Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Configuring Wireless Networking On Dell Latitude D600 (Under Windows XP)

I'm not sure if it's incorrect configuration on the Dell website but solving this one seems to be massively more complicated than it needs to be. The solution below worked for me but I'm afraid the "pick the correct wireless driver" part of the solution just seems to be based on a guess (unless you want to unscrew your laptop and read the version information off the physical card!).

Anyway, the problem is that under "Network Connections" on Windows XP there is no option allowing you to configure your wireless network;

Windows XP Network Connections - No Wireless Options

The reason it's not there is that the drivers haven't been installed so the wireless card is not being detected by the operating system.

This is made a little more confusing because if you've entered your Service Tag on the Dell website and got a list of the drivers available in my case the Wireless Network Driver was *not* included in the list. As the machine is quite old I'm guessing this is just down to different configurations shipping and somehow it not all tallying up correctly when the data was loaded by Dell.

The first step therefore is to download the drivers.

Go to the Dell Support website;

http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/

This is the US site, if you look in the top-left corner you'll see the Country - you need to select the Country for which the laptop was produced. In my case this is "United Kingdom", you will then be re-directed to your local support site.

You will then be prompted for some information about your system;
Dell System Prompt
I tried the "Express Service Code" option and that didn't find the Wireless Drivers (in fairness to Dell this is the first and *only* time I've had a problem with using the Code!) so if choose the options;

Choose from a list of Dell products > Laptops > Latitude > Latitude D600

Then you are presented with a web page similar to;
List of all files for Latitude D600
This is a list of all the drivers available for the system. Make sure "Windows XP" is selected under "Operating System" and expand the "Network" list.

Now this is where you need to know the make/model of your Wireless Adapter. If you don't (and I didn't) then the "best" one to select is the Intel Driver below;


Wireless Drivers (from Dell Website)

The reason for picking this one is that it seems to be a more "generic" driver that works with many different adapters so the chance of it working for you is slightly better than picking any of the others that seem to only work for a specific version - that's my logic anyway!

Once you've downloaded and installed this driver (and re-booted your system) then you will have the Intel Wireless Management software at the bottom right on your control panel.

You should now be able to work with Wireless.
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