How to set Preferred Network (Wireless) under Vista
Posted on 2011-09-30
This is for my customer. I fix PCs for a living. I am not onsite yet and need this answered BEFORE I go onsite (which will be 4 hours after this is posted 11:30 AM EST in the USA on 9/30/11) so I request a QUICK response if possible.
OS Is Vista. SP level unknown. There are two wireless routers (one Apple Airport Extreme and one Linksys and THAT info is 100% irrelevant to my question I believe). It is possible to manually connect to EITHER router and have internet. (NOTE: I do not know the details but that implies to me there are two Comcast modems (one in basement and the other on the 2nd floor as that is where the two routers are) and the two routers are each connected to one of the modems. Comcast is the ISP.)
I want to FORCE the PC to ALWAYS try to autoconnect at boot to one of the routers (the Airport Extreme) FIRST and the other ONLY if no connection is possible to the Airport Extreme (which should NEVER happen BTW). OR (see Question Two below) never connect at boot to the Linksys. It appears (from what customer told me on phone before I go onsite) that SOMETIMEs the PC connects to the Linksys (NOT DESIRED except in unusual situations) and not the Airport Extreme. Example might be if the signal strength for the Linksys is stronger than for the Airport Extreme.
In Windows XP HERE is how you do that. Start>Network Connections Then Right Click the Wireless adapter Icon and select Properties. Then click the Wireless Networks tab. Then in the list of Preferred Networks, hilight the Airport Extreme SSID (router name if you like) and then click the "Move up" button on the right until the Airport Extreme is at the top of the list.
It is also possible to select the Linksys and then click the Remove button so it is NEVER connected to at boot.
MY QUESTION: What are the DETAILED step by step instructions to do this in Vista OR provide a link to the same thing. I want detailed instructions UNLESS my idea immediately below is the answer. If so say that what is immediately below is the answer. OTHERWISE, provide a solution for Vista. ASSUME that Windows Vista is handling the wireless.
My Idea: FIRST go to Network and Sharing Center and then select the "Network Adapters" entry in the left column (which displays the same thing as Network Connections in Windows XP). Then follow EXACTLY the same instructions as I provide for Windows XP above.
SECOND QUESTION: If I REMOVE the Linksys from the Preferred Network list (assuming the same (or for the purpose of this Second Question) similar solution to XP case applies), can the customer still MANUALLY connect to the Linksys by going to the Network Connections Icon in the lower right toolbar and clicking it and seeing the available Wireless SSIDs available and selecting the Linksys etc. ??
Why am I asking this 2nd question: Because it is a MUCH CLEANER solution than putting the Airport Extreme above the Linksys in the Preferred Network list (or whatever the Vista equivalent is), but the ability to MANUALLY connect to the Linksys must NOT be removed from this PC per the customer.
In case you are curious as to WHY I want to do this (even if the Linksys has stronger signal strength) the answer is that there is a Network Printer connected to the Airport Extreme and hence to ALWAYS make that printer useable by the PC, then the PC **MUST** be connected to the Airport Extreme and not the Linksys. Also I have oversimplified the situation above. In fact there are TWO Vista PCs and one MAC and ALL THREE must have the ability to print to the network printer connected to the Airport Extreme. I know how to answer my question here for the MAC and for Windows XP PCs (not the case here) but not for Vista (and I have no Vista PC in my office right now to play around with) and THAT is why I am posting here.