Greetings wise wizards of EE:
I'm helping a friend with a Dell Inspiron desktop with an AMD processor and 8 GB of RAM running Windows 7 Home. His desktop will not stay connected to his home wireless network via a Netgear USB wireless adapter. The disconnection is very, very random, and I have isolated the issue to his desktop, not the router, not his service and not the Netgear adapter.
His wireless signal strength is strong, but what happens is that the adapter simply either disconnects on its own, OR it produces a "No Wireless Network Connections Available" error message in the system tray... as if the adapter is being turned off on its own. I spent two hours troubleshooting and experimenting, during which time I connected with my aging Windows XP laptop the entire time, never once losing connection. My iPhone and his wireless printer, all on the same desk, also stayed connected. The wireless router is a relatively new AT&T wireless gateway, downstairs one level, about twenty feet away; there is no obstruction other than a wooden floor with no metal (that I know of); the signal strength is 4 out of 5 bars.
I am running out of ideas, and I am hoping that you wise wizards can help. Here is what I have tried:
I replaced his aging USB 2WIRE adapter with a brand new Netgear adapter
I lowered the WPA security to WEP & changed wireless channels to the gateway
I turned off the Windows firewall (no other firewall is present)
I tried using the Netgear wireless manager to connect, but when the Windows wireless manager shows "no connections available", neither does the Netgear wireless manager
I unchecked the "Allow windows to turn off the power to this device" option under the device manager for this wireless adapter
I tried connecting the adapter into different USB ports, both in front and in the rear of the tower
I am 99.999% confident that the issue is with the Windows 7 desktop, and not the network, but for the life of me, I cannot figure out why it randomly disconnects or turns off the adapter... unplugging and replugging the adapter SOMETIMES reconnects, sometimes not. A most annoying mystery. Please shout out if you have a relevant theory to this techno dilemma, any help would be most welcome.