How to Install an Ethernet Driver

By Gregory Hamel

A computer driver is a software component that goes along with a certain hardware device, which tells the operating system how to use the device. Ethernet cards often require a driver to be installed before they will work properly. Most new hardware devices come with a driver installation CD, which has a driver install file, but sometimes you may need to find and install a driver manually.

Step 1

Click "Start," "Control Panel," "Hardware and Sound" then "Device Manager" in Windows 7. Locate the field called "Network Adapters," and click on it to expand a list of network devices. Right-click the Ethernet device listed and select "Properties." The device type and manufacturer should be listed under the General tab.

Step 2

Use the information about your Ethernet card to search for drivers at the website of your Ethernet card's manufacturer. Hardware manufacturers usually host downloads of drivers for their products. If you cannot find drivers, check your computer manufacturer's website.

Step 3

Download the driver that is designed for use with your Ethernet card type and operating system.

Step 4

Double-click the setup.exe or install.exe driver file to begin the driver installation process.

Step 5

Restart your computer after the driver has been fully installed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some manufacturer's may provide drivers as INF files. Install these if the official instructions say to, otherwise use a Setup.exe file.
  • Newer drivers can help a device run more efficiently, so check for driver updates periodically.
  • If a driver does not function properly, it can cause a system to crash. If this occurs, find and install a different driver or a different version of the same driver.