How to Install a Wireless Network Adapter With Vista

Connect to wireless networks by installing a wireless network adaptor to your Windows Vista computer. An adaptor connects the computer to a wireless router or wireless access point. Wireless network adaptors can connect computers to home networks and Wi-Fi networks. Windows Vista supports internal and external adaptors, such as USB adaptors. Once the wireless network adaptor is installed, Windows Vista configures it automatically.

Pick an internal or external wireless network adaptor. Internal adaptors require opening the desktop's case. USB wireless network adaptors are compatible with desktops and laptops. Internal cards are compatible with laptops and do not require the case to be opened. They are plugged into to an open, compatible port.

Read and follow all instructions provided with the wireless network adaptor. Some adaptors require software installation before inserting the adaptor.

Install any software, if necessary.

Insert the wireless network adaptor. For desktops, insert a USB adaptor into an available port or follow your computer's manual to open the desktop's case and insert the adaptor into an available expansion slot. For laptops, insert a USB adaptor into an available port or insert the card into an available slot.

Wait for the software to recognise and finish installing drivers. If no software is available, wait for the "Installation Successful" message in the Windows Vista notification tray.

Restart the system if prompted.


Microsoft recommends using the same brand wireless network adaptor as your router. This isn't required but often makes home network installation easier.

Things You'll Need

  • Wireless network adaptor
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About the Author

C.D. Crowder has been a freelance writer on a variety of topics including but not limited to technology, education, music, relationships and pets since 2008. Crowder holds an A.A.S degree in networking and one in software development and continues to develop programs and websites in addition to writing.