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Laptop network adapter problems

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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March 6, 2010 9:06:35 PM

I just installed a fresh copy of WinXP Pro SP3 on a Dell Inspiron 4150 notebook. Wireless/Network was working before, but now I can't get online to save my life, even when I directly plug in the cable to the notebook.

After troubleshooting what I have come up with is that there seems to be a problem with the adapter. It has the 3com 3c920 integrated fast ethernet adapter/controller. And I'm guessing the modem is a cxt ac-link modem for intel.

I've tried downloading (transferring via cdrw) drivers, etc. But absolutely nothing I'm doing is working.

What I've installed:
-WinXP AC'97 modem driver
-Ethernet Controller

I'm obviously doing something wrong. Any and all help would be appreciated.

SS of errors in Device Manager via flash drive:


TIA,
Dave
March 7, 2010 10:24:26 PM

Hi newcomer and welcome to the Tom's hardware forum.

Download the drivers from HERE
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March 8, 2010 5:38:26 PM

I don't know why but nothing there worked.
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March 8, 2010 6:03:44 PM

Ok, let's back up a little because I'm confused.

So far I've seen a reference to "Wireless/Network", "modem is a cxt ac-link modem for intel", and "3com 3c920 integrated fast ethernet adapter/controller". Three completely different network interfaces, and this point I’m lost as to which is the problem, perhaps all three, or which is being used to access the Internet (all??).

So let’s deal w/ one at a time and take the simplest thing first; wired Ethernet.

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

Can you at least get the Ethernet controller working using the above driver (provided by Dell) and run a wire over to your router for Internet access?
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March 8, 2010 6:31:16 PM

Yes, it's true, I don't know much about networking. I'd loved to start from scratch, as I'm confused, too. I tried the link you supported but it leads to an error page " Error. Unable to retrieve the requested information."
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March 8, 2010 6:43:50 PM

Seems either this website and/or Dell's website is messing w/ these links for some reason (and any others leading to your drivers), making it impossible to provide you w/ direct links.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rlz=1W1GZEZ_en&q=Del...

The first link “Drivers & Downloads” at the top of that Google search will take you to the home page for all your laptops drivers. You should only be getting drivers from there, nowhere else unless not available there for some reason. Just specify your OS and drill down. Go to Network->3Com – Driver, should see a LAN driver, release date 2/6/2003, version ECD5.43A2(4.26), A08. That’s the one you want.


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March 8, 2010 6:59:24 PM

OK, that actually worked this time, which is odd, b/c I had downloaded and installed that a few times out of pure frustration in believing that should definitely work. Well, ok, the wired connectivity is working now, in fact I'm posting from that laptop right now. Almost there!
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March 8, 2010 7:15:00 PM

Trying to stave off Windows Update for now until we can get the wireless connectivity solved.
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March 8, 2010 7:20:19 PM

DaveTehSlave said:
I've downloaded that several times recently, and for some reason I still cannot use wired internet.


Ok, but not being able to use wired internet doesn't mean the ethernet controller is not working. Maybe there's some other problem related to your networking, including the router.

Go into Device Manager (Start, click Run, and then type devmgmt.msc), locate the network adapter, and verify it’s installed and working properly. There should be no yellow exclamation/question marks (if there is, that means it didn't install properly for some reason). Right click, select Properties, and check the device status for any useful messages.

Assuming the ethernet controller is functioning...

Go to Start->Run, type "cmd" (no quotes), and hit enter. In the command window, type "ipconfig /all > temp.txt" (no quotes) and post the file's contents here.


Good, so you got it working. Try the wireless adapter drivers now.
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March 8, 2010 7:28:34 PM

Which driver is that? At this point I've begun not to trust my own instincts lol

Sorry for the confusion, you've done a good job so far.
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March 8, 2010 7:32:02 PM

Oh boy, looks like that laptop came w/ a lot of wireless options. You're gonna need to dig a little and determine the wireless adapter make & model. Is it integrated or provided as a separate PC card, USB dongle, etc.? Does device manager at least detect it and provide any clues?
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March 8, 2010 7:36:33 PM

P.S. Well now that I've looked a bit closer, a lot of those are firmware and utilities. So it either has to be:

1. Dell True Mobile 1180 Internal 802.11b Mini-PCI Card

2. Dell True Mobile 1150 Series Mini-PCI Card

3. Dell TrueMobile 1150 Series PC Card.

The last one is external, the first two are internal. So that's a clue.
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March 8, 2010 7:36:47 PM

It's integrated, as far as I know, b/c there's nothing in a usb. Unless it's something that someone had installed previously. See, I won this laptop (basically) by concluding that the reason why it wouldn't work was b/c one of the ram chips had gone bad.

