ThinkPad T42 wireless connection problem
November 30, 2009 5:40 PM   Subscribe

Windows XP Home network connection issues.

My son's girlfriend has an IBM ThinkPad T42. In the last couple of days its network connectivity has gone haywire. It has an Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG adapter and an Intel Pro/1000MT wired connection, and the laptop is running XP Home, Service Pack 3. Here's what it does:

As soon as I enable the wireless adapter and connect to a network (either secured or unsecured) the connection bounces from disconnected to connected and back again, over and over ad infinitum.

I can't enable the wired adapter at all (it just stays disabled while the "Local Area Connection - Enabling" message shows, after which it disappears with the connection still disabled), which is what makes me think this is a software problem rather than a hardware problem. I have tried all of the following (not necessarily in this order):

1) reset the TCP/IP stack ("netsh int ip reset resetlog.txt")

2) Uninstalled and reinstalled TCP/IP

3) removed and reinstalled the network adapter drivers

4) system restore to earlier restore point

5) installed a PCMCIA wireless card (same result - connected/disconnected over and over)

6) run Malwarebytes (no malware detected)

At this point I am ready to throw in the towel and reinstall Windows unless someone has any better ideas. I don't really mind doing this, but it always irritates me to resort to a reinstall when it seems like there really should be a simpler fix.

Any ideas?
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Rule out hardware problems first, by seeing if it works when you boot a current Ubuntu live CD on it. Ubuntu has had no-fiddling-required support for Intel wireless for quite some time now.
posted by flabdablet at 5:55 PM on November 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

I worked with someone a couple years ago on a very similar issue -- same computer, same network card. Their connection dropped frequently, but not quite bouncing as you describe.

I'd be suspicious of your router. The wired network card not working may not be related to the wireless connection problem. What brand of router do you have?

Can you bypass the router and plug the cable/DSL modem directly to the ethernet port? With the wireless card: were you able to get an IP address through DHCP ? When you tried to enable the wired card, was it plugged in to the router? Did that change the result?
posted by RelentlesslyOptimistic at 6:19 PM on November 30, 2009

nthing the router issue. what kind of router are you using, and how old is it?
posted by lester's sock puppet at 6:34 PM on November 30, 2009

Are you using the latest intel drivers? They have a driver update utility here. Id also disable any firewalls and make sure the DHCP service is running.

Seconding running an ubuntu or bartpe disc to verify its not hardware.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:18 PM on November 30, 2009

Response by poster: Router's a year-old Linksys WRT54G and there are six other PCs in the house connecting to it with no problems, so I think we can safely rule that out.

I'm going to take it with me to work tomorrow and try Ubuntu. We'll see what happens.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 8:30 PM on December 1, 2009

I mean the DHCP client service on the PC not the router.
posted by damn dirty ape at 5:44 AM on December 2, 2009

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