How to install a computer network card
Buying tips and help
How to determine the network card type
Before getting started
- Difficulty of installing a PC network card should be a 4 out of 5.
- Write down important information from the top or bottom of the card such as the Model Number, Serial Number, and specifications.
- Ensure you are familiar with ESD and its potential dangers.
- When physically installing the network card, ensure the computer is powered down and unplugged.
Before installing the network card, verify that the jumpers are properly set. Today, most computers do not have jumpers for a network card installation and allow for the network card to be set up and configured through software or Plug-and-Play. If available, it is recommended that this be used.
Install into Expansion slot
Today, network cards connect to the PCI slot. Locate an available slot in the computer and gently push the card into the slot until it snaps into place. Once the card is in the expansion slot, place a screw into the top of the card to hold the card into position.
Note: If your computer has a network card already installed and you are replacing or upgrading that network card, you need to remove the existing network card before installing the new card.
Attach internal cables
Most network cards will not include internal cables, but you may find Wake-On-LAN cable, which wakes the computer when network activity is present. If cables are included with the network card and your computer supports these cables, install the cables now.
The Wake-On-LAN cable must also be a supported feature of the computer motherboard. The cable will connect to the Wake-On-LAN or similar connection on the motherboard. Consult the motherboard documentation or manufacturer for additional information if this is a supported feature or where the cable should be connected.
Attach external cables
Once the network card has been physically installed, replace the case panel and connect the keyboard, mouse, and monitor as well as the power and network cables. Then, connect the other end of the network cable to the network outlet on a hub, switch, or router.
Once connected, turn the computer on and install the drivers for the Network card. If you do not have drivers for your network card or the network card drivers included appear not to work, you can find links to network drivers on our network card drivers page.
Once the Network card has been successfully installed, set the configuration values for the network card in the software. These values will depend on the configuration of your network. If it is a corporate or business network, and you aren't sure how to configure your network card, contact your network's administrator for detailed instructions. If it is a home network, consult your router's printed or online manual.
- How do I set up my own home network?
- How to install computer hardware.
- See our network card definition for further information and related links.
- Computer network card and network help and support.