Networking, Wireless, Updating card drivers on Windows

Wireless Troubleshooting: Updating Windows Drivers

Updating Wireless Card Drivers on Windows

There are three ways to update a wireless card driver for a Windows computer. The first step in each case is to determine your wireless card's name, manufacturer, model number and vendor. In some cases, you may also need to know your service tag number (Dell), your product number (HP) and / or your hardware ID (Broadcom).

1. Identify your wireless card

Determine your wireless card's name, manufacturer, model number, vendor, service tag number or product number and / or hardware ID.

NOTE: You can also access the Device Manager by opening the Start Menu, clicking Control Panel, and clicking Device Manager.

With this information in hand, you are ready to search for a wireless card update.

  1. On your desktop, right-click Computer and select Manage.
  2. In the Computer Management window that opens, click Device Manager.
  3. Click the triangle next to Network Adaptors to reveal a list of installed adapters.
  4. Look for the child item whose name includes the terms "WLAN" or "Wireless". Jot down this child item's information. It is your wireless card's name and model number.
  5. Double-click or right-click on the child item and select Properties from the drop-down menu. Next to "Manufacturer:" is the name of your card's manufacturer.
  6. If you own a Dell, HP or Lenovo, it can be much easier to find the downloads page specific to your model if you know your Dell service tag number (external link) or your HP product number (external link) or your Lenovo product number (external link). Get this information and return to this page.
  7. Some manufacturers (Broadcom for instance) will require you to have your wireless card's hardware ID. To get this information, click the Details tab, open the Properties window, and select Hardware ID. The window may display many ID numbers. They will all share an 8-digit segment that begins DEV_. These 8 digits are the hardware ID required by Broadcom.


    NOTE: If you click the Driver tab in your wireless card's Properties window you'll see a Update Driver option. For technical reasons, this is the last way you should attempt to update your driver. You should try the card's vendor and the computer's vendor first, as described below.

2. Try to obtain an update from your wireless card's chipset vendor.

Your wireless card's latest updates will be available from its original vendor before anyone else. Always try these steps first.

  1. Find your chipset vendor's official website online. A few popular vendors:
  2. If none of these are your vendor, perform a web search using your vendor's name and "wireless card driver update" (or something similar). A simple search can sometimes lead you to a vendor's downloads page more quickly than attempting to browse through their entire website.
  3. Once you are on your vendor's download page, select your update according to its name and model number (and/or its hardware ID).


    NOTE: Be sure your new wireless card driver has not changed Windows' default wireless supplicant (external link). Technology Services does not recommend using any supplicant other than the Windows default. Be sure you check your wireless supplicant settings.

  4. Reboot your computer after installing your new driver and checking your supplicants settings.

Couldn't find a driver from your chipset vendor? Try the manufacturer in section 3 below.

If you couldn't find your chipset vendor, continue to section 3 below to look for a driver from your device's manufacturer.

Found a new driver, but the problem's still not solved? Try your wireless power settings.

If you updated your driver with the chipset vendor's latest, but are still having difficulties, you may want to adjust your wireless card's power settings next.

3. Try to download an update from your computer's manufacturer's website.

If your wireless card was factory-installed, your computer's manufacturer may wish to test and / or modify its vendor's updates before they release them on their website. This lag-time means the manufacturer's website is generally the second-best option for obtaining the latest driver updates.

  1. Locate your wireless update on your computer's manufacturer's website. A few popular manufacturers are:
  2. Find drivers and / or downloads on their technical support page. From there you should be able to select your computer from a list of models and select the driver that bears your card's name, manufacturer, and model number.


    If you do not find your driver this way, you can also find it by entering your wireless card's name, manufacturer, and model number in the website's search window. Be sure, however, that the driver you select is the one that's applicable to your computer and operating system.

  3. Download and install the driver according to the manufacturer's instructions.


    NOTE: Be sure your new wireless card driver has not changed Windows' default wireless supplicant (external link). Tech Services does not recommend using any supplicant other than the Windows default.

Couldn't find a driver from your manufacturer? Try the Windows driver update below.

If you couldn't find a driver update from either your chipset vendor or your manufacturer, continue to section 3 below.

Found a new driver, but the problem's still not solved? Try your wireless power settings.

If you updated your driver with the manufacturer's latest, but are still having difficulties, you may want to adjust your wireless card's power settings next.

4. Try the "Update Driver" button or "Windows Updates."

As stated above, if your wireless card was factory-installed, your computer's manufacturer may wish to test and / or modify its vendor's updates before they release them. Additionally, even if your card was not factory-installed, there will always be lag-time before Windows Updates adds a new driver to its lists. For these reasons, you should only use Windows Updates when the other two methods have failed. To do this:

NOTE: You can also access the Device Manager by opening the Start Menu, clicking Control Panel, and clicking Device Manager.

  1. On your desktop, right-click Computer and select Manage.
  2. In the Computer Management window that opens, click Device Manager.
  3. Expand Network Adaptors and right-click your wireless card's name.
  4. From the drop-down menu, select Update Driver Software. A dialogue box will open. Follow its instructions.
  5. It may take Windows several minutes to locate and download your software. Be patient.
  6. If a driver is found, follow the Wizard's instructions for installation.

 

If, after you reboot the machine, you continue to experience problems with IllinoisNet, you can also:




Keywords:wireless, driver updates   Doc ID:54793
Owner:wireless w.Group:University of Illinois Technology Services
Created:2015-08-06 14:33 CDTUpdated:2017-03-10 12:56 CDT
Sites:University of Illinois Technology Services
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