If you happen to be using an old WG111v3 USB WiFi adapter, you might be frustrated by the lack of driver support from Netgear. The last official revision of the drivers is located below:
As you can see, development stopped at Windows 7 x64. Does that mean the chipset is incompatible with Windows 8 or 8.1? NO!!! It simply means that Netgear was too lazy to port their legacy drivers to a modern OS. Due to Netgear’s apathy, we have decided to make Windows 8.1 x64 drivers available.
NOTE: These are unsigned and Beta. Install them at your own risk. These drivers have been briefly tested and seem to work just as well as the official drivers work on Vista/7 x64, but stability is not guaranteed. If something happens to your system, it’s your problem. Period.
If you prefer using the Netgear utilities that come bundled with the official drivers, you can install the official Netgear drivers here, but you’ll notice that although the utilities install properly, the drivers themselves refuse to install. This is the root of our problem, and why we need the unofficial drivers.
After you have downloaded the unofficial drivers, extract them to somewhere convenient (i.e. Documents or Desktop folder). The drivers have no installer, so we will need to go into Device Manager in order to manually install the drivers.
But there’s a big problem we need to resolve first. Windows 8.1 is particularly adamant about not allowing any drivers to be installed that haven’t received the Microsoft official stamp of approval. This isn’t such a bad idea, as maliciously hacked drivers can be very dangerous. Unfortunately, you run into cases like this where the vendor no longer supports their products and then when you try to install a 3rd party driver, Microsoft doesn’t want to let you. Here’s what we need to do:
In the charms menu, go to Settings, then Power. Hold down Shift on the keyboard and click “Reboot”. Choose “Troubleshoot”, “Advanced options”, “Startup Settings”, then “Restart”. Your computer will reboot, and present you with a menu letting you select various diagnostic options/modes. Pick “Disable Driver Signature Enforcement”. You will now boot into Windows in a special mode that will let us install our unofficial drivers. So far, so good.
From the desktop, press Win+X on your keyboard and select Device Manager, or type “Device Manager” into the Windows 8.1 Search charm. This will bring you to a list of all the hardware in your computer.
Find the listing for Netgear WG111v3 (it should have a yellow exclamation mark) and double-click it. Go to Drivers tab, then Update Drivers. Choose “Browse my computer for drivers software”, then Browse again. Locate the folder where you extracted the unofficial drivers and click Next. You will get a warning that the drivers are unsigned. This is normal. Choose to install them anyway. If you go to Device Manager after installation, you’ll notice that the Netgear adapter is now called Realtek RTL8187B instead. This is perfectly normal.
And there you have it, a working WG111v3 on Windows 8.1 x64!!! Congratulations on breaking free from the constraints of Netgear’s lack of support.