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Troubleshooting Dell Wireless connection

(6 posts)
  • Started 7 years ago by BobJam
  • Latest reply from Dell-JimmyP
  • Topic Viewed 3755 times


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Posted yesterday 
Posts: 1052

I am troubleshooting a friend's computer.

His problem is this: He can't connect wirelessly BECAUSE his nephew wiped out his HDD when reinstalling Windows XP Pro for another issue (Printer malfunction . . . go figure). Consequently, the driver for his ethernet adapter/wireless card was wiped out.

His nephew talked to a Dell tech, but the tech was unable to solve the problem . . . maybe it was an off shore inexperienced tech that just read from a checklist. I don't know anything other than that the call was not any help.

Since he's coming up here in a few weeks (he lives in Southern California and I live in northwestern Arizona) and bringing his machine with him . . . a Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop, I'm going to troubleshoot it in detail then. Of course, he'll be well out of range for his wireless network, so I won't be able to check if the settings and driver work for sure. I may end up trying to do some remote assistance (CrossLoop) when he gets back to SoCal.

And he DOESN'T have a CD for the driver for the wireless card (which, BTW, I've discovered is embedded in his MOBO, which I expected for a laptop anyway). The chipset driver should take care of some of that.

But for now, I'm trying to get some info from him, specifically his hardware config on the machine . . . so that I can prepare and perhaps look for and download the drivers he needs. Plus, I don't even know if his nephew tried to install the Windows Pro default drivers from the CD driver library, so that might solve his problem.

Here's what I've done so far (and, BTW, this guy is TOTALLY computer illiterate . . . which is why I've decided to go no further 'till he brings the machine up):

1. Msinfo

I had him run an Msinfo report on adapters (Components>Network>Adapters in Msinfo) and email it to me. That was complete agony for both him and me, and it took me several emails and phone calls just to get him through it.

I finally got the report, and it had several entries that were "Not Available" and also a lot of "??". I've never seen that before but I was able to get enough clues that MAYBE he has the "Intel Pro 2200 Wireless" adapter and a Broadcom 440 ethernet 10/100 controller.

2. Belarc

I had him run a Belarc profile and send it to me (another tedious chore for both of us). Something I hadn't seen in the Balarc profille before was several "None detected" entries.

3. Service Tag stuff

Dell, on their support web site, offers quite a few diagnostic services, not the least of which is a listing of the config when the thing left the factory . . . sort of like the inventory packing slip with the system (which he DOESN'T have . . . and that was one of the first things I asked him for). All of these services are contingent on having the Service Tag, which is a sticker on the machine. I DID manage to get that from him, but not without several emails and a lot of torture.

5. System Configuration tool

Dell has a System Configuration Tool on their web site. Once again, that's contingent on using the Service Tag number. So when he brings his machine up, I'll probably run that.

6. Notebook System Software

Before I install any ethernet/wireless driver, Dell says I first have to install the "Notebook System Software". It looks like this is mostly a marketing ploy with a lot of Dell junk, but I'll do it anyway.

7. Chipset drivers

Likewise, Dell says I first need to install a chipset driver. Since I don't know yet what his chipset is, I'll see if the Dell System Configuration Tool can ID it. If not, I'll try some of the diagnostic tools I've listed below.

8. Everest

I just had him download Everest Home Edition from the Major Geeks site and put it on his desktop. I was going to have him run a diagnostic and send me the report, but I think I'll wait.

9. PCWizard

Same as Everest . . . just had him download it and save it to his desktop.

10. AIDA32 Enterprise

Same as above

11. Postings on Dell forum.

I've looked at some of these, and believe it or not there have been others in similar situations.

A restore is obviously out since his nephew wiped everything out, and so also may be the Dell recovery partition since I assume that was wiped out too.

If I can ID the chipset (which I'll likely be able to do with one of the diagnostics above), then maybe I can go from there.

There are plenty of drivers on the Dell site, but I won't know which ones to download 'till I look at his machine's guts.

What am I missing, or am I on the wrong track all together?

Posted 7 years ago
Posts: 3814

Regarding Everest you should get the Ultimate version from;lang=en . It's a 30-day trial but it will still display the network info. It supports many more chipsets then the 3 year old and discontinued free home edition.
I've used myself and to help other people on the forum and it seems to be good at identifing the network cards.

Edit: I suppose if the laptop is more then 3 years old then the free home edition may work.

Edit 2: Have you tried going to Dell's Support Site, selected Downloads and Drivers and entered the service tag?
That should list the extact drivers you need for it.

Posted 7 years ago
Posts: 2


The Dell Notebook system software is not marketing stuff, it contains patches and MS hotfixes. Here are some of the ones installed on the Inspiron 6000 when you run NSS.

Microsoft Windows XP SP1 USB QFE Q838989
Microsoft Windows XP SP2 USB QFE Q908673
Microsoft Windows XP SP2 USB QFE Q914642
Microsoft Windows XP SP2 IR QFE Q885855
Microsoft Windows XP SP2 multi-core processor QFE Q896256
install Pentium-M processor driver, enabling SpeedStep transitions
enable UDMA for optical drives
install 1KB On-Line Crash Analysis marker so that Dell is notified when users elect to send blue screen crashes to Microsoft.

All of the drivers for this system can be downloaded from Drivers and Downloads.

There is only one chipset driver for the 6000 but you will have to figure out what video card and wireless adapter he has.

You may want to try to do a factory restore, as you said the partition may be gone but if it's not it will save you a lot of time.

Posted 7 years ago
Posts: 1052

Hey Dell-JimmyP,

Coupla' questions on that Dell recovery partition. Like, how will I know it's there, how do I access it, and how do I run it?

More specifically:

1. How will I know it's there? Will it show up in Explorer (probably not, huh?), or will it show up in Administrative Tools>Computer Management>Disk Management? BTW, he has XP Pro and I have XP HE. Is the path to Disk Management the same in Pro as it is in HE?

2. How do I access it? Maybe this is the same question as #3 below, but I'd like to look at it first. So how do I browse it??

3. How do I run it. Is there a "setup.exe" in it, or do I type "recover" or something like that at the command prompt?


Posted 7 years ago
Posts: 17584

Posted 7 years ago
Posts: 2

The link whs put in shows you how to access it. If it works its there, if not then its probably gone. Its a hidden partition, I don't know of anyway to browse it but I'm pretty sure with the right tools and know how you could.

Posted 7 years ago

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