How to Troubleshoot My Ethernet Controller Not Working

By Lita McLeary

An Ethernet controller is a device that communicates with the computer and facilitates all network activities. When this device malfunctions or its components are corrupted for some reason, you may not be able to connect to the Internet or establish connection with other computers. Here’s how to troubleshoot errors related to your Ethernet controller.

Things You'll Need

  • Ethernet controller device driver/software disc

Step 1

Load the “Device Manager” by clicking on “Start,” and then “Control Panel.” Select “System,” and then “Device Manager” under the “Hardware” tab. Alternatively, you can click “Start,” and then type “devmgmt.msc” in the “Run” command to open the Device Manager window.

Step 2

Wait for the Device Manager windows to load. Click on the plus sign beside “Ethernet Controller” to expand the menu. Right click on the name of your device and click “Update Driver…” When the “Update Driver Wizard appears,” follow the on-screen instructions to finish the updating process.

Step 3

Right click on the name of the Ethernet controller in the “Device Manager” window and select “Uninstall” to uninstall the current driver installed. If you see a yellow exclamation point or question mark beside “Ethernet Controller,” either the device driver installed is not compatible with the device, or the driver is already corrupted.

Step 4

Insert the software disc of your Ethernet controller into the CD/DVD-ROM of your computer, wait for installation to finish and then reboot the computer. If you do not have the software disc of your Ethernet controller, find out the brand, model and version of the device by navigating back to the Device Manager window and right clicking on the name of the device. Select “Properties,” and then click on the “Details” tab. Write down the device information.

Step 5

Open a web browser and navigate to a download website such as, and Search for the driver you need and download it from the website. Save and install the driver file to your computer.

Step 6

Check if the network error is caused by problems with other network devices. Ensure that the Ethernet cables are attached properly and that the modem is turned on. Also check if there is an Internet service outage in your area by calling your Internet service provider.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the steps above do not solve anything, your Ethernet controller may be malfunctioning and needs to be replaced.
  • Note that typing “devmgmt.msc” in the “Run” command to open the Device Manager window does not work in Windows XP Home Edition.