XP Networking issue
Mr-Messy
Status: Curious
Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 7
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Equipment:
Toshiba Satellite 100 - 2.5ghz centrino duo, 2G ram
XP Media Center SP 3
XP Autoupdate enabled

I figure this is beyond being a routine problem, and that my level of expertise is somewhat more than average.

I had a crash after the power cord was pulled. Upon rebooting, it stalled. Rebooting with save mode revealed that windows was unable to load the software hive file, due corrupt, no backup or log.

Found a method to at least get a bootable machine by using an older copy of the software hive file. That was an adventure on its own.

There have been a few issues as a result of the "repair" job, but so far nothing major except for the wireless network connection. The cabled connection works fine to the wireless router. My wife's wireless connection is still functioning fine.

When I discovered that the wireless was broken, I did a couple of things right away. First, I updated the drivers for the Intel WiFi 3945abg wireless card and pro/set software. That did not work, so under the off chance that it was the computer itself I updated the BIOS with no problems.

Still no success. There was one brief moment when the pro/set software actually showed my wireless network and a few others in the neighbourhood. At this point I am not sure what happened. All I know is that it now several uninstalls, rollbacks and installs and updates later and windows still does not see any wireless networks. The Intel Pro/Set wireless software is unable to update itself because it cannot uninstall the previous version. I know the wireless card works because Netstumbler sees networks when run. There was another utility (whose name I forget - possibly Microsoft?) I used that also saw the available wireless networks

So, I know the card works. I know that there are wireless networks that I should be able to see including mine that I should be able to connect to.

I have tried everything I know, I have googled at length and have had no success at all. I am still going to look, but decided that it was time to talk to an expert.

Any ideas?
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Addendum
Mr-Messy
Status: Curious
Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 7
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The wireless router had the DCHP disabled and assigned IP addresses based on MAC name/number. The wireless card MAC name is unchanged.
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techAdmin
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Joined: 26 Sep 2003
Posts: 3762
Location: East Coast, West Coast? I know it's one of them.
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Wait, is the second post a fix, but enable dhcp first, before doing the below.

wow, I'm impressed, you did every single thing right, right down the list.

If you haven't tried this yet (let's assume your replacement hive file is missing some wifi components) do this:

uninstall the wifi driver, using the device manager, then uninstall any intel related software to run the wifi.

Reboot once.
Login, reboot again.

Reinstall the wifi drivers, see if anything changes.

Again, so far you are doing it all exceptionally well, unusual.
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Second post was setup info
Mr-Messy
Status: Curious
Joined: 30 Nov 2009
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The second post was just to let whoever know how I had set up my wireless network. I have a D-Link wireless router that assigns IPs to specific MAC numbers for two laptops and one wireless printer. The router is connected to the DSL modem.

I also agree that there are install/uninstall issues resulting from the replacement HIVE file. As a side note I had to use a series of 6 floppies from Microsoft for the repair console, another utility that created a bootable CD image file from the floppies which I burned to a CD using my wife's laptop. I also had to use a linux boot CD with a utility to clear the administrator password that I had conveniently forgotten :).

I have also run WMIDiag.vbs I got from Microsoft, and it reports a number of different errors related to WMI, but it also says that WMI is functioning properly.

Oh, and thanks for the compliments. I have been playing with computers since my first which, unfortunately, was an Amstrad and that takes me back more than 20 years :).
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techAdmin
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Joined: 26 Sep 2003
Posts: 3762
Location: East Coast, West Coast? I know it's one of them.
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simplify the structure first: make all systems default, ie, turn on dhcp, do not bind to mac address in router.

remove wpa or wep, test with straight signal first. Once you get that working, move to wpa again. If you can't get straight no encryption working there's no way you'll get wpa working.

reboot router just to make sure.

Then take a look at the drivers.

If intel won't uninstall you might be victim of the dreaded: stupid app puts its uninstall files into temp directory, where unsuspecting user cleans out all temp directory files, and app can then not uninstall itself. This has always been one of the very worst things windows permits, in no case should any data that cannot safely be deleted be inserted into any temp directory.

If standard uninstall of intel stuff works, reboot twice, then see if windows will work after wifi driver reinstall.

I say reboot twice just in case windows is being clever and trying to fix itself.
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minor update
Mr-Messy
Status: Curious
Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 7
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I finally got rid of the auto-install of other drivers for the wireless card. That puts me back to an updated version of the original drivers. Somewhere along the line of updates, installs and uninstalls, drivers for other Intel WiFi cards had been installed. And of course, when the autodetect kicked in, it wanted those drivers. I found OEMxx.inf and pnf files for the wrong drivers and tagged an extra file extension on them to disable them. It worked, and I have the proper drivers in place.

I now have a consistent behaviour that I can report. When I unplug the cable, the network autoswitch switches from the LAN to the wireless card. The icon comes up in the sys tray with a red X through it. After a few moments, the icon gives the message that it has found wireless networks in my area. But the red X has never flickered, and NetStumbler still sees my wireless router. When I try to view available networks via windows, it reports none available.

Another possible clue is that when NetStumbler runs, the first thing it reports doing is shutting off or disabling the Windows Zero Configuration service. I am wondering if the WZC is somehow broken or corrupt.

I still have to run through your suggested sequence of things, but wanted to get my driver issue solved. The Intel proset software appears to still be at least party in place. Intel moved their software from an application to integrating it into the wireless device properties dialog box. The old application is long gone, but the integration from trying to upgrade the Intel Proset software is still present.

I will let you know how things go with your suggested sequence.
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minor update addendum
Mr-Messy
Status: Curious
Joined: 30 Nov 2009
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The Toshiba ConfigFree utility also detects my router.
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Mr-Messy
Status: Curious
Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 7
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I haven't tried your suggestion yet as I had a TTD list to go through first. I noticed something in the system event log this morning. I unplugged the cable connection, waited a minute or two, then plugged the cable back in. When I checked the system event log, it shows the LAN card disconnecting and reconnecting, but there is nothing for the wireless card. That is a little bit of an "ah ha" moment as far as I am concerned, so I am poking in that direction for a little while.

I will post more as I discover more.
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Mr-Messy
Status: Curious
Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 7
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Bingo. I used a third party wireless connection software, LucidLink. Google it. It's free. I was of the increasing suspicion that the "broken bit" was not the wireless adapter or its drivers, but something to do with XP's wireless client. That suspicion was fueled by the fact that several pieces of software detected wireless networks, including XP itself - but when I tried to view those networks, it would say there were none available.

So, I have a nice solid wireless connection that works. I am using it to type this reply. I STILL don't know what the original problem was, but at least LucidLink is very viable solution!

I appreciate your time and effort. This certainly ate up a lot of spare time over the last week and a half! I may still try and diagnose the original problem, but there is no urgency now. Whew!

Thanks again! I will not be afraid to come back here should I ever have another problem. The service was very good.
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