How to Enable Your Wireless NIC in Windows XP - dummies

How to Enable Your Wireless NIC in Windows XP

By Dan Gookin

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 XP:

  1. Open the Network Connections icon in the Control Panel.

  2. Confirm that the Wireless Network Connection icon is enabled.

    If the icon sports the text Enabled, you’re done. Skip to Step 4.

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

  4. Close the Network Connections window.

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.