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How To Install a Network Interface Card (NIC)

A network interface card (NIC) is easy to install. The only considerations for installation are that you have an available slot and that the NIC is designed for the slot type you have. Most PCs use a PCI or a PCIe ("e" for express) slot for a NIC. Older PCs used an ISA slot; which is now obsolete. Check that you have an available slot and the slot type, before purchasing a NIC.

Caution:Please read our safety information before attempting any testing or repairs.

Before installing the network interface card, unplug the PC to avoid an electrical shock hazard. Exercise caution as there are sharp edges on a PC and its components. Always wear a static electricity discharge strap when working with your PC's components to avoid damaging your PC. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions that were supplied with your modem.

  1. Unplug the PC

  2. Remove the cover

  3. Remove the cover plate adjacent to the slot for your NIC

  4. Align the NIC over the slot with the jack facing toward the outside of the PC

  5. Set the NIC into the slot and press down firmly. Make sure the mounting bracket is properly aligned with any slot that might be present. It may be necessary to gently rock the card from end to end to secure it in the slot. The gold contacts at the bottom of the NIC should nearly or completely disappear into the slot. The card should be level and straight.

  6. Secure the NIC mounting bracket to the case with a screw (or replace the securing mechanism your case uses.

  7. Replace the cover

  8. Plug in the PC

  9. Plug in the ethernet wire to the RJ-45 jack and plug the other end into the your DSL modem, hub, router or if using a crossover wire, directly to another PC.

That completes the hardware installation, next you will need to start the computer and complete the software installation. Your NIC should have come with a disk which contains the appropriate drivers.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions for installing the software. Windows will detect the NIC and start the hardware wizard; simply follow the prompts. Some manufacturers require you to cancel the hardware wizard and complete the installation using their own installation instructions.

To connect your PC to a local area network, you will have to configure your operating system software. In Windows, use the Network Wizard or read our article on the topic.

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