One of the more tedious aspects of installing a new operating system is finding the drivers for your hardware devices. In many cases computers are only assigned their original operating systems and this can make even a simple upgrade become a risky venture.
In most cases your Linux operating system will come with either all of the needed drivers or at least a driver detection tool, this is particularly true of Linux Mint, Ubuntu, and Debian based systems. However without an internet connection the tool can’t do anything or worse, won’t recognize drivers until after several rounds of updates. In the case of a more strictly open source based operating system like Fedora you might find installing wireless cards somewhat challenging.
Tethering to a smartphone via usb before running the driver tool will often enable the correct wifi drivers, an ethernet cable can do this as well if your router is accessible. Run your updates followed by the driver manager and if your system for whatever reason doesn’t have a driver manager you might install one via command line. (Gnome tools for example) Be sure to check all of the settings in your update manager though because it’s usually hiding there.
Upgrading drivers from the device manager may only yield the frustration of not finding drivers, or worse, replacing a driver with a less desirable driver. Windows update offers to install drivers under the advanced settings. Click allow updates for other microsoft products and third party applications. This may only offer limited success in which case…
The manufacturer’s website for the hardware may have compatible drivers, if they say they do not then try the drivers that worked on the last version of Windows you were using and install it using compatibility settings. On a rare occassion it may be incompatible or say the driver is unsigned and cannot be installed. If that happens you can search for forums of angry users facing the same issue and usually find a solution posted.
Beta drivers. AMD and Intel both have drivers pages that list beta drivers that work on many types of hardware configurations and other vendors might do the same thing. This might be a necessary step to get a graphics hardware accelerator driver for gaming, but otherwise you might find a safer workaround.
Wireless still isn’t working?
Be sure to switch the device off and on if it has a hardware switch!
Otherwise I’ve used a program called 3dp.net in spite of the malicious software warning to get wireless drivers in rare instances. The malicious software warning is due to the installer trying to offer crapware downloads which can be avoided by unticking boxes, or uninstalled if you missclick. The major downside is in their hardware driver selections they practically lock their name onto the drivers they provide in some cases meaning that a ralink wireless driver becomes a 3DP Ralink Driver, and then Windows can not replace it if it finds an ordinary ralink driver. (If it works though who cares right?) You can uninstall the 3dp driver via device manager from time to time and check for the appropriate driver if you choose.
If after most of these steps you can not find compatible driver, then depending on the hardware that needs it you might find inexpensive replacement hardware that is compatible, i.e. an inexpensive new video card or wireless card that has full support on your new operating system.