How do I connect my wireless laptop to the internet by cable?
April 27, 2009 6:11 AM   Subscribe

I'm having issues connecting my laptop to the internet. Wireless is fine, but I can't connect by cable at all.

I own a T60 thinkpad with Windows XP that I've used entirely for wireless internet access. I've moved to a place (Warsaw, PL) where the internet connection is only by cable. I don't see the connection showing up anywhere in Network Connections.

The cable is plugged in, and the light is on (a steady green light) but I can't access the internet at all. I've been unlucky finding the solution to my problem online so I thought I'd check with the hivemind on this one.

I don't see any ethernet-type hardware attached to my computer (just my wireless card - "11a/b/g Wireless LAN Mini PCI Express Adapter"). Is it possible my ethernet card is damaged? I don't receive any error messages of any sort - it's just that nothing happens when I plug my computer in.

I am currently on my friend's T61 thinkpad, which connects effortlessly when I plug the cable in. So I know the connection itself works. His network device is listed as "Intel(R) 82566MM Gigabit Network Connection". I haven't had luck figuring out what the correct device for my T60 should be.

If you have any follow-up questions I'll be checking this page often. Thanks!
posted by mammary16 to Computers & Internet (16 answers total)
Did you turn off the wired adapter in the BIOS?
posted by orthogonality at 6:13 AM on April 27, 2009

Driver issues? Go to Control Panel -> System -> Hardware tab (I think that's what it is, I haven't used XP in a while) -> Device Manager and see if there are any yellow exclamation marks anywhere.

If you do, pop in the driver CD that came with your laptop and reinstall the ethernet card.
posted by Xany at 6:20 AM on April 27, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks, orthogonality.

No - but I did remove some of the Thinkpad software a couple years ago so that may have disturbed some of the settings. I'm not savvy enough to go in there myself. Any tips on getting in there and checking it out?
posted by mammary16 at 6:20 AM on April 27, 2009

Response by poster: Xany -

I've gone into Device Manager. I see only the wireless adapter under the "Network Adapters" category. Also, no exclamation marks.
posted by mammary16 at 6:23 AM on April 27, 2009

If you only see the wireless adapter under "network adapters" then there is no driver installed for the wired ethernet adapter, which would certainly explain why things aren't working.

Do you have a "UNKNOWN DEVICES" category in device manager that has at least one device listed under it? If so, this is probably your ethernet adapter and all you have to do is go to the Lenovo website, put in your model information and download and install the latest driver for your ethernet adapter.

If you don't have anything under unknown devices, then this is a more serious issue and we probably can't help you via AskMe.
posted by kbanas at 6:30 AM on April 27, 2009

Response by poster: Kbanas -

I don't have any unknown devices I'm afraid. I'm going to call Lenovo now. Thanks for your help.
posted by mammary16 at 6:37 AM on April 27, 2009

Also, if you need help identifying what to download from the Lenovo website and how to install it, please give me the TYPE of your Thinkpad. It's on a sticker on the bottom - usually of format XXXX-XXX.

I'll look up the appropriate driver package.
posted by kbanas at 6:37 AM on April 27, 2009

Kbanas -

I don't have any unknown devices I'm afraid. I'm going to call Lenovo now. Thanks for your help.

That sucks. Orthogonality could certainly be right - it could be that the ethernet adapter is disabled via the BIOS, but if you don't recall doing this then it's unlikely it just 'happened' out of the blue.

Also, even if the onboard ethernet is toast somehow, you're not screwed. Your laptop should have an expansion slot - probably PCMCIA. You could buy an ethernet PCMCIA card for relatively cheap and install it. If you'd like some possible options let me know.
posted by kbanas at 6:40 AM on April 27, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks again, Kbanas. The type is 2613 - CTO.

You could buy an ethernet PCMCIA card for relatively cheap and install it.

That's a great idea - I'll look into that if my onboard adapter seems to be a dead end.
posted by mammary16 at 6:42 AM on April 27, 2009

Best answer: This is the kind of thing I'm talking about.
posted by kbanas at 6:43 AM on April 27, 2009

This is the driver for the ethernet adapter that is in your Thinkpad. It's a Intel PRO/1000 LAN adapter. You can try downloading and installing the package, just for kicks, but as I said, if it's not in Device Manager it's unlikely it will do anything.
posted by kbanas at 6:47 AM on April 27, 2009

You already tried a different ethernet cable, right?

And tried a different computer hooked up to the same ethernet cable?
posted by musofire at 7:04 AM on April 27, 2009

Response by poster: OK - somehow the driver magically appeared in Device Manager a half-hour ago. Since then, I uninstalled the driver and reinstalled the new one, and I'm connected now (there's the sticky matter of a password but you guys can't help me with that. :) )

Thank you everyone for your help!
posted by mammary16 at 7:41 AM on April 27, 2009

Best answer: Since the ethernet device has disappeared from your device manager, that means it's been turned off at the hardware level, or it's faulty. I'm guessing the former, and you just didn't notice previously because you didn't use it.

The first step is to check the bios:

While the "To interrupt normal startup, press the blue ThinkVantage button" message is displayed at the lower-left of the screen at bootup, press the F1 key.
Look through the options to see if the ethernet card is disabled.

Alternatively, you can download and install the configuration utility which I think should give you access to the same info via windows.

The next step is to run the diagnostics built in:
Run diagnostics on the Ethernet card.
Run PC Doctor diagnostics on the network card included with the ThinkPad system by pressing the F11 key or the Access IBM button during startup to access the predesktop menu area. If this method is not available for your system, then PC Doctor for DOS may be downloaded. This DOS version requires two or more floppy diskettes depending on the ThinkPad system.

Finally, laptop power management software often lets you disable the ethernet device to save power; if you've subsequently uninstalled the software, you wouldn't be able to turn it back on. You can download it from here and look through the power profiles to see if that helps.
posted by ArkhanJG at 7:47 AM on April 27, 2009

Hah, that'll teach me not to preview!
posted by ArkhanJG at 7:48 AM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Awesome mammary16! Happy surfing.
posted by kbanas at 7:48 AM on April 27, 2009

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