Not So Amazing Laptop
January 18, 2021 11:58 AM   Subscribe

Can a USB modem be used on a laptop that had a board level internet access failure?

I purchased a HP laptop from the Amazon website. It was an exciting find. Ryzen 7 4000 series 32MB Ram 1Tb HD for a very reasonable price.
It lost internet connectivity yesterday. Windows diagnostics says it is a board level failure
I had not read the website information thoroughly. Years of good experience with Amazon gave me confidence that a forensic study of the site was not needed. The package arrived from AMAZING WAREHOUSE DEAL. I didn't think about it and have been using it happily until yesterday.
I learned that AMAZING WAREHOUSE DEAL (Yeaher Inc in Cincinnati) is where Amazon sells returns. Refunds are only issued within 14 days and only if the item is in the original packaging. I need to be prepared that I am probably stuck with this thing. I do admit that if I had know that this was a refurb I still would have bought it.
posted by Raybun to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
Depends if the USB port works. Do you have a mouse or keyboard that you can plug in and find out?
posted by meowzilla at 12:02 PM on January 18

USB 3.0 that I have used.
posted by Raybun at 12:09 PM on January 18

Can you use a wireless USB adapter, like this one? There are also similar wired USB adapters, if you prefer to run an Ethernet cable to your laptop.
posted by alex1965 at 12:39 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]

It would be useful to get an exact model / part number for the laptop, sometimes the WiFi is a replaceable card that can be swapped fairly easily.

If not, a USB WiFi dongle is definitely something one can buy, I have used them in the past with success. As long as the USB port works properly with a USB pen drive you should also be able to use the same port for a USB WiFi dongle.
posted by doomsey at 12:40 PM on January 18

Why do you need a modem? Are you using dial-up? If you are using Wi-Fi, a USB dongle will work. If you are using ethernet, the same thing.
posted by Ferrari328 at 12:40 PM on January 18

I have been using a wireless keyboard in the USB receptacle that is functioning

HP Envy 360.

Should have said dongle instead of modem
posted by Raybun at 12:49 PM on January 18

I do this all the time with older Dell laptops and it works just fine. Actually it works way better than I expected it to. I even use the cheap $17 USB wifi antenna that alexa1965 linked to. And it works great-- IF you go into the Windows device manager and turn off the internal wifi network card so that the computer is always using the external USB antenna. It's easy, you'll figure it out. Trust me, it's a snap to do. If you have absolutely no one else and you can't figure it out, memail me and I'll help you do it remotely.
posted by seasparrow at 12:59 PM on January 18

I had an older Lenovo laptop where the built-in wifi died and popping in a USB dongle/modem worked fine. There might be a board level failure as far as the built-in wifi chip is concerned but as long as your USB is working it'll be able to do whatever USB can do.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:25 PM on January 18

Thank you everybody

Ordered up a dongle. Will be here Thursday.
posted by Raybun at 1:33 PM on January 18

For what it's worth, I've "fixed" two laptops in which the wifi failed because of a dislodged connector. (In one case the connection between the transciever and the antenna, in the other case a dislodged daughter board.) If you ever had another reason to open up the laptop case, or doing so sounds like fun, there's a reasonable chance a connector just got shaken loose in transit.
posted by eotvos at 2:32 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]

Just WHICH port/board has failed? Wifi?

You can get a WiFi dongle easily. Order one with at least AC compatibility please. Not the cheapest N compatible version.
posted by kschang at 10:33 AM on January 19

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