How to Fix Missing Network Adapters in Windows?

By Puja Chatterjee on May 29, 2023

You may not see the network adapter in the Device Manager at times. This is ideally not a major issue, and it can be fixed with some simple fixes.

However, sometimes the simple fixes may not resolve the issue, for which you will need to follow some other methods.

If you are not aware of them, this is the right place to be. Read this article to learn about the different solutions, the reasons for this event, and the steps to follow to fix the issue.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Why is Your Network Adapter Missing?

One of the most common reasons for the network adapter to be missing from the Device Manager is an old network card driver.

Some other common reasons for a missing network adapter in Windows are:

There may also be issues with the network connections. So, check them first and then move on to the following fixes.

Ways to Fix Missing Network Adapters in Windows

How to Fix Missing Network Adapters in Windows

The first method, and perhaps the easiest fix for network adapters missing in Windows, is to reboot the system and run the network troubleshooter.

This will scan the issues and fix them. You will simply have to apply the fix and restart your system.

If you are using an Ethernet cable, there may be issues with the connection itself. Unplug the cable and plug it back in. Most of the time, this will resolve the issue.

In addition to that, there are also some easy and comparatively complex fixes to this issue, such as:

Simply go through the next section of this article, and you will know about the specific steps to follow for each of the solutions to fix missing network adapters in Windows.

Method 1: Check and Enable the Adapter

Simply re-enabling the network adapter may make it visible in the Device Manager once again.

STEPS TO FIX:

Show hidden devices

Scan for hardware changes

This will automatically scan and re-enable the network adapter to make it visible again. If you still do not find the missing adapter, move on to the next solution.

Method 2: Enable Network Services

Sometimes, specific network services may be disabled. You will have to re-enable it to bring the missing network adapters back.

STEPS TO FIX:

WLAN AutoConfig Properties

Select Automatic WLAN AutoConfig Properties

Repeat the same process for WWAN AutoConfig. This might resolve the issue. If it does not, then try the next solution.

Method 3: Check for Socket API Errors

Most often there may be errors in the Application Programming Interface of the sockets or ports. You will need to find and fix these errors to resolve the issue of missing network adapters in Windows.

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STEPS TO FIX:

netsh winsock reset

When the process is complete, restart your system and check.

If you still cannot see your network adapters, you will need to run an additional command netcfg -d in the Command Prompt as admin again and hit Enter.

It will check and reinstall the WAN Miniports.

netcfg -d

If you still see errors in it, type this command multiple times until the return result informs you that there are no errors and you can restart the system and check for them, as shown in the above image.

Method 4: Perform a System Restore

If the above methods and even resetting the network cannot bring back the missing network adapters, you should try performing a system restore to resolve the issue.

STEPS TO FIX:

rstrui.exe

System Restore

choose a restore point

(If you do not see enough restore points, you can check the small box next to Show more restore points, shown in the image above.)

When the system has completed restoring, restart your PC and check whether or not the missing adapters are back in the Device Manager.

Method 5: Reinstall the Latest Network Driver

Sometimes, if the network driver is not up-to-date, it may prevent the adapters from being displayed in the Device Manager. The obvious fix for this issue is to install the latest driver.

STEPS TO FIX:

Sometimes, even installing updates may not resolve the issue. On the contrary, it may be the reason for the issue in the first place. In that case, you will need to rollback the network driver update in the following way:

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Go to the Drivers tab

Method 6: Add Legacy Hardware

If the above methods fail to restore the network adapters, sometimes adding legacy hardware may fix the issue.

STEPS TO FIX:

Add Legacy Hardware

Welcome to the Add Hardware Wizard

Install the hardware that I manually select from a list

scroll down a little bit to find Modems

In the new window, make sure that the small box next to Don’t detect my modem, I will select it from a list is unchecked.

Don’t detect my modem, I will select it from a list

Finally, click on the Next button on all windows to finish the process. This will set up the network adapter.

You may also do the same for the Network adapters.

Network adapters

However, in this case, you will need to know the manufacturer and model of your network adapter first.

Know the manufacturer and model of your network adapter

Your network adapters will be visible again when you restart the system.

Method 7: Check Power Management Settings

Sometimes, there may be a few issues in the power management that you will need to reset in order to bring back the network adapters in the Device Manager.

STEPS TO FIX:

Uncheck allow the Computer to turn off this device to save power

Conclusion

As you can see, there are quite a few easy fixes to the issue with the network adapter missing in Windows.

Often, even a single simple solution like rebooting the system may resolve the issue, but at times you may need to try multiple fixes.

Well, now that you know about them all, it should not be a problem for you.