How to Fix Issues With USB Wireless Adapters

By Greyson Ferguson

Take your WiFi on the go with a wireless adapter.
i wifi image by cyrano from

If your computer does not come with a built-in wireless adapter, the only way you can access a WiFi network signal is by connecting a USB wireless adapter. The adapter acts exactly like the built-in hardware, except you can remove it at any time. However, you may encounter some minor issues with the adapter. You can correct most of these problems with a few troubleshooting steps.

Remove the USB wireless adapter from the USB port on your computer and reconnect it. Sometimes if you connect the adapter while the computer is off, then power the computer on, the system does not detect the wireless adapter.

Insert the USB adapter into a different USB port. Occasionally USB ports can die out on a computer, or sometimes certain USB ports won't function with a specific device.

Insert the driver installation CD, if one came with the adapter. Although most adapters have built-in drivers on the USB device already, some do require you to install drivers from a CD. When the driver installation wizard loads, follow the brief prompts to complete the installation. Without the driver, the computer may not detect or understand the USB adapter.

Right-click your wireless icon in the lower right corner of your desktop and select "Enable." If your wireless Internet has not been enabled, you can't access the Internet.