Windows RT (Surface) USB Ethernet Driver Going Away 12/23

The driver that enables certain USB Ethernet adapters like the Plugable USB2-E100 to work with new Windows RT devices like the Microsoft Surface has been pulled from the chipset manufacturer’s site (ASIX). Microsoft is requesting that it be pulled from all downstream sites also. Microsoft did not intend for this driver to be distributed.

We’ve found that this driver works well and have posted full instructions for getting wired Ethernet working on the Surface. Customer feedback has been positive, but we want to comply with the request, so the driver has to be removed from our website.

On the other hand, we want to support those of you who have already purchased the Plugable adapter and want to use it with their Microsoft Surface (or Lenovo Yoga 11 or Samsung Ativ or Asus VivoTab RT or Dell XPS 10).

Amazon Super Saver shipping can take up to eight business days, so giving an extra day or two for people to install the driver yields a takedown date of December 23, 2012. After that point, Plugable will not be able to distribute this driver to you.

We at Plugable really like our Surface (this post was written on one), and think that supporting third-party device drivers could make it even more useful. We hope that Microsoft and ASIX can find a way to bring back official driver support for the Plugable USB2-E100 Ethernet adapter soon. If you want to get word to Microsoft, the Surface Community Forums are one good way.

In the meantime, we will keep the installation instructions up and continue to do our best to support our customers. Email anytime, and we’ll do everything we can to help you.

Comments and questions below are welcome. Note we can’t speak for Microsoft, so there are lots of “why” questions and details that we don’t won’t have answers for, sorry.

27 comments on “Windows RT (Surface) USB Ethernet Driver Going Away 12/23”

  1. Pingback: Wired Ethernet Connectivity for the Microsoft Surface | Plugable

  2. Aaron Bergen

    I just gave my Mom a Surface as a gift with the USB Ethernet adapter because, like most offices, hers only allows hardwired Ethernet. I spent hours yelling at MS today over this ridiculous policy of theirs, and their response is that “no, you cannot return it because it’s passed the return period, and no, you cannot use it on a corporate network. But, it still works at home, if you have wifi.”

    Can anybody help me out and post the driver in a forum or some other place where I can download it?

  3. Iman


    thanks for this. I checked out amazon and another ‘plugable’ came up. Just wondered if it will work also with RT surface: Plugable USB 2.0 to 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN Wired Network Adapter as for a few quid more it is faster???

    • Bernie Thompson

      Thanks for asking! No, the above applies only 10/100 using the ASIX AX88772 chipset. Products using other chipsets like the 10/100/1000 (gigabit) AX88178 never had a driver in the wild for RT, and there’s absolutely no way to get them working on Windows RT.

  4. Heather

    Great info. Thanks!

    I just bought a Dell XPS 10. Amazon also has a Plugable USB 3.0 to 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN Network Adapter listed.

    Will the 3.0 work or do I need to buy the USB 2.0 adaptor?

    • Bernie Thompson

      Hi Heather, thanks for asking! For Windows RT, USB 3.0 or Gigabit adapters won’t work. The only ones that have a chance are ASIX AX88772 based 10/100 adapters, like the Plugable USB2-E100 mentioned in this post ( ) However, Microsoft has pulled the drivers even for these devices, and we don’t have any reports specifically on the Windows RT based Dell XPS 10. So what I’d recommend is to make sure you can find a copy of the driver before buying any adapter (we’re not allow to distribute it). You might want to give Dell a call, as they may have advice specific to their system. Thanks!

      • Heather

        Thanks, Bernie!! Wonder why Microsoft is making this so hard for their customers. All of this extra work on our part is frustrating…

      • Heather

        I downloaded the drivers mentioned earlier in this thread thinking they should work with this Dell XPS 10 since it is running Windows RT. The drivers loaded just fine. I inserted the Plugable you recommended. Both flashing lights displayed on it– green is solid and yellow is flashing.

        Thought for sure it would work, but it just says “Unidentified network” and “Limited” under network connections. Can’t get it to do anything. Any thoughts? Thanks!

        • Healther

          UPDATE: I got it to work!! All I had to do was reboot the modem. Yay!

  5. mikeh75

    Thanks for all the advice in this post. I just received my plugable today and installed the drivers on my RT. Works perfect. Very strange that MS wont allow distribution

  6. digitalman161

    DO NOT UPGRADE to 8.1 PREVEIW. If you are using this driver it is not digitally signed in the Windows RT 8.1 Preview and it disables the device. If anyone knows how to disable the signing check please post!

    • Bernie Thompson

      No, unfortunately. All that means is that individual Windows RT tablet makers (who are re-building their own Windows RT versions), could choose to add that support. The actual USB device makers can’t do it, because Windows RT does not allow anyone other than Microsoft or the tablet maker to add drivers, after the devices roll off the line. The USB Ethernet driver that made it into the wild for the original RT release was actually built in a Microsoft build lab, and signed like a Microsoft-provided component of Windows RT — then Microsoft decided not to support USB Ethernet, removed it from the build, and asked people to take it down once it was in the wild.

      So it looks like with RT 8.1, wired Ethernet is not possible through any means, certainly with the Surface RT and likely with any other RT ARM-based devices. Other than Microsoft and the tablet makers, everyone’s hands are tied.

  7. Pingback: Upgrading to Windows 8.1 on the Surface RT Will Break Wired Internet Access | Plugable

  8. MrF

    When the ethernet-USB-adapter work – do NOT upgrade to Win RT 8.1 – after the upgrade the driver will not work, because the driver the signature failed!

    I had a LOGILINK UA0144 working on my surface RT with the original 8.0 – now with 8.1 its over 🙁

  9. digitalman161

    I have officially confirmed that Windows RT 8.1 has built-in drivers for ASIX 88772C and RealTek (Surface Ethernet Adapter) and they work. Not automatically, but if you plug in your adapter and manually select the appropriate driver you will be good to go.

  10. 66789abcd

    I was able to get a Belkin USB Ethernet adapter F4U047 to work on an ASUS TF600T Windows RT 8.1 tablet/PC. Download the driver ASIX AX88772C or AX88772A or B. Right click on your PC, click on properties, click on Device manager. Right click on USB adapter (which you have plugged in). Manually located driver in correct directory, click on update, you’ll get an error, continue with updating driver, then come back and update the driver by selecting BROWSE FOR DRIVER ON MY COMPUTER, then click on LET ME PICK FROM LIST OF DEVICE DRIVERS ON MY COMPUTER. Now you should be on Select Network Adapter Window, uncheck Show compatible hardware box, select manufacturer ASIX, select network adapter ASIX AX88772C USB 2.0 Fast Ethernet Adapter.

  11. MisterF

    You dont need any download!

    Microsoft added the drivers for the 88772 on RT 8.1 !
    It works perfect with the 88772C drivers (I have a 88772B-adapter) !
    You must manual select the C drivers with uncheck “compatible drivers only”!
    Thats all!

    • Djaggo

      Explain please! i need those drivers old one need a certifified driver

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