Need help connecting to a wireless network with Windows XP Home Edition
January 18, 2010 11:01 AM   Subscribe

I got a virus on my laptop, which was running Windows XP. To fix it, my boyfriend wiped everything on it and then reinstalled XP (home edition). Everything works fine now except that he can't get it connected to a wireless network. Any ideas for fixing this problem?
posted by spinto to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
Have you reinstalled the drivers that came with your laptop? If you don't have the disc you can find them with google-fu.
posted by lakerk at 11:03 AM on January 18, 2010

What do you use to connect to the internet? Intel Proset Wireless?
posted by DeltaForce at 11:04 AM on January 18, 2010

As lakerk mentioned, you might have to reinstall the driver for your wireless app.
posted by DeltaForce at 11:05 AM on January 18, 2010

What do you mean by "can't get it connected to a wireless network"? It will help to know what the make and model of your laptop is.

I've fixed this problem for people in the past (problems with wireless after a fresh install of windows on a laptop). From what I recall, the first two things to check would be:

(Sorry, I'm far away from home with only Macs on hand, so I can't give you the exact path, but these instructions should point you in the right direction.)

1) Go to your control panel, switch to the classical view (button in upper left corner) to get away from the horrible "streamlined" interface, and open Network Settings. One of the icons in Network Settings takes you to your wireless settings. Somewhere in your wireless settings is a radio button titled along the lines of "use windows to configure my wireless network settings." By default it is off, you want to click it on.

2) You might need to install the wireless drivers off of a thumb drive or disk, and then you will probably have to do step 1.
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 11:13 AM on January 18, 2010

I've been using the Dell Wireless WLAN utility. I'll try reinstalling the drivers, thanks. If I don't have the disk, what's the best way to identify which drivers I need?
posted by spinto at 11:13 AM on January 18, 2010

Derive the Hamiltonian of... : Thanks. It's a Dell Inspiron 1300.
posted by spinto at 11:15 AM on January 18, 2010

If you go to this support page, and enter the proper ID for your machine, it will tell you what you need. Just follow the prompts.
posted by jeffamaphone at 11:16 AM on January 18, 2010

Does the laptop have a button or function key on it somewhere with the little wireless antenna logo? You may need to press to enable wireless. These buttons are sometimes stuck in places you might not notice, like the front or side edge (as opposed to the top surface of the keyboard).
posted by ellenaim at 11:34 AM on January 18, 2010

I should note that my advice #1 above will switch you over to using Windows' default wireless utility. I don't know whether the Dell wireless utility is preferable to the windows default, but it's worth switching in case the problem is some setting or compatibility issue in the Dell utility you have installed.
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 11:44 AM on January 18, 2010

XP didn't have wireless support originally - it was added in a service pack, don't remember if it was sp1 or 2. So the first thing to check is that you are running at least SP2. If not, nothing you do is going to make wireless work in a OS that doesn't support wireless.

No, I'm not speaking from experience here. Why would you think that? ;)
posted by COD at 1:28 PM on January 18, 2010

Yes, first ensure that Windows XP has been patched to at least Service Pack 2. If you have a legit copy of WinXP, use the Windows Update program that's in your start menu. If not, use something like Autopatcher.

If you're using WinXP SP2 or later and still cant connect to a Wireless network, you may need to flush your TCPIP settings. Best way to do that is to click on Run from your Start Menu, then type cmd into the box and hit enter. In the black window that opens afterwards, type this;

netsh interface ip delete arpcache

Then, assuming you also have the right drivers for your wireless adaptor installed, and it's set up as an ad-hoc network, you should be able to connect. If not, I'm plum outta ideas.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:49 PM on January 18, 2010

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