How do I Install a Network Card?

G. Wiesen

How you install a network card typically depends on the type of card you have and the computer you are working with. External cards are generally quite easy to install, while internal cards require a bit more effort for proper installation. Due to the nature of laptop computers, it is often a good idea to not install any new devices inside of the case unless you are a professional. To install a network card in a desktop computer tower, however, is fairly easy, though a bit more complicated than using an external card.

Cat5 cable, which is used with networks.
Cat5 cable, which is used with networks.

It is quite easy to install a network card that is an external device. This type of card can usually be connected to a port, often a universal serial bus (USB) port, on your laptop case or computer tower. Depending on the card being used, drivers or other software may need to be installed on the computer prior to using the external card, but the overall process is usually quite simple. If you want to install a network card inside of a computer tower, however, then the process is a bit more complicated.

It is fairly easy to install a network card in a desktop computer.
It is fairly easy to install a network card in a desktop computer.

Before you install a network card inside of your computer, you should read any installation instructions provided with your card. This will usually give you a sense of the way in which your card should be installed, as well as the order of how the installation process should proceed. Some cards should be physically installed before any software is installed on a computer, while other cards should be installed once some software has been installed on the computer.

You will likely have an installation disc provided with your network card, and you will usually install software from this disc before you install a network card in your computer. At a certain point, the software install will stop and tell you to install the card itself into your computer. You should then shut down your computer, turn off the power, and even unplug the power cord from your computer to reduce the chance of electric shock. The way in which you open your computer case will depend on your computer, though most cases are fairly easily opened with the removal of a few screws.

Once you open your case, you should then find the appropriate slot on your motherboard for the type of network card you are installing. Any installation instructions with your card will indicate the type of slot to use. Otherwise, you can do some research to identify the connection your card requires, and find that proper connection on your motherboard.

You can then install a network card onto your motherboard. Secure the card onto the tower itself to ensure a strong and stable connection. Once you do this, you can close your case, turn the power back on to your computer, and finish running any installation software to establish a connection with your card.

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