Resolve Ethernet controller driver error code 31 windows 7

There are many different driver error codes; some are not difficult to resolve, while others can prove a lot more troublesome, even the most technically proficient. Luckily error code 31 belongs to the easy-to-resolve category.

Error code 31 can occur with many hardware devices. However, it is most commonly seen with Ethernet cards. While irritating, error code 31 is not something you need to lose sleep over, because it can be quickly fixed by installing the latest Ethernet drivers.

Error Message

 Each error code is accompanied with an error message, which may or may not correctly point to the cause of the problem. The error message that one receives with error code 31 is:

“This device is not working properly because Windows cannot load the drivers required for this device (Code 31)”

How to see the error code 31 error message 

Error code 31 is a device manager error code and, as such, is displayed in the Device status box, under the General tab in the device’s properties dialog box. In other words, a message on the desktop does not flash when this error occurs. To view error code 31, perform the steps listed below:

  1. Click the Windows icon
  2. Type devmgmt.msc in the Start Search box
  3. Press Enter
  4. Double-click Network adapters in the Device Manager window to view all the network devices installed (when a problem with a hardware device occurs, an exclamation mark, a question mark, or a yellow triangle is displayed beside it)
  5. Double-click your Ethernet card
  6. The error code 31 will be displayed in its Device status box

Why error code 31 occurs

The most common reasons are:

  • Missing drivers
  • Outdated drivers
  • Corrupt drivers

How to fix error code 31 Ethernet controller driver 

To fix this issue, you must download and install the latest Ethernet controller drivers. The most effective and quickest way of updating Ethernet controller drivers is by using a reliable and compatible driver update application. Although you need to pay a subscription fee to use such applications, the good ones are worth their cost and are reasonably priced. To update drivers using such an application, all you do is download the software and follow the on-screen instructions. On the other hand, if you decide to update drivers manually, you need a follow a more involved process that involves the following steps:

  1. Write down the details of your Ethernet card (you can find the details from the device manager window or from the box in which the Ethernet card came or from the Ethernet card itself)
  2. Go to the manufacturer’s website
  3. Search for the latest driver for your Ethernet card
  4. If found (yes, you do not always get the required drivers on the manufacturer’s website!), download the drivers
  5. Install the new Ethernet card drivers
  6. Restart Windows

Sushant Mehta


10 comments… add one

  • I received an error code 31 on Lenovo X230 network (wired and wireless) adapters. I removed the “old” drivers, by deleting all driver files, downloaded the latest drivers from the supplier (both from Lenovo and Intel), and after installed a “new” driver i got a same error message. If I boot from a different media – portable Win7 on USB drive – the network card is working fine. Reinstalling the driver is not solves the error. What can I do?

    • Hi Peter – are you confident you are installing the correct Drivers? You can download our software from http://www.drivers.com/update_lenovo_drivers_main.php and run a free scan to check the exact required Drivers – then either register with us for automatic updates or see if you can source them from the manufacturers website and manually install

  • Hello. I recieved the same error code 31 at my Nikon D5100 camera. It worked perfecttly until my father reinstalled Windows 7 for not working properly…. At first I searched for Nikon drivers to install. Than I saw that not even a stick works so I thought that the problem is not with my camera. I’d tried to install the updates for the device. It’s telling me there are the best drivers for the device. I updated Windows. I’ve even tried to put the card from the camera in the notebook (Asus K50IJ series ) but still it’s asking me to update drivers. It appears “Mass storage device” with an “!” . I tried to restore the system and for the date I choosed it appeared to be unable to restore. It failed. … Nothing seem to work. It is possible that something is not installed along Windows 7? Did he forgot to install something? How can I fix that? Did I have to reinstall Windows again?

    Please help because I’ve just spended 7 hours trying to make this work… I can’t transfer the photos from my camera :( Write me on my email sheesha666@yahoo.com or here…But help me somehow… Thank you so much! Happy Easter!

    • Are you seeing the error code 31 in the Device Manager? If so, it is a Driver error indeed but if not it may be a system error which would need to be addressed differently. Did you run a free Drivers Scan at http://www.drivers.com/update_digital_camera_drivers_main.php – when the missing Drivers are identified you can choose to search for the Drivers yourself or register the software to enable automatic Driver updates.

  • I am having this same issue. I have uninstalled and reinstalled, I’ve done the usbstor.inf thing, messed with the device manager. Everything. I’ve been online trying everything and nothing seems to get the yellow exclamation point off. I cannot download pics. Please help!

    • Hi Hannah – have you run the free drivers scan? Can you give us more detail on your problem? Are you not able to see any images?

  • It’s impossible to do a driver scan without being connected. I’m totally stuck here. My adaptors show in the Device Manager (with little exclamation points) but they are entirely missing from the & Sharing Center. I downloaded drivers via my smartphone and transferred them to the machine but how can I tell if they’re the latest, even with special software, if I can’t connect to begin with? I would think the software itself would need a connection, no?

  • If you cannot connect at all then you will not be able to run the drivers scan (those with problematic or intermittent connections can usually run it as it doesn’t take long). Can you give me some more details of your problem – were you able to connect before? Did you recently install new software/ update OS?

  • Hi. I just bought a new pc that was built to my specifications and updated with all the latest drivers before shipping, and the only thing i was going to install myself was my old D-Link DWA-140 Wireless N USB adapter which has worked perfectly fine on my old computer for a couple of years now, But it does not work at all on the new one.

    I found the code 31 error message in the device manager on this product, but when i open properties it seems to have 2 drivers installed, one labeled microsoft, the other labeled Ralink.

    uninstalling any of these drivers does not work. i can click uninstall and i see it begins uninstalling for about 2 seconds then it just shuts down and nothing happens.

    I also tried downloading the latest driver from D-Link for the dwa 140 to try and see if that would work. the install was successfull but the device still does not work and im guessing it must be because of conflicting drivers. However when im not able to delete the other 2 drivers via the uninstall button, then i really dont know what to do.

  • can you try the drivers scan (it’s free) using the ‘start download’ link above – it may show a different driver version and you can then search the D-Link website for that one – if it shows the same drivers as you have tried let us know and we can look into it a bit more


Leave a Comment

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Download Driver Updates for Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, XP and Vista