How to Fix a Faulty Ethernet Connection in Windows 10

If you can’t have a stable connection, you cannot do much with your laptop or PC, except for setting a new high score in Chrome’s Dinosaur Game. But the internet is a lot more fun when you can actually surf it, especially when you want to show everyone that new high score you got.

Let’s break down how you can quickly fix your unstable Ethernet connection.

1. Check the Ethernet Cable and Port

If your cable is old and damaged, it may cause an unstable Ethernet connection. A counterfeit cable will also have the same effect. You could try using a spare cable or connecting the faulty one to another laptop or PC to determine if a malfunctioning Ethernet cable is the cause of your problems.

Related: What Is an Ethernet Cable and How Does It Make Your Internet Faster?

Then, take a look at the Ethernet port itself. If you connect and disconnect the cable often, the wear and tear may slowly damage the port. Check if the port looks loose or if it’s full of dirt or other debris. You can use a small brush or air blower to clean it.

Usually, PCs are equipped with a small LED light next to the port. If the LED turns on when you plug in the cable, the connection is working properly. However, if the LED starts blinking or turns off after a while, the Ethernet port might be loose or malfunctioning. If you are sure the port is damaged, you can try using a USB-to-Ethernet adapter.

As a final step, try using a different port on your router or your PC.

2. Run Network Troubleshooter

You can use the Windows 10 built-in troubleshooting tool to find and fix network-related issues. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Click Start, then head to Settings > Update & Security.
  2. On the left pane menu, select Troubleshoot.
  3. From the Find and fix other problems section, click Network Adapter > Run the troubleshooter.
  4. Select Ethernet from the network adapters list and then click Next to start the troubleshooting process.

Network troubleshooter in Windows 10

The network adapter troubleshooter will search for any malfunctions that may cause an unstable Ethernet connection.

Once the troubleshooter finishes the scan, it will display a report of the detected problems. Then, all that you have left to do is to follow the recommended instructions to fix them.

3. Update the Ethernet Adapter’s Driver

If the Ethernet adapter’s driver is outdated, corrupt, or missing, it will cause all sorts of connectivity issues. Follow these steps to update your Ethernet adapter’s driver:

  1. In the Start menu search bar, search for Device Manager and select the Best match.
  2. Click View > Show hidden devices.
  3. Expand the Network adapters menu.
  4. Right-click the Ethernet driver and select Update driver.
  5. Click Search automatically for drivers.

Device manager in Windows 10

Device Manager will search the internet and see if there’s an updated version for your Ethernet adapter. Once the search is complete, it will show you any available updates. Next, install the driver, restart your device and check if you have a stable Ethernet connection.

If the network troubleshooter doesn’t fix the issue, you can try Windows 10’s Network Reset too. This reinstalls all network adapters and reverts all networking elements to their default settings. Follow these steps to do it:

  1. Click Start, then head to Settings > Network & Internet. Here, you can see your network status.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Network reset.
  3. Click the Reset now button. Once Windows 10 completes the task, it will restart your device.

Network reset in Windows 10

However, take note: after using Network Reset, you may have to reinstall your VPN, virtual switches, or any other networking software you are using.

5. Disable Your VPN

If you are looking for a quick fix, you can try disabling any VPN software installed on your PC or laptop. Follow these steps to remove your manual VPN connection in Windows 10:

  1. Click Start, then head to Settings > Network & Internet.
  2. From the left pane menu, select VPN.
  3. Select your VPN and click Disconnect or Remove if you want to delete it.

VPN settings in Windows 10

Also, you should disable or remove any VPN extensions on your internet browser.

6. Check Power Management Settings

Windows 10 will sometimes reduce some of its functionality to save your battery. This goes double if you use a laptop with a low battery or if you enabled Battery Saver.

Here is how you can take a look at the Power Management settings:

  1. In the Start menu search bar, search for device manager and select the Best match.
  2. Expand the Network adapters menu.
  3. Right-click your device’s Ethernet adapter and select Properties.
  4. Open the Power Management tab.
  5. The Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power option should be unchecked.
  6. Restart your PC or laptop and check if the Ethernet connection keeps disconnecting.

Ethernet driver power management settings in Windows 10

7. Check Your Fixed IP Settings

There are certain advantages of using a fixed or static IP, such as better download and upload speeds and a better level of protection. However, if you are using the wrong static IP information for your Ethernet network, it can cause instability.

To disable fixed IP connections on your device:

  1. Click Start, then head to Settings > Network & Internet.
  2. From the Network & Internet list, select Ethernet.
  3. Check the IP settings section. There should be an Automatic (DHCP) message displayed.
  4. If there is a Manual IP assignment message, you need to change your static IP address. Click the Edit button and select Automatic (DHCP) using the drop-down menu.
  5. Click Save.

8. Check LAN Proxy Settings

If your PC or laptop uses a proxy server over LAN, you might experience issues using an Ethernet connection. To fix it, you should disable the proxy settings. Here’s how:

  1. In the Start menu search bar, search for run and select Run as administrator.
  2. Into the Run box, type inetcpl.cpl and click OK.
  3. Click the Connections tab and select LAN settings.
  4. Uncheck Use a proxy server for your LAN (These settings will not apply to dial-up or VPN connections).
  5. Click OK to save the changes.

Proxy settings in Windows 10

Fix Your Ethernet Connection

Multiple causes could interfere with your Ethernet connection. If this happens to you, start with the easiest fixes and work your way down the list to the more complex solutions.

When your internet comes back, did you know you can tweak some Windows settings to make your connection even faster? From adjusting your router’s channel to changing your DNS server, there’s plenty you can do to squeeze those last few drops of speed out of your connection.

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