Weak connection to router from Linksys USB

I fear that this is going to be a dumb and/or annoying type of question, but these forums seem so nice and helpful (got some good advice recently in choosing my PSU for my new computer) that I thought I'd give it a shot.

Basically I just want some advice on how to figure out why I have such a weak connection (2 out of 5 bars, web pages load very slowly if at all) from my Linksys WUSB54GC adapter on my new Windows 7 computer to my router downstairs. On the other hand, my Vista laptop gets perfect reception from the exact same spot in my room. I know precisely diddly squat about networking, so I don't really know where to start. Any help will be appreciated.

UPDATE: Looks like the problem was mostly that my driver wasn't updated. (See, I told you it might be a dumb question!) Windows had already automatically found a driver, but apparently that was some kind of error. I finally went to Linksys's website and got the right one. I'm still only getting 3/5 bars, but everything seems to work at the speed I'm used to with my laptop so far.
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  1. Just a little advice on improving signal if your looking, if you have any neighboring wireless networks they typically use the default channel 6 so I move it to 1 or 11. You could also try changing the angle of the antennas upstairs. I'm not real big believer in repeaters as they typically cut your bandwidth in half but they do boost your signal.
  2. Thanks for the reply. Yeah, even with the appropriate driver, my signal is unreliable. I'm not sure what you mean by "neighboring wireless networks". My house only has one wireless internet network, but some other people on my street have networks in range, too, if that's what you mean.

    I don't have any "antennas" here upstairs, but I've heard of people recommending building a little makeshift satellite dish out of aluminum foil with the USB adapter connected to an extension cable. Might that help?
  3. Yes a directional antenna may help but I would start by choosing a channel that your neighbors don't use. You simply log into your router and change the channel to 1,6, or 11 and see if you get less drops or more bars. I like using the wifi scanner app on my Android phone that tells me what channels to use. Another common interference is microwaves and cordless phones. I am assuming your running a standard 2.4 ghz router.
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