The only info I know to tell you was actually depicted in that screenshot I posted in the orig. post.
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March 8, 2010 7:42:13 PM

OK, well, I tried the 1180 internal. Installed it, unplugged the jack and could not access the internet. I'm going to try the 1150 mini pci
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March 8, 2010 7:49:07 PM

I just updated the driver to the 1150 and tried to access the internet... no go. So I'm back on wired.

edit: Just so you don't wait around, I'm going to go outside and let the kids ride their bikes. I'll be back between 30-60 minutes. Thanks for all your help.
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March 8, 2010 7:58:39 PM

Again, I want to know first w/ all these drivers whether they installed correctly and are working properly by checking device manager. From here, I can't tell the difference between a driver not working vs. it is working but internet access is unavailable for other reasons. There's no point changing drivers every time you have a problem accessing the internet if the driver installed properly and is functioning. If that's the case, the issue is something else (wrong wireless setup, wrong key, etc.). So find a driver that installs and reports as functioning properly then leave it alone. If internet access doesn’t work, then…

Go to Start->Run, type "cmd" (no quotes), and hit enter. In the command window, type "ipconfig /all > temp.txt" (no quotes) and post the file's contents here.

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March 8, 2010 8:18:21 PM

Under network adapters 3com is working correctly. bcm indicates a problem.
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March 8, 2010 8:25:13 PM

Windows IP Configuration

Host Name . . . . . . . . . . . . : dave-laptop
Primary Dns Suffix . . . . . . . :
Node Type . . . . . . . . . . . . : Hybrid
IP Routing Enabled. . . . . . . . : No
WINS Proxy Enabled. . . . . . . . : No
DNS Suffix Search List. . . . . . : ahvl.nc.charter.com

Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection:

Connection-specific DNS Suffix . : ahvl.nc.charter.com
Description . . . . . . . . . . . : 3Com 3C920 Integrated Fast Ethernet
Controller (3C905C-TX Compatible)
Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : 00-08-74-4A-C5-DB
Dhcp Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : Yes
Autoconfiguration Enabled . . . . : Yes
IP Address. . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.103
Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.0
Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.1
DHCP Server . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.1
DNS Servers . . . . . . . . . . . : 24.178.162.3
24.177.176.38
24.217.0.5
192.168.1.1
Primary WINS Server . . . . . . . : 127.0.0.1
Lease Obtained. . . . . . . . . . : Monday, March 08, 2010 4:48:20 PM
Lease Expires . . . . . . . . . . : Tuesday, March 09, 2010 4:48:20 PM
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Best solution

March 8, 2010 8:31:33 PM

That looks fine, but it’s only the Ethernet adapter. One way or another you've got to find a working driver for the wireless adapter among those listed @ Dell. If you tried them all and none work, then check error messages in device manager. If you can't resolve it then you're stuck and will have to consider an external wireless adapter (which might not be a bad idea anyway, I suspect it's only wireless B anyway). There’s just nothing more anyone can do here unless you at least get the device driver installed and functioning.

P.S. Is it possible the wireless adapter is NOT among those listed @ Dell? Sometimes you can get at the mini PCI wireless adapter from the bottom of the laptop, through an access panel. If you can, try to take a peek and see if the make/model is visible.
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March 8, 2010 9:00:01 PM

Alright. I'll try to take a look at it tonight. Thanks for all your help. I'll report back tomorrow.
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March 8, 2010 10:08:00 PM

Problem solved. Windows update took care of the rest and I
m now posting wirelessly.
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March 8, 2010 10:17:09 PM

Best answer selected by DaveTehSlave.
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