Where do I enter wireless settings?

Discussion in 'Wireless Networking' started by Clueless in Seattle, Jan 16, 2010.

  1. Hi! I'm new to wireless and need some help figuring out where to enter the
    settings so I can use my "new" (hand-me-down) laptop in the neighborhood