How To Fix Windows 10 Not Recognizing USB Wi-Fi Adapter Issue

Windows 10 is a popular operating system that’s being used by majority of the computers running today. It was first released in 2015 and since then has had several updates to make it even better. Although this is a solid performing operating system there are instances when certain issues can occur. In this latest installment of our troubleshooting series we will tackle the Windows 10 not recognizing USB Wi-Fi adapter issue.

Fix Windows 10 Not Recognizing USB Wi-Fi Adapter

Before performing the recommended troubleshooting steps for this particular problem I suggest that you try restarting your computer first. This will refresh the operating system as well as remove corrupt temporary data and is quite effective in fixing most software related issues.

There are several factors that can cause this particular problem ranging from an outdated driver to a USB port issue. Listed below are the recommended troubleshooting steps you need to do to fix this.

Update the USB adapter driver

The first thing you will need to do in this case is to make sure that you have the necessary drivers installed to use the Wi-Fi driver.

  • Connect the USB Wi-Fi adapter to a USB port on your computer.
  • Right-click the Start button and open Device Manager.
  • Navigate to Network adapters.
  • Right-click on your external USB WI-Fi adapter and Update driver.

Once the update is completed restart your computer then check if Windows 10 can recognize the USB Wi-Fi adapter.

Try connecting the Wi-Fi adapter to a different USB port

Sometimes the problem can be caused by an issue with the USB port of your computer. To eliminate this possibility try connecting the USB Wi-Fi adapter to a different USB port. If you connected the device to a USB 2.0 pot then try connecting it to a USB 3.0 port and vice versa. Check if this fixes the problem.

Change the power settings

Windows 10 has an effective power saving feature that allows it to turn off unnecessary services. Sometimes though, this feature can interfere with how USB connected devices work. Try to disable this feature to check if this is what’s causing the problem.

  • Right-click on the Battery icon in the Notification area and open Power Options.
  • Select your preferred plan and click on Change plan settings
  • Click on the “Change advanced power settings” option
  • Expand USB settings > USB selective suspend settings.
  • Disable this option for both “On battery” and ”Plugged In” alternatives.
  • Save changes and restart your computer.

Check if the Windows 10 not recognizing USB Wi-Fi adapter issue still occurs.

Install the correct drivers

If you have the generic drivers for the USB Wi-Fi adapter installed then you should try using the manufacturer drivers.

  • In the Windows Search bar, type Device and open Device Manager
  • Navigate to Network adapters.
  • Right-click on USB Wi-Fi adapter and open Properties.
  • Choose the Details tab.
  • From the drop-down list, select Hardware Ids.
  • Copy the first line and paste it into your browser
  • Locate the official drivers in results. Download and install them. Make sure to download and install only official drivers from trusted sources.
  • Restart your computer.

Check if the Windows 10 not recognizing USB Wi-Fi adapter issue still occurs.

Disable “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power” setting

Every USB hub has it’s dedicated power settings which Windows 10 can control. Turn off the feature that allows Windows to disable the USB hub then check if this fixes the problem.

  • In the Search bar, type Device, and open Device Manager from the list of results
  • Navigate to Universal Serial Bus controllers.
  • Expand the section, right-click on each individual USB root hub and open Properties.
  • Click on the Power management tab.
  • Uncheck the “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power” box and confirm changes. You’ll need to do this for each USB hub, respectively.
  • Restart your computer.

Check if the Wi-Fi USB adapter issue still occurs.
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