I was wondering how can I add an ethernet connection to a desktop computer that does not have any ethernet connection. I am using Windows XP Pro.

I want to add internet cable to my computer but I only have a dial up connection on my computer.

  • Do you mean how do you configure a new connection? I assume they have a physical ethernet connection port! Is the cable plugged in?! Aug 21, 2009 at 15:34
  • For an ethernet connection to be of any use to you, you'll need something else to plug the other end into. Since you mentioned you have dial-up currently, you'll probably want to look into getting a broadband connection. Otherwise, the ethernet port will only really be good for transferring data between local computers
    – Ciaran
    Aug 21, 2009 at 17:26

4 Answers 4


You need to buy a networking card that is compatible with your machine - you need to know what kind of slots it has - PCI or PCIe (or ISA if you have an old machine, without more detail we can't help further) etc. Most cards will have drivers for XP so you won't have software problems. The port that ethernet uses is commonly call an RJ45 port.

As Marcus points out in the comments, USB -> RJ45 adaptors are a cheap and easy option, here's an example. USB is not an efficient communication port however, and a USB -> Ethernet connection will cause more overhead than a dedicated card, so if you have old hardware or you want to guarantee optimal performance, USB is not the ideal solution.

  • 3
    There are also USB ethernet adapters (wired and wireless) which might be easier to use. (No need to open your PC).
    – Macke
    Aug 21, 2009 at 16:44
  • Some motherboards have an Ethernet connection on-board. Aug 21, 2009 at 18:56

You'll need to obtain what's called a Network Interface Card (network card for short).

Do you have other computers to connect it to? There should be a "switch" somewhere that you will need to run a cable from your new network card to.

Alternately, if your network is wireless, you can get a wireless network card for your PC.

Give us a bit more detail about what you're trying to do, please.

  • 1
    Network Interface Cards are also often referred to as NICs (pronounced like the name 'Nick')
    – akf
    Aug 21, 2009 at 17:15

Assuming you have a physical wire and NIC. You can use the setup wizard to configure a network connection. For XP select Start : Control Panel : Network Connections : Set up a home or small office network and follow the wizard.


Many cable modems will let you plug in directly to the computer via USB - you may not need to purchase anything. Your cable company will be able to tell you for sure if you're going to lease a modem from them.

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