Netgear Wireless PC Adapter trouble
February 23, 2006 9:45 AM   Subscribe

Trouble with a Netgear MA 521 Wireless PC Adapter conking out

Yesterday morning I woke up to my computer being unable to connect wirelessly. We have a Netgear router, and I have a MA 521 Wireless PC Adapter, and a Dell Inspiron 2650, running XP home. I did not make any changes to the computer, no adding or removing anything etc. Just a normal day of opening and closing the laptop, going online, etc.

What have I tried? All number of combinations of reparing the driver, shutting down the computer without the card or driver, reinstalling the driver after that, etc. I have been all over message boards (including having a friend translate some French ones) to no avail. I called Netgear. They say it is not a hardeware problem, so they can't help. I looked on the Microsoft help site and got this article, which is the same problem exactly, but on a Toshiba. But when I called Microsoft, they could not find the fix (you will see that there is no direct link to the fix on that page), but offered to connect me with paid support. I called Dell, and they can't help me either, unless I pay for the support. In fact, all three places could not help me on the phone, but if I paid for support, they would be happy to try. No guarantee that they even know how to fix it, though.

Basically, it is an issue with IRQ conflict of some sort, and the card can't find enough resources to function. Device manager shows it as a Code 12. I have tried to take care of this with the meager help provided through XP, again, to no avail.

*cue violins* I am in the final writup stages of my dissertation, and I do not need this at all (yes, it is backed up). Any ideas before I shell out money?
posted by oflinkey to Computers & Internet (1 answer total)
"I did not make any changes to the computer, no adding or removing anything etc."

That you know about.

Maybe you've got Automatic Update turned on, and an anti-virus program updating automatically, and maybe other things that are "updated" without you specifically requesting such be done. It would be worth doing some investigating of this, before doing much else. Search for new files by date, see when your last system restore point was set, try reverting that, etc.

The code 12 issue could result simply from you (incorrectly) trying to re-install drivers. Are you sure you had that error before trying to fix it? If you want to continue down that road, try stopping the device safely, removing it physically, deleting the device from your system, restarting the machine with the device out of the system, and then inserting the PCMCIA after the re-boot. If your system is then truly "clean," the New Hardware Found wizard will pop up to guide you through a re-install of your card. If you get the wizard, it's 98% probable you won't have any resource conflicts after re-installing.

But assuming you don't have any joy with that tack, the next thing to try is seeing if you can make a wired connection. If your regular Ethernet port isn't working either, and you think it was before you noticed this problem, then you have some probability of the issue being some software problem. If your wired Ethernet port is working, then I'd start suspecting the PCMCIA card, or the wireless router with which you connect. A replacement PCMCIA card would cost less than an incident call with any of the vendors you mention, and if it doesn't fix your problem, could be returned to the retailer you bought it from. If you get past the code 12 problem, but still can't make a wireless connection, you could take your machine to a nearby WiFi hotspot to see if you can make a connection there, thus ruling in or out possible problems with your router.
posted by paulsc at 10:19 AM on February 23, 2006

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