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I just reinstalled Windows 8.1 on a Dell Inspiron 3451, and the wireless adapter is not working.

After the install, during the setup phase, it skipped the step where you can select the wireless network to connect to (presumably because it didn't detect a wireless adapter) and now I'm on the desktop, with no wireless connections available.

I went on Dell's website, entered the model and found several network drivers that can be downloaded for that model/OS (8.1 64-bits) :

  • Dell Wireless 1708 WiFi/Bluetooth Driver (395MB)
  • Intel PROSet/Wireless 3160 Bluetooth Driver (41MB)
  • Intel PROSet/Wireless 3160 Driver (148MB)
  • Dell Wireless 1707 WiFi + Bluetooth Driver (277MB)

How do I know which one to download?

Everytime I did a fresh install of Windows (7, 8, 8.1 or 10) on a new or used system, it always installed some basic drivers and was able to connect to the internet - not this time.

Also, if I go in Programs and Features, there's nothing there - is this normal? Shouldn't Windows install some basic programs/drivers?

Edit Installing the fourth one (1707 Wifi + Bluetooth) did the trick, I tried the other three before that and they wouldn't work.

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I'd suggest two options.

One: On Dell's website, you can usually (but not always) get specific driver information when you enter your computer's serial number/service tag. That may direct you to the correct wireless driver.

Two: On your computer, go to Device Manager (enter Device Manager in the search box, and then click Device Manager).
a: Check the Network Adapters section and see if your Wireless Network Adapter is listed there. If it's listed, check to see that it's enabled. If it's already enabled, try disabling it and then reenabling it. Once you've enabled it, it should be working.
b: Check the Unknown Devices section and see if your adapter is showing up there. If it is, you may be able to allow it to update the driver automatically (assuming you have another way to get on the internet). If not, the name of the device may indicate which of the drivers you should manually download and install.

  • Thank you for the reply. I checked the Device Manager, there's only two Bluetooth adapters showing up under "Network adapters", and in "Other devices" there are a few more, including "Network controller". Unfortunetly, the laptop doesn't have an Ethernet port so I can't download the driver from this computer directly. The "Network Controller" has a yellow exclamation triangle next to it. Anything else I can try ? – Drown May 3 '16 at 18:33
  • Update : Installing the fourth one in the list worked, I tried the three others previously and none of them worked. Thanks for your help! – Drown May 3 '16 at 18:52

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