issue for you. 

6. System Restore to Get back WiFi Adapter

By performing a system restore, you can restore the Windows to an earlier date. If there is any restore point when your WiFi was working as usual then you can restore Windows to that date, this will revert the system changes made after that date.

Step 1: Press the ‘Windows+R’ keys together to open the Run box.

Step 2: Type “rstrui.exe” and hit enter. 

system restore

Step 3: The System Restore wizard will now open, click on Next.

Step 4: Select a restore point when your network adapter was working fine. Click on Next

Complete the process and this will restore your system when the WiFi adapter was working fine. Just restart your computer and this issue should be gone. 

7. Download and Install Drivers 

If this issue is caused by a driver malfunction then you will have to reinstall the drivers. For this, you need access to another computer which has internet access. Once, you have a computer with internet access, follow these steps:

Step 1: Open the browser. 

Step 2: Now simply search for your computer’s drivers. 

Just enter the name of your computer manufacturer followed by “drivers” and hit enter. 

Step 3: This works differently for different manufacturers, some ask the serial numbers, some ask for model and series. 

The main goal here is to download the latest wireless drivers for your Windows 10 PC. 

download wireless adapter driver

Here are the websites from where you can download the drivers for major computer manufacturers:

AsusDownload Drivers
HPDownload Drivers
DellDownload Drivers
AcerDownload Drivers
LenovoDownload Drivers
MSIDownload Drivers

Step 4: Once you have downloaded the latest wireless drivers for your computer, simply transfer it to the affected computer, install them and restart your computer.

That’s It!

Closing Phrase 

The wireless adapter may go missing due to failed updates or any other reasons, you can simply re-enable it to get it working. All of the above methods are tried and tested. Apply these methods one by one and it should fix the issue now you will get the WiFi adapter back.

Also, Read:

WiFi Adapter Missing in Windows 10 /11 FAQs

How do I get my wireless adapter back on Windows 10?

First, you need to find if the WiFi adapter is hidden, if yes you can scan for hardware changes. Otherwise, proceed with network reset, check wifi services, fix socket API error, reinstall the wifi driver, or lastly, you can do the system restore. Follow all the methods given above.

Why has my network adapter disappeared?

There could be multiple reasons why your network adapter disappeared as –
1. Windows updates
2. Malware
3. Conflict between drivers
4. Failed driver updates
5. Accidentally uninstalled the wifi adapter
6. Improper shutdown.

How do I reinstall missing network adapter?

Follow the given methods and if those don’t work then try to download the wifi driver on a working computer, now transfer the driver to the affected PC and install the driver. Now you need to restart the PC. Also, check the network-related Windows services and make sure they are enabled.

What to do if the wifi adapter is not showing at all?

Power Flush – It is a process to discharge all the capacitors of your motherboard. To perform the power flush follow the below process-
1. If you have a desktop PC – Shutdown the PC and disconnect all the power, and remove the power cable from the wall outlet.
Now, press and hold the power button for 30 seconds to drain the static power from the PC. After that connect the power cable and start the PC.

2. If you have a laptop then shut down it and remove the battery, now press and hold the power key for 30 seconds. After that put the battery and start the laptop.
3. If the laptop has a non-removable battery then shut down and press and hold the power key for 30 seconds and then start it again. If that doesn’t work then discharge your laptop completely and then do the power flush.

Power flush should help you to get back the missing wifi adapter.

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