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Need registry location for turn off wireless card

Last response: in Windows 2000/NT
June 15, 2007 9:56:13 PM

The actual question is 2nd para from bottom, but here is the history:

I represent a small, private school with an impossibly modest budget. We purchased a number of new laptops for the teachers but had very little money, so were forced to purchase inexpensive Acer units with 40Gb hard drives and (!) 256Mb RAM, with no money to upgrade.

Obviously, Windows 2000 runs much better under this RAM configuration than XP, so we installed it and everything works... except for the Atheros wireless chip. I obtained a Windows 2000 driver for the Atheros wireless card. I have a Windows 2000 version of the Launch Manager tool (in case it controls the buttons).

1. The hardware "switch" on this laptop (Acer TravelMate 2310) is a push-button on the front of the laptop. When on, the button glows orange. There is no function key that turns the wireless on/off, only this button.

2. When booting the computer, the button is orange (wireless on). Part way through the boot process (Windows full-screen logo displayed, the progress gets to the "s" in MicroSoft, and the orange light goes out.

3. The Atheros Client Utility (troubleshoot tool) reports that the radio is installed and enabled, but turned off in hardware. Pressing the front panel button does nothing.

4. If I uninstall the Atheros driver, the orange light will come on again -- inside Windows! But then how do I locate/join a wireless network? Win2K does not have XP's "View Available Wireless Networks" feature.

5. I have tried several different versions of the Atheros driver AR5211.sys (from thru,,,,, up to

This same laptop works correctly under Windows XP. Pressing the button enables/disables the wireless card.

I am guessing that there must be a location in the Windows registry where this setting is turned OFF by default, and it is relying on some proprietary Acer software to allow the push-button to toggle that setting. My reasons for thinking this are:
a) button glows orange if ar5211.sys is not installed;
b) button glows orange 2/3 of the way through booting Windows, probably being turned off at the point the ar5211.sys driver is loaded.

Acer technical support is unhelpful to the point of actually mocking our efforts. (I am sure, though, that if we could ask the right person at Acer, the whole exercise could be solved in two minutes.)

June 15, 2007 10:31:46 PM

You need to grab the wireless management software... either from Atheros or Acer. Since W2K doesn't have any wireless management capabilities built-in like XP, you'll have to rely on third party software to do it. Once the proper drivers and software is installed, it should work.
June 15, 2007 11:22:30 PM

Good suggestion, but already tried. I downloaded and installed Win2K versions of both the Atheros driver (ar5211.sys) and its configuration utility (Atheros Client Utility). I also downloaded and installed a Win2K version of the Launch Manager, which controls the proprietary buttons on the Acer laptop.

None of those solved my problem, and that is why I need to dig into the registry.
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June 17, 2007 1:05:23 AM

I ran into the exact same problem on a PC with 2000 and I believe I had to change one registry setting but I can not think of what I did. The problem drove me nuts and not it's driving me crazy that I can't think of the solution. I'll keep trying to remember
June 17, 2007 4:24:16 PM

Remembered how I solved this problem but given you have laptops the one won't be available. The problem was with an 865PE mobo that would not recognize a wireless card using 2000. The card's driver was installed, the card fully slotted but got the message the card was disconnected. It definitely was not a driver problem The first solution was to get an AM2 mobo running 2000 and the wireless card was recognized. The second was to install Windows XP on the old mobo and that solved the problem. Had this problem for months and did numerous searches on google and Microsoft and never found an answer. One day installed XP to see if it would solve the problem and it did. If you have a copy of XP you could install it on one of the laptops, you have 30 days before you have to activate it, and see if this fixes it. If XP works, it would be an added cost but I think there are academic discounts