Automatically turn off WLAN on Thinkpad T40

Posted on 2007-03-21
Last Modified: 2013-11-17
Hi, I have an annoying problem that I have encountered before on Thinkpads. When Wireless radio is switched on and the computer is out on the field, login can sometimes take several minutes before the computer "gives up" trying to login via wireless. Turning off or disabling wlan makes the computer able to login directly without the long timeout. I know that pressing fn+f5 at the login prompt enables the user to switch off wireless before attempting to log in but this is an extra step to perform that is easily forgotten. When you switch on the laptop and have 5 minutes available to perform some task this can be extremely annoying.

So, does anyone know how to set wireless to be always off at startup? If someone know of another way to get rid of these login issues that will work as well but I'd rather have a way of turning off the radio. It's totally OK if it's a quick and dirty fix like a bat-script that runs every time the computer is started (or shut down) and turns of the radio.

Matti Jääaro
Question by:Debugger_systems
  • 2

Expert Comment

ID: 18764120
Hi Matti,

What I use on my laptop (using Windows XP Pro SP2) is different Hardware Profiles for the environment for which I am using.  I currently have 3:

Wired Networking - This disables the wireless network card and enables the wired card.

Wireless Networking - The opposite of above

Maximum Battery - Disables any hardware which isn't required for long stints on a ferry, train etc (such as network cards, modem, bluetooth, etc)

To do this:

Open System Properties, Hardware, Hardware Profiles

Rename the current default profile (i.e. Wired Networking as in my example above)

copy that profile and rename   the copied profile to something else (ie.  Wireless Networking)

Now open Device Manager and disable the devices you don't want to have working on the respective profiles.

Once you've done that, reboot and you'll get a boot menu giving the Harware Profile Option

Choose the non-default profile, and once you have logged in, enable and disable all the devices you need or don't need in that respective profile.

Hope all that isn't too confusing!  I confuse myself sometimes.

Good luck,


Expert Comment

ID: 18764191

Author Comment

ID: 18764516
OK, hardware profiles seem like a nice thing, they would probably work for me but not for the user I have in mind. It would only fix those times when the user is out of the office and sure that he won't be using WLAN. I could also envision the user in this case bringing up his laptop in the cab to work on some presentation, slam the lid shut and then opening it up inside the airport terminal. He will then call me at four in the morning complaining about having to reboot the machine to get wireless working. Similarly, the times my user doesn't know whether or not to use WLAN when booting up. Unplugging his laptop in the office to go sit in the conference room and use wireless would also cause him to have to shut down all programs and reboot.

However, the most common case is that often he DO want to use some wireless hotspot on the airport or hotel or client office. Since he can't configure the wireless connection until well inside windows, he will then still have to endure the logon timeouts since the adapter will be enabled before reaching the login prompt.

I need a solution where wireless radio is always turned off during startup but where I (or rather the end user in this case) still have the option to easily turn it on when I need to, either by using fn+f5 or Thinkvantage "access connections". Any solution that involves going into the device manager etc. will not work on this user ;-)

Accepted Solution

jsvor earned 250 total points
ID: 18764945
You should be able to use devcon from Microsoft to achieve what you want (  Using devcon you should be able to have a logoff script that will disable the wireless connection.  You could then create a script to re-enable the wireless connection and put a shortcut on the desktop for the user if he wants to go wireless.

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