Learn all the ways in which you can install or update the WiFi driver to run the WiFi adapter effectively on a Windows 11 PC.
The driver is the key software that passes commands from the operating system to the hardware. This is essential for the efficient operation of all devices connected to the system (mouse, keyboard, disk controller, monitor, network adapter, etc.). With the popularity of WiFi connections in recent years, the need for the best WiFi controller has emerged.
Generally, the pre-installed drivers work well and do not require interference. In addition, when you connect a new device, Windows will download and install the corresponding driver, which makes it easier for you as a user. This is why most people are not familiar with the process of installing or updating drivers.
If you are connecting an external wireless adapter, you need to install the corresponding driver. In addition, if an update is available, it may improve your experience and you will need to update the WiFi driver. Here is how you can do it.
Install from Disc that Came Along with the External Wi-Fi Adapter
Note: Before moving on to the upgrade method, you must first install the driver. Although you can install and update the driver using the method mentioned later in this article, this method will only install it.
Most of the external WiFi adapters you find now come with a CD with the related drivers. Just insert the CD, install the driver, and the wireless adapter is ready to go.
If you must install a third-party application to update the driver, it is recommended that you do not do so. Windows can update the driver after installation and should not depend on third-party applications. They only consume system resources and have no significant benefits.
Install or Update Wifi Driver from Windows Update
You can also use Windows Update to download and install the WiFi driver. The process is actually quite simple, so you should try this first before proceeding to other methods.
Connect the wireless adapter and wait for Windows to find and install the driver. If not, run the steps below to check for one in Windows Update.
Related: WiFi Keeps Disconnecting All The Time? How To Fix It
To install the WiFi driver, right-click the “Start icon” on the taskbar or press WINDOWS + X to launch the quick access menu, and then select “Settings” from the list of options that appears. Or, you can press WINDOWS + I to directly launch the “Settings” application.
In Settings, click on the ‘Windows Update’ tab at the left.
Next, select ‘Advanced options’ on the right.
In the ‘Advanced Options’ window, click on ‘Optional updates’ under ‘Additional options’.
If you see a driver for the Wi-Fi adapter, tick the checkbox for it and then click on ‘Download & install’ under it.
If prompted, restart the PC after installing or updating the driver for the changes to take effect.
Install or Update Wifi Driver from Device Manager
You can also use the “Device Manager” to update the WiFi driver on your Windows 11 PC. This is a built-in utility that allows you to view and modify various hardware connected to the system.
To update the WiFi driver from Device Manager, press WINDOWS + S to launch the “Search” menu, enter “Device Manager” in the text field at the top and click the corresponding search result .
Next, locate the ‘Network adapters’ option and double-click on it to view the various devices under it.
Next, locate the ‘Wi-Fi’ adapter, right-click on it, and select ‘Update driver’ from the context menu.
You will now find the two options listed here, either let Windows search for the best driver available on your system, or manually find and install one. It is recommended that you let Windows take care of the update, so choose the first option.
Note: If you have downloaded the second option “Browse my computer for driver” from the Internet, you can use this option. We have already discussed this option in the next method.
If there’s an update or a better driver available on your system, Windows will install it, and you will be informed of the same.
Download WiFi Driver from the Manufacturer Website
If the wireless adapter does not come with a CD or your system does not have a CD drive, and Windows Update cannot find the CD, you can also download the driver from the manufacturer’s official website or from the Microsoft Update Catalog. Almost all manufacturers upload drivers on their websites for users to install.
If you can access the Internet on the current system, use it to perform the following steps or use another computer with a stable Internet connection. Due to the long process, we divided it into several steps to facilitate your understanding.
It is recommended that you create a restore point before proceeding so that you can restore your system in case things don’t go as planned after installing or updating the driver.
Step 1: Identify the Current Wi-Fi Adapter Name and Driver Version
Note: If you want to update the driver, you first need to identify the adapter name and current driver version. If you install again, you can skip this step.
To identify the adapter name and current driver version, please launch the “Device Manager” as described above, find the “WiFi” adapter under “Network Adapters”, right-click it and select “Properties” in the context menu .
Next, navigate to the ‘Driver’ tab, and you will find the ‘Wi-Fi’ adapter name mentioned at the top and the driver version under it.
Step 2: Download the Driver by
Once you have all the relevant information, you can continue to download the update. To download, you need to do a Google search using three keywords, namely your “laptop model”, “operating system” and “adapter name”.
In Google search results, search for the manufacturer’s official website, use the current version of the driver that you previously determined to check for an available update, and download if there is.
Step 3: Install the Driver
After downloading the driver, the last step is to install it. There are mainly two types of driver files, you will find “.exe” and “.cab”. Here’s how you can install each one.
Note: If you plan to install the driver on the same PC, follow the steps as is. However, if you want to install the driver on another PC, please copy the downloaded driver file to the USB controller, transfer the file to the system you want to install, and then follow the steps.
Installing ‘.exe’ Driver File
If the downloaded file is in the` .exe` format, simply double-click it to launch the installer. If the UAC box appears, click “Yes.”
Once the installer, launches, follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation process.
After the installation is complete, restart the PC for the changes to come into effect.
Installing ‘.cab’ Driver Files
For `.cab` files, you need to extract them first. You can open the “.cab” file and copy the components to a different folder or use the “7zip” application to unzip it.
After decompressing the file, launch the “Device Manager” mentioned above, find the “WiFi” adapter, right-click it and select “Update Driver” from the context menu.
Now, select the ‘Browse my computer for drivers’ option.
Next, click on ‘Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer’.
You will now have a list of the compatible drivers listed. If you don’t find the one you just downloaded, click on ‘Have Disk’.
Now, click on ‘Browse’ at the bottom to navigate and select the downloaded file.
Next, locate the folder you extracted the ‘.cab’ files to, select the ‘.inf’ file, and click on ‘Open’ at the bottom.
Next, click on ‘OK’.
The selected driver will now be listed, click on ‘Next’ to proceed.
Wait a moment, the installation is complete, and when complete, the screen will display “Windows has successfully updated its driver.” Close the driver update window and device manager, and then reboot the system.
If you find any other type of driver file, the process will be similar, and once you understand both, you can easily install it.
After updating the driver, there will likely be a more refined and refined experience. However, if the driver update causes instability, you can roll back the driver update at any time.
Related: 4 Best WiFi Boosters to Expand Your Wireless Network