How to fix Wi-Fi connectivity issues for adapters not designed for Windows 10

If your wireless adapter keeps disconnecting on Windows 10 and you notice a yellow triangle alert, it could be a driver compatibility issue, use this guide to fix the problem.

Wi-Fi working on Windows 10

I’ve been having some issues connecting my PC to my Wi-Fi network using an older wireless adapter that wasn’t designed for Windows 10. After installing the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, I began noticing that the Wi-Fi connection will keep disconnecting minutes after signing in to Windows 10.

I have tried a number of troubleshooting steps, such as disconnecting and reconnecting manually, resetting the wireless network adapter, and reinstalling the adapter driver. I’ve even tried to get updated driver, but unfortunately the USB dongle wireless adapter I was using doesn’t have a Windows 10 compatible driver at all (but everything worked perfectly before).

No matter the things I tried, I would always get the infamous yellow triangle exclamation mark, and then no internet access at all. Rebooting the PC wouldn’t fix the problem and the Settings app will freeze trying to access Network & security.

However, after much troubleshooting I have found a solution. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the steps to fix a wireless adapter if you encounter the same problem.

How to fix Wi-Fi compatibility issues on Windows 10 

If you’ve been following along, you probably figured out that this case is a driver compatibility issue with a new version of Windows 10. The answer to this problem was finding a driver that would work with Windows 10 no matter for which version of the operating system was designed to work.

To fix the wireless adapter internet access problem, do the following:

  1. Head over to your wireless adapter manufacturer website and download the latest available driver, including from previous versions of Windows.

  2. You probably downloaded a .zip file, you’ll need to extract the drivers to an empty folder.

  3. Use the Windows key + X keyboard shortcut to open the Power User menu and select Device Manager.

  4. Expand Network adapters.

  5. Identify your wireless adapter with the problem, right-click it, and select Update Driver Software.

    Update driver for a network adapter

  6. Click Browse my computer for driver software.

    Choose how to install network adapter driver software

  7. Click Browse to locate the adapter driver.

    Important: Remember that you have installed the latest driver before, but now the adapter isn’t working. This means that unless the manufacturer releases a new update, you need to look for an alternative. In this step, you can try to install previous version of the driver compatible with Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Vista, or XP. In my situation, an older driver designed for Windows 7 did the trick.
  8. Check the Include subfolder option.

  9. Click Next to complete the task and install the new driver.

    Install Wi-Fi adapter driver on Windows 10

This should fix the Wi-Fi connectivity problems, but if you’re still having issues, you’ll need to keep installing and testing different versions of the driver until you find one that works with Windows 10.

You can also go back to step 8, and click the Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer option to manually select a device driver you can use to install.

While this should work for most wireless adapters, this guide aims to help people using older wireless network adapters that aren’t compatible with Windows 10, but they were before and stops working after installing a new feature update of the operating system, such as the Anniversary Update or other significant release.

If nothing works and the adapter is very old, perhaps it’s time to get another adapter.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows expert and the Editor-in-Chief who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He's also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 12 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows, software, and related technologies, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ & Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, and LinkedIn.