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Dell Latitude WiFi adapter(s) not recognized/WiFi Switch not working

Posted on 2012-12-28
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I have several Latitude D620's & D630's.  This morning, one of the D630's (with a Broadcom wireless adapter) was working fine on WiFi.  This evening, Windows XP Pro SP3 Device Manager doesn't even show the adapter.  I rebooted.  Same thing.  I checked the BIOS (in case the 7-year old had done something).  Everything seemed to be in order.  Connecting an ethernet cable seems to work fine.  I attempted to re-install the driver but that failed saying that there were no wireless adapters detected.  I removed the adapter and put it in my D620 (which is using an Intel PROset wireless adapter).  I knew the drivers weren't loaded, I just wanted to see if Windows recognized it as a network adapter.  It did recognize it.  I move the Intel PROset to the problematic D630.  It was not recognized.  The other interesting thing here is the WiFi switch (on the left side of the laptop) and the WiFi light above the top-right of the keyboard.  The WiFi light is always on.  When I change the position of the switch, the small wireless antenna icon appears on the screen.  It doesn't matter whether I'm putting the switch in the ON or OFF position, the icon always displays the ON position (i.e. not with the red circle-slash covering the icon).  In any case, the WiFi light stays on.  Since I've determined that it's not the adapter, what could it be?  Given the behavior of the switch and light, could the problem be with the switch?  Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide.
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Question by:lrbarrios
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 38728516
Try resetting TCP/IP to see if refreshing TCP/IP assists.

Other things to consider in a 7 year old machine:
1. There could be a motherboard hardware problem (the wireless NIC socket or farther in).
2. Run System File Checker to see if the OS needs some repairs. SFC /SCANNOW and allow to complete and then restart.
3. Check for viruses and malware.

.... Thinkpad_User
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Accepted Solution

by:
Scott Thompson earned 125 total points
ID: 38728525
I believe it is problem one that Thinkpads_User listed. Sounds like a hardware issue, most likely the Slot itself. Just to take wireless issues out of the equation, hook up and install a USB Wireless Adapter.
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Author Comment

by:lrbarrios
ID: 38735064
But what about the WiFi switch behavior?  Any ideas there? Regardless of what I do, it thinks it's on... which is just the opposite of what everything is saying.  Hmm...
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Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 125 total points
ID: 38735078
The WiFi switch is a very simple ON/OFF switch in most cases. It could be defective, but you would have to get the motherboard out to see.

.... Thinkpads_User
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Author Closing Comment

by:lrbarrios
ID: 38749488
I suppose, sometimes, the best solution is the simplest solution.  I'll dig up a USB wireless adapter.  That'll get me running again until I have time to dismantle the beast to get to the WiFi switch.  Thanks.
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