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How to Enable Your Wireless NIC in Windows Vista

The biggest problem with connecting to a wireless network is that you don’t have your computer’s wireless NIC activated. There are two places to look.

First, check for an external switch on a laptop computer that turns wireless networking on or off. You may find a tiny wireless NIC icon next to the switch. Place that switch into the On or active position.


Second, confirm that the wireless NIC has been activated in Windows. Oftentimes, the NIC is disabled, especially when traveling by air, and there’s no external wireless NIC switch.

To confirm that Windows has enabled the wireless NIC, follow these steps in Windows Vista:

  1. Open the Control Panel.

  2. From beneath the Network and Internet heading, choose View Network Status and Tasks.

  3. Click the Manage Network Connections link.

  4. Confirm that the Wireless Network Connection icon in the Network Connections Window is enabled.

    If so, you’re done. Skip to Step 7. Otherwise, you need to enable the connection.

  5. Right-click the Wireless Network Connection icon and choose Enable from the shortcut menu.

  6. Type the administrator’s password or click the Continue button.

    The adapter is enabled.

  7. Close the various dialog boxes and windows.

After you enable the wireless NIC, your computer may instantly connect to one of its recognized networks. If not, you need to proceed with a manual connection.

  • Do not enable a wireless NIC on an airplane unless flight personnel tell you that it’s okay to do so.

  • The wireless switch might also be labeled Airplane mode.

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