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Wireless functionality disappeared from Windows 7 on Sony VAIO

Posted on 2012-09-15
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Last Modified: 2012-10-20
A colleague of mine has a Sony VAIO VGN-Z890 laptop running Windows 7 Pro. Yesterday she told me that her wireless disappeared. Upon further inspection, I noticed that Network and Sharing center no longer even lists the Wireless Adapter - just the Wired LAN adapter. I already tried re-installing the wireless LAN drivers that came with the laptop but nothing is helping. The laptop is acting as if there was never any wireless functionality. I am completely stumped.

Original wireless drivers were Intel WiFi Link 5100 ver. 13 . I've already uninstalled the software and tried to install it back, nothing changes. I was trying to upgrade to ver. 15 but it says to contact Sony. How can I get the laptop to detect the wireless adapter?
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Question by:XAnalyzer
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16 Comments
 
LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:helpfinder
ID: 38402281
Does this model have some hardware button/switch for enable/disable wireless functionality (usualy on back or front chasis side)
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Author Comment

by:XAnalyzer
ID: 38402283
Yes in the front, switching it On, only turns on Bluetooth (and a green light turns on)
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Expert Comment

by:Michael-Best
ID: 38402322
"Yes in the front, switching it On, only turns on Bluetooth (and a green light turns on) "
That switch also operates the wireless so set it to on.
Check Maximum Performance is selected for Wireless Adapter Settings in the Power Options.
Go to devices and see if the wireless is flagged & troubleshoot it from there.
Try FixWin:
http://www.thewindowsclub.com/repair-fix-windows-7-vista-problems-with-fixwin-utility
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 38402356
Normally the wireless card is removable (field replaceable), at least for the machines I service. So if the test above (Device Manager) reveals no card, then you should be able to remove and replace it.

It is feasible (but not likely, in my opinion) that the card needs to be re-seated.

.... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:XAnalyzer
ID: 38402364
Most likely the wireless adapter became unseated because Windows 7 does not even recognize it's existence. Any idea where I can find details of re-seating the wireless adapter, I checked http://esupport.sony.com/US/p/model-home.pl?mdl=VGNZ890&template_id=1®ion_id=1&tab=manuals#/manualsTab but do not see any high-level guide to replacing parts.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 38402367
I looked at the manual just before you posted, and sadly, I do not see any way to get to the wireless card.  I am looking at the same link as you.

All they say is get it serviced.

My Wireless NIC is under my keyboard and can be readily changed/upgraded.

I will keep looking.  .... Thinkpads_User
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Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 1000 total points
ID: 38402368
Here is a post about the same problem. Not everyone could solve the problem, and in the end, the advice at the bottom of the post was to get it serviced.

http://www.designstudioschool.com/solution-for-wifi-card-not-recognized-vgn-t124713.html

.... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:XAnalyzer
ID: 38402369
thanks for your help
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by:John Hurst
ID: 38402462
Here is a web page that details taking apart a Sony VAIO VGN-Z890 laptop.

http://www.yann.com/en/taking-apart-a-sony-vaio-to-replace-the-hard-disk-drive-24/08/2010.html

You need to remove 21 small screws to open up the machine. Then you need to find the wireless NIC. They may have embedded it on something else. This post (above) is about replacing the hard drive.

... Thinkpads_User
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Expert Comment

by:Michael-Best
ID: 38402580
On this model the Verison Wireless is built-in, thus not a Do IT Yourself repair.
Did you do the checks I suggested?
If the wireless does not show in Device Manager then it may need replacing which requirers Sony service.
You may consider it cheaper to use a wireless USB dongle rather than Sony service which is $200+
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Expert Comment

by:ChiefIT
ID: 38402979
It could be disabled in BIOS or disabled in Device manager. If disabled in Device manager you will not see it within my network connections unless you go to connection manager for all connections and it will show as disabled.

Another thing you can do is reset the IP stack. Sometimes the wireless and wired IP stacks get confused and wireless can disappear. This rarely happens, though. Out of the 10k computers, I have only seen about 3 to four that reseting the IP stack fixes this issue.

Most likely, it's disabled in device manager.
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rindi earned 1000 total points
ID: 38403019
Just something further you can try. Earlier it was mentioned that you have a button to switch wireless on and off, and that button also applies to Bluetooth. Most of the time with such a combined button, you have to press the button several times until it acts on what you need to turn on or off. The first press may turn bluetooth on, the 2nd could turn it off again, the 3rd could turn on wireless Lan, the 4th could turn that off again, and the 5th might turn both on, or there may be another sequence. So try that button again several times.
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Author Comment

by:XAnalyzer
ID: 38403528
What I did was install the oldest version of Intel Proset (ver. 13) to see if maybe it was a driver issue. Now if I turn the switch to ON, it no longer lights up even for Bluetooth. Some of you mention that it may be disabled in Device Manager? I expanded the Device Manager to show Hidden items and I do not see anything that indicates Wireless is present or problematic (no exclamation points). The strangest part of all of this is that the wireless worked just fine up until a few days ago. Then it disappeared and the laptop acts as if its not there. This makes me believe that the physical component (wireless NIC) disconnected from the board?

@Michael: Yes it does come with the Verizon software. Why does that make it more difficult to open?
@ChiefIT: How can I reset the IP stack?
@thinkpads_user: Thank you for finding me the instructions to do this.
@rindi: I will try this but doubt it would be that "easy"

Thanks all
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Expert Comment

by:ChiefIT
ID: 38403699
To reset the IPstack, go to the command prompt and type:

Netsh int IP reset

One last thing. Vista had a problem with the USB driver knocking off the wireless NIC. I hope Win7 isn't going down this path as well. The fix was to update the USB drivers.
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Author Closing Comment

by:XAnalyzer
ID: 38517910
It appears that it might be a hardware or circuit related issue as the wireless will go on and off at random. Even after re-installing Windows. However, when toggling the wireless switch on/off back and forth, eventually the wireless will turn on -similar to starting a car's ignition by trying over and over again until the engine starts up. Very strange problem.

Thank you all for your help.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 38517923
Thank you and I was happy to help.
.... Thinkpad_User
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