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No drivers for Wi-Fi or Ethernet during Win 11 install?

Level 11
It seems recently, Microsoft has started requiring an internet connection during a Windows 11 install. If you can't get a network adapter to work, then you cannot install. I know there is a work-around but I was wondering if anyone had used the USB drive included with the Z790 Hero board to include those drivers so as to have Wi-Fi or Ethernet drivers available for the install?

I might think you could add the drivers by pointing to the folder on the USB drive but I have not actually done that, so does anyone know the best way to get those drivers available so they could be used during the initial install?

According to the Insiders group, future versions of Windows 11, will not be able to use the workaround.

Thanks for reading.
Maximus Z790 Hero,
Intel i9-13900k
Intel AX411

Level 14
You can, at least for current Windows 11 releases, bypass the network requirement. Use your favourite search engine to lookup "oobe\bypassnro" for details.

As for the network drivers, these FAQs should help (TL;DR: you load them from the drive selection/partitioning screen of the installer, if you want to do an online install):

[Motherboard] Troubleshooting - How to install Windows 11 Pro/Home operate system on AM5 or Intel Z7...
[Motherboard] How to download and install LAN driver from ASUS Download Center

If memory serves, MS have updated the downloadable installation media for Windows 11 22H2 (i.e. the installer and the installed OS will have newer drivers), which may give a smoother overall experience on the latest boards. So, make sure your installer is up to date, download a fresh one if you're not sure.

Edit: for the adventurous/enthusiastic, you can probably also add the drivers into the installer itself using DISM. It should be possible, and is how they deal with this sort of thing in manufacturing or big corporate deployments.

Level 11
Thanks for the response, but your suggestions all require a network connection. It is improbable someone would not have some type of internet connection is addition to the one being installed, but not knowing ahead the drive was necessary means they would not have created a flash drive with any drivers.

It appears the USB drive that came with the system is not capable of supplying drivers in this situation, which is the main reason for my question. In my situation, I had and external Ethernet adapter which worked fine. But the included USB drive for the motherboard should have drivers available that could be accessed in this exact situation.

Just for fun, I will see if I can extract the necessary drivers which were downloaded ahead of time from the ASUS website as per your link.

Thanks again.
Maximus Z790 Hero,
Intel i9-13900k
Intel AX411

Level 14
I think you should be able to point the Windows installer at the driver on the supplied USB, assuming the installer can mount the USB ok. On the ROG USB that came with my Crosshair VIII Extreme, the I225 driver is there and looks like it should be useable without running the AsusSetup.exe installer. It's a very out of date driver, in my case, but would probably work.

PS F:\> dir .\Drivers\LAN\Intel_I225\driver\

Directory: F:\Drivers\LAN\Intel_I225\driver

Mode LastWriteTime Length Name
---- ------------- ------ ----
--r-- 22/11/2020 18:44 11625
--r-- 22/11/2020 18:33 2996 e2f68.din
--r-- 22/11/2020 18:33 148213 e2f68.inf
--r-- 22/11/2020 18:44 526184 e2f68.sys
--r-- 22/11/2020 18:44 39880 e2fmsg.dll
--r-- 14/12/2020 19:21 161098 Release-Notes-

PS F:\>

I believe you would just point the Windows installer at \Drivers\LAN\Intel_I225\driver\e2f68.inf on the USB. The directory structure may not be identical on your USB, and it will have a newer driver, but I expect there should be something similar. It could be e2f.inf (Windows 10/11 V1.x older NDIS driver) or e2fn.inf (Windows 11 V2.x newer NetAdapter framework, recommended on 11 if you don't have a reason to use the older NDIS driver). e2f68 is another older variant of the driver. For getting past initial setup, it shouldn't matter which of the 3 driver variants (e2f/e2f68/e2fn) are supplied on your USB (if it's on there, and supplied with the motherboard, it should hopefully be good enough to get you installed).

Level 7

Had this same issue with my Rog Strix z790-f Gaming WiFi

USB tethering from a mobile phone helped me get through the installation of windows till i was able to get the drivers for the NIC.

you save the day 🙂

Level 7

I just loaded LAN drivers while installing win 11. (downloaded from the asus site for my MB, on a usb stick)


Level 7

When installing from USB put all the drivers in a subfolder with the name: $WinPeDriver$
so USB:\$WinPeDriver$\NIC for example.
When installing Windows the drivers will be picked up, can put any driver here.
Mind you that the folder $WinPeDriver$ must be at the ROOT of your USB stick.

Thanks, that is a trick I have not seen.  But all this assumes you know of the problem ahead of time and you have another system to create the fixes.

It was suggested by @Murph_9000 that Microsoft has since added drivers for these devices in the Windows installer.  Hopefully, this is true, but this is the first time I have ever done an install without a basic driver for Ethernet or Wi-Fi available.

Although @Murph_9000 also shows a file structure which would allow access, but on the Z790, the USB drive needs to start a virtual DVD in order to read the file structure, so not sure how that would work during an installation.

I suppose I need to do another clean install to check the current situation, just can't do that now.

Thanks for the reply.


Maximus Z790 Hero,
Intel i9-13900k
Intel AX411

Level 15

For now, there is another really easy fix that works if you just want a local install (I know this isn't answering the question) but grab the latest Windows 11 iso and burn it with the latest version of Rufus. You'll get a couple of options when burning the image to USB. One of those options brings back the 'I don't have internet' during the install process. Works perfectly. There are other fixes, including installing the network drivers from USB, but that's the easiest way for a 'non-network' install that I know of. It might stop working in the future, but for now it's good. 

Z690 Hero, BIOS 2305, ME Firmware, 7000X Case, RM1000x PSU, i9 12900K, ASUS TUF OC 3090TI, 2 x 16GB Corsair RAM @ 5200MHz, Windows 11 Pro 22H2, Corsair H150i Elite AIO, 4x Corsair RGB fans, 3x M.2 NVME drives, 2x SATA SSDs, 2x SATA HDs.