A wireless network adapter allows a computer to connect to the Internet without USB or Ethernet cables. Usually, a desktop computer with wireless network adapter has a component with a small antenna. Laptop computers have either an internal network adapter or a port to add an external adapter. You can physically see if you have an external wireless network adapter. You may have to consult a laptop's Control Panel to determine whether it has an internal network adapter.
Click on the "Start" menu. Open your computer's "Control Panel." In Windows XP, select the "System" tab, click on the "Hardware" and then select the "Device Manager" button. Click on the "Device Manager" icon In Windows Vista.
Scan through the component list. Find "Network Adapters." Click on the "+" symbol to open the option. You will see a list of networking components.
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Locate "Net Adapter" or "Network Adapter." The Windows operating system usually has the network drivers installed. If there is a problem with the wireless network device, a yellow mark will appear next to the component in the "Device Manager." Under the "Net Adapter" tab, there is a list of all Internet ports. These include the wireless adapter and Ethernet port.
Close the "Device Manager" and "Control Panel" when you finish. You may make changes regarding installing drivers while you are in the "Device Manager." A reboot of the PC is required if you change the settings.