Autoconnect to wireless in Windows 7 x64?

My company has six identical Dell Latitude E4200 computers. all are running preinstalled Windows 7 x64. I've installed updates and the same software on each and distributed all but one of them to users.

The first five will not automatically connect  to any wireless network. The sixth will automatically connect to the office wireless network (WPA-2)  but will not automatically connect to another wireless network (WEP) when I tested it. If I export the office wireless network connection settings of the sixth to a USB key and then import it on one of the first five, that one then automatically connects. So it seems to be some property of the connection.

On all six:

 The WLAN Auto Config service is set to Automatic and is started.

In the connection properties, "Connect automatically when this network is in range" is checked. I tried checking "Connect even if the network is not broadcasting its name".

The logged-in user is a local administrator.

WTF?
JonFlemingAsked:
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

naykamCommented:
First up I would try stripping the authentication to see if that is the issue
0
JonFlemingAuthor Commented:
I dunno ... it happens with WPA and WEP networks. I'm told none of the users can autoconnect at home. I don't know if any of them are without authentication...
0
naykamCommented:
Have you got the latest wireless card drivers? - and not just from windows update

Either from here: http://goo.gl/RrYU or the manufactures website (ie, broadcom or intel)
0
Redefine Your Security with AI & Machine Learning

The implications of AI and machine learning in cyber security are massive and constantly growing, creating both efficiencies and new challenges across the board. Check out our on-demand webinar to learn more about how AI can help your organization!

JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
If the computers are relatively new and came pre-loaded, then ask Dell.

Also, has Dell provided its own wireless tool? IBM does and I use it. If so, the Dell application may be taking precedence over Windows and so needs to be configured.

... Thinkpads_User
0
AmnonmCommented:
My suggestion is to delete the configured connection and try to search for it and connect instead of setting it up manually(in case it's not hidden).
in addition it will help installing dell wireless wireless utility
http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/network/p70008/en/utility.htm 
0
Russell_VenableCommented:
You will have to upload  from USB the configuration of your "computer 6" to all of the W7 machines you wish to auto connect. So they have the same configuration so on. I did this with my network and its running fine.
0
Russell_VenableCommented:
Oh yeah forgot! Make sure the user groups are all the same too!
0
JonFlemingAuthor Commented:
"You will have to upload  from USB the configuration of your "computer 6" to all of the W7 machines you wish to auto connect. So they have the same configuration so on. I did this with my network and its running fine."

That works for the office network. I need a solution that works for all networks, including ones they add themselves on the road.

"Ask Dell"

Not a bad idea.

"has Dell provided its own wireless tool"

No.

"in addition it will help installing dell wireless wireless utility"

I'll try that.

"Have you got the latest wireless card drivers? - and not just from windows update"

Yes, from Dell (and never from Windows Update ... I use WSUS and don'u download drivers).
0
Russell_VenableCommented:
Check the connections using the built-in wireless utility from the intel proset. If it can't connect using the current configuration I would strip the configuration and try doing it manually to make sure everything works. Also It has a diagnostics tool that allows you to manually run diagnostics.

Things to keep in mind are:

- Firewall blocking connections
- bad wireless configuration
- Authentification key is rejected. (Make sure the key is same key as the one you are attempting to auto-connect too)
- Signal strength is too low. (How far are they from the signal? Are they in a building with a lot of metal?)

Dell has this guide for Manually running Wireless Diagnostics.
http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/network/R196253/en/diagnovi.htm

Also to strip authentification go to:

Control Panel ->Network and Internet->Manage Wireless Networks

Right-Click the network that it is trying to auto-connect too. Right click on it and select properties. Then click on security tab.

Look at the following

Security type:
Encryption type
Network key:

select Security type: and choose "No Authentification(Open)"

If Security type shows "No Authentification(Open)" already it has no authentification. Easy enough right? Also you can check the priority of the wireless network  on the "Manage Wireless Networks" Folder if its not at the top of the list that might be why its not automatically connecting. To fix that specific issue you would select the wireless network that you want to be the primary wireless network to connect to and click and drag it to the top of the list.

If none of these helped come back and post your results.
0
JonFlemingAuthor Commented:
It connects just fine when I click the "Connect" button. The issue is that I have to click the "Connect" button, even though "Automatically connect" is selected. I tried stripping the authentication (the path to which is a little different in Windows 7) and got a prompt to enter the network key when I clicked the "Connect" button. I did so, and made "Connect automatically " was checked. It still won't connect automatically, I have to click the "Connect" button. See attached screeenshot of the Dell wireless utility:
Dell-WLAN-utility.png
0
AmnonmCommented:
one more thing did you try resetting the network controller configuration from device manager and set the channel to auto?
0
Russell_VenableCommented:
Try unchecking the auto-connect , reboot and recheck it. W7 automatically checks the auto-connect to on. If the problem persists you should reinstall the driver and check to see if its auto-connect is on by default if it is uncheck and reboot.
0
JonFlemingAuthor Commented:
Ok, how do I do this? Lots of good suggestions. thinkpads_user was close, so I'd like to give him some points.

The problem was Dell ControlPoint Connection Manager, which was running the card although it looked as if WIndows was running the card. Uninstall ControlPoint Connection Manager and all is peaches and cream.

I've often wondered why OEMS make utilities to run wireless cards. Ever since XP WIndows has been better than any OEM's utility.
0

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Windows 7

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.