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Windows 7: WLAN Mini-card Good, but cannot detect WIFI ??

28 Dec 2012   #1

Windows XP Pro SP3, Windows 7 Pro 32-bit, Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit, Windows XP Home SP3
WLAN Mini-card Good, but cannot detect WIFI ??

guys this one has me stumped cold. Dell Inspiron laptop, very clean software wise, had original mini-card [internal] which could not detect any wifi networks - known good wifi AP's. All the windows checked showed the device working properly but I finally replaced it with one of the better "n" cards out there. Same thing all over again. Put it right next to a working AP, cannot detect a thing. Antennae is hooked up properly.

If I plug a good WIFI stick into USB, it works immediately, no drama.

I have no idea what is preventing this from detecting anything. What should I be looking for?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2013   #2
Saurabh A

Windows 7 64bit

Hi zapp22,

It appears that the 'Wireless Card' is currently 'Disabled'; please check its status in 'BIOS' and 'enable' it if needed. To access 'BIOS' you may follow the steps listed below:
- Power off the laptop > Power it back on and at 'Dell splash screen', repeatedly tap 'F 2 key' (BIOS screen should appear) > Usually 'Dell Inspiron' laptops have a 'category' named 'Advanced' > Ensure that WLAN is enabled > 'Save Settings' and 'Exit'
(Note: BIOS setup may vary based on different laptop models)

If the wireless card still does not detect any networks in 'Windows', try tapping <Function><F2> or only <F2> if the previous key combination does not work. This is the 'radio control' for the 'Wireless Card' installed in the system.

Hope this helps. Do reply with the finding; would be glad to assist.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2013   #3

Windows XP Pro SP3, Windows 7 Pro 32-bit, Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit, Windows XP Home SP3

yep - figured it out a few days ago. hindsight is great - I should have extensively googled it before posting as it fooled a lot of owners of these models. there is no visual indication of the soft-switch having been invoked either way, and it is slow to respond, but I read enough posts to see that this was probably it, and it was. the function key in this case turns off/on the radio, so the only indication you have at all is that it is not receiving any signals [no wireless ap's in the box]. no other hint..

now that we know better, we look for the bluetooth "on" indicator in the taskbar - in this model we have no option to turn on wifi but not bluetooth, other than disabling bluetooth via device manager

thank you for your diligence!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

03 Jan 2013   #4
Saurabh A

Windows 7 64bit

Hi zap22,

'Happy New Year' :)

Thank you for the reply. Glad that you got the 'wireless card' to work. Dell offers a feature to control the 'Bluetooth' in 'Windows Mobility Center'; you may find the following steps useful:

Open 'Windows Mobility Center' (Customized by Dell)
Click 'Radio Control' Options
Place a check mark besides the 'hardware button' to only control 'WPAN, not wireless'
Use <Fn><F2> to turn Bluetooth on/off while always leaving WiFi on

Hope this helps. Do reply if you have any further questions.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 WLAN Mini-card Good, but cannot detect WIFI ??

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