In medicine, sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. The same goes for Windows, unfortunately, as we have seen many times in the past. More recently, Microsoft's Patch Tuesday roll out from last week has been causing problems for some users, such as busting Wi-Fi connectivity on certain NEC systems running Windows 10 1903.
The issue lies with KB4515384. After installing the update, some users noticed that their Intel wireless network adapters were no longer functioning. Microsoft acknowledged the issue in a support document, noting it affects certain wireless adapters.
"Microsoft and NEC have found incompatibility issues with Intel Centrino 6205/6235 and Broadcom 802.11ac Wi-Fi cards when running Windows 10, version 1903 on specific models of NEC devices. If these devices are updated to Windows 10, version 1903, they will no longer be able to use any Wi-Fi connections," Microsoft said.
On affected machines, the Wi-Fi adapter may show a yellow exclamation point in the Device Manager. In addition, the networking icon in the Task Tray may the show the icon for no Internet, and the Network & Internet settings menu may not show any Wi-Fi network, on affected machines.
Some users have complained of the problem being on LAN cards as well, though Microsoft's support document only talks about Wi-Fi adapters.
"To safeguard your update experience, we have applied a compatibility hold on the affected devices from being offered Windows 10, version 1903," Microsoft says.
If you own an infected PC, the problematic update should no longer be available to you. However, if you already installed the update and are having Wi-Fi issues, there is a temporary workaround—it involves disabling and then re-enabling your Wi-Fi adapter. Follow these steps...
- Go Control Panel > Device Manager (or just type "Device Manager" in the Start menu)
- Expand the Network adapters menu and look for your Wi-Fi adapter (it may also appear outside of this section, with a yellow explanation point next to it)
- Right-click on your Wi-Fi adapter and select Disable
- Right-click on your Wi-Fi adapter and select Enable
This is not a permanent solution—it should restore Wi-Fi connectivity for your current session, but once you reboot your PC, it will be broken again. However, you can repeat the above steps however many times you need.
Fortunately, Microsoft and NEC are working on a permanent fix. It's not clear when exactly it will be available, only that it will be rolled out in a future update. In the meantime, Microsoft recommends against manually updating Windows 10 using the Update now button or the Media Creation tool, on affected PCs.