Fix: Network Adapters Missing in Windows |

After converting one of my Windows hosts into a virtual machine using P2V, I found that all network adapters were missing from the Network Connections section in Control Panel. At the same time, I see a properly installed Ethernet NIC in the Network Adapters section of Device Manager. In my case, the problem was resolved simply by resetting the network settings using network reset button in the Settings pane, but I decided to go ahead and troubleshoot the problem.

In this article, I tried to describe specific steps to check if network adapters are not displayed in Windows. This guide will help you restore network connectivity in both Windows 10/11 and Windows Server.

missing network connection icon in windows

Here are specific reasons why network adapters are not showing in Windows:

  • network adapter drivers are not installed;
  • Wrong NIC drivers are installed;
  • There are no physical network adapters on the computer or laptop, they are not connected, or are damaged;
  • Windows network stack failure.

Open Device Manager (devmgmt.msc) and make sure the network adapters section has physical devices. These can be Wi-Fi network adapters (wireless) or Ethernet (wired) adapters.

ignore van miniport Virtual network adapters that are used for VPN connections.

If there is no device in the Network Adapters section, but you see an unknown device or a network controller device with yellow exclamation marks other equipment section, try to find out the type of device and install the appropriate driver. Maybe it’s your missing network adapter.

Make sure Windows has automatic driver updates enabled. Try doing an automatic driver search. Windows should detect the device and install the appropriate drivers.

If Windows could not detect a device, you need to detect it manually. Find the VID and PID of the unknown device (Properties -> Details -> Hardware ID). Copy the ID and search in Google. For example, PCI\VEN_14E4&DEV_43A0 Broadcom wireless network adapter. Thus, you can identify your NIC, download and install its driver.

Unknown network adapter - check VID and PID

If the list of network adapters is empty and there are no unknown devices on your computer, search for the device in Device Manager (Action -> Scan for hardware changes).

Scan for Hardware Changes with Device Manager

Then check that your network card is physically connected to your computer/laptop and is enabled in the BIOS/UEFI settings. You may have to get your NIC checked on another computer (if possible) or have its functionality checked at a service center (it may be broken).

If your network adapter shows up in Device Manager but doesn’t show up in Network Connections, try uninstalling and reinstalling it.

  1. Right-click on your network adapter in Device Manager and select uninstall device, Uninstall Network Adapters in Windows
  2. Search for the device (Action -> Scan for hardware changes);
  3. Windows will find and install the most appropriate driver for your network adapter.

If this doesn’t help, try downloading your network adapter driver from the vendor’s website and installing it manually.

Make sure Network Adapter is enabled in Device Manager. Disabled devices have an icon with a small down arrow. Enable the device using the context menu.

enable network adapter

If only wireless network adapters are not displayed, make sure that WLAN Autoconfiguration The service is enabled. Check service status with PowerShell:

Get-Service WlanSvc

check for wlan autoconfig service

If the service is disabled, enable it and change its startup type to Automatic:

Set-Service WlanSvc –startuptype automatic –passthru
Start-Service WlanSvc –PassThru

Reset network settings and TCP/IP stack settings in Windows using the commands below (run cmd.exe as administrator):

netsh winsock reset catalog
netsh winsock reset
netsh int ip reset

Open Network Settings in the Modern Settings pane (for quick access use the URI command ms-settings:network) and click network reset,

windows 10.  reset network in

Restart your computer.

If nothing helped:

  • If you have a third-party antivirus installed on your computer, try uninstalling it;
  • Run Windows Network Troubleshooter using the command: msdt.exe /id NetworkDiagnosticsNetworkAdapter
  • Check and repair your Windows image using DISM and SFC:
    sfc /scannow
    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth

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