How Do I Install A WiFi Card Correctly into A Desktop?

If you’ve just purchased a new WiFi card to upgrade your desktop computer, and now you’re not sure how to install it, that’s perfectly understandable, as this can be a confusing process. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! 

In this blog post, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide on how to install your WiFi card correctly into your desktop. By following these guidelines, you should have no trouble getting your new card up and running in no time at all. Let’s get started!

What is A WiFi Card?

A WiFi card is a small piece of equipment that allows your desktop to connect to a wireless network. It plugs into the PCIe slot or USB port on your computer, and then you can start surfing the web wirelessly!

A WiFi card works by sending and receiving radio waves. These waves are then converted into electrical signals that can be understood by your computer.

Types of WiFi Cards

There are two types of WiFi cards, which are PCI wireless network cards and USB wireless network cards. The PCI wireless card needs to be installed inside your desktop, while the USB wireless cards plug into one of your desktop’s USB ports.

Installing WiFi Card Correctly into A Desktop

Now that you know what a WiFi Card is and its two types, let’s take a look at how to install the card on your desktop.

Installing A PCI-E WiFi Card on Desktop

PCIe Wireless Card


If you are using a newer desktop, you will likely have a PCI-e port. If this is the case, then installing it will be a bit tricky. Here are the steps you need to follow:

Step 1: Turn Off the Desktop

The first thing you will want to do is turn off your desktop. Also, unplug the power cord from the device. This will help ensure that there is no power going to the card when you install it.

Step 2: Remove the Back Case

The next step is to remove the back case of your desktop. This can usually be done by removing a few screws at the back of the unit. However, for some old PC desktop models, you might need to remove the entire back panel.

Step 3: Remove the Old Card

If your desktop has an old WiFi card installed, you will need to remove it before installing the new one. There should be a few screws on the back of the desktop that holds the card in place. Once these screws are removed, you can pull out the old card.

If there is no old card installed, you can skip this step.

Step 4: Locate the PCI-e Slot

Find out an available PCI-e slot on your desktop. This will likely be near the CPU or graphics card. Note that there will be different PCI-e slots, and you will need to aim for the one that can fit the WiFi card snugly.

Step 5: Remove the Expansion Slot Plate

After detecting the right PCI-e slot for the WiFi card, remove the expansion slot plate from the case that is parallel to the card’s PCI-e slot. This will give you access to the screw that will hold the card in place.

Step 6: Prepare the WiFi Card

First, remove the little antennas from the card. Then, align the card with the PCI-e slot and make sure that it is facing in the correct direction. There should be a few pins on the back of the card that need to line up with the holes in the motherboard.

Step 7: Install the WiFi Card

Now push the WiFi card until it is fully seated. You should hear a click when it is in the right place. Next, make sure that all of the pins on the card are aligned with the corresponding holes in the slot. Once these are aligned, push down on the card until it snaps into place.

Step 8: Screw the WiFi Card

Now screw the card in the place of the expansion slot plate you removed earlier. Some cases might include screws, while others might not. If your case doesn’t include them, you will need to use the 6/32x6mm screws.

Step 9: Put the Back Panel Back On

After screwing in the card, the back panel is back on your desktop. Make sure that all of the screws are tightened. Another thing you need to do is to attach the antennas to the exposed antenna slots on the case.

Step 10: Install the Driver

Plug the power cord back into the wall. Turn on your desktop and let it start. Windows should automatically install the driver for your new WiFi card. After a few minutes, you should be able to connect to your network.

If everything goes well, then you have successfully installed a PCI-e WiFi card on your desktop! Note that the driver might not be installed automatically if you are using an older version of Windows or some other operating system. In this case, you will need to download the driver from the card manufacturer’s website.

Installing A USB WiFi Card (Adapter) on Desktop

PCIe Wireless Card


Installing a USB WiFi adapter is very easy. You will not need to remove any screws or expansion slot plates. Just follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Plug in the USB WiFi Adapter

The first step is to plug in the USB WiFi adapter into an available USB port on your desktop.

Step 2: Install the Driver

Windows should automatically install the driver for your new USB WiFi adapter. After a few minutes, you should be able to connect to your network. If the driver is not automatically installed, simply download it from the card manufacturer’s website or use the CD if one arrives with the card.

That’s it! You have successfully installed a USB WiFi adapter on your desktop computer!

Why is My WiFi Card Not Working?

If you install a WiFi Card and find it is not working, there can be a few reasons why. Here are some of the things you can do if it doesn’t work properly:

You Might Need to Download and Install the Driver Manually

You can find the driver on your laptop or computer manufacturer’s website.

If you have an updated version of Windows, it might be blocking your WiFi card from working. In that case, you will need to disable the Windows update temporarily.

You could also try reinstalling the WiFi card driver. This can be done by going to Device Manager and selecting “Network adapters.” Right-click on your adapter and select Uninstall. Restart your computer, and then install the latest driver available for your system.

Make Sure that the Card is Properly Seated in the Slot

If it is not, remove the card and re-insert it. Also, check to see if the metal contacts on the card are dirty or damaged. If they are, clean them with a pencil eraser or a dry cloth.

Update the Firmware of the Card

You can find the latest firmware for your card on the manufacturer’s website. After you’ve downloaded and installed the firmware, restart your computer and check to see if your card is now functioning properly. 

Contact the Manufacturer for Support

Many times, the manufacturer will have a support line specifically for their products. This is the best way to get help and resolve the issue as quickly as possible. 

If you are still having trouble, there are many online resources available that can assist you in resolving the issue. Be sure to do some research before contacting technical support so that you can provide them with all of the necessary information. 

Consult with A Technician

If you are still having problems after trying all of these solutions, there might be something wrong with your desktop, and you will need to take it in for repair. In this case, it is best to consult with a technician to see what is causing the problem.

Which Type of WiFi Cards Should I Use?

The type of WiFi card you should use depends on a few factors, such as the age of your desktop and how many available slots you have. 

USB Wireless Card

PCIe Wireless Card

If your desktop is older and doesn’t have any open PCIe slots, you will need to use a USB wireless adapter. The WiFi wireless cards are very straightforward to install. All you have to do is plug it into an open USB port, and you are ready to go!

PCIe Wireless Card

PCIe Wireless Card

If your desktop is not that old and has at least one open slot, you can use a PCIe WiFi card. The speed of a USB wireless adapter is usually slower than a PCIe card. So if you are looking for the best possible performance, we recommend using a PCIe version.


It is not uncommon to have some questions about installing a WiFi card on your desktop. Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked ones:

How do I know if my desktop has a PCI-e slot?

Not all desktop computers have a PCI-e slot. However, you can easily determine if your computer has one by looking at the back of your case. If you see a long, thin black slot perpendicular to the motherboard, you have a PCI-e slot. Otherwise, your computer might only have USB or Ethernet ports.

Does WiFi adapter affect internet speed?

The answer to this question depends on a lot of factors, such as the quality of your router, the distance between your computer and the router, and how many devices are connected to the network. In general, using a WiFi adapter should not affect your Internet speed negatively.

Which is better between WiFi and Ethernet?

Generally, WiFi cards are usually faster and more reliable when used in small homes or offices. On the other hand, ethernet cables tend to work better in larger areas where there is a greater distance between the device and the router.

How can I improve my WiFi signal?

There are a few things you can do to improve the signal. First, try moving your router to a more central location in your home or office. You can also increase the strength of the signal by using an antenna extender or booster. Finally, make sure that there are fewer obstructions between your computer and the router.


Whether this is your first time installing a WiFi card or you’ve done it before and just need a reminder, we hope you found these instructions helpful and easy to follow. Feel free to refer back to this from time to time, and feel free to let us know if you have any questions or get stuck along the way.

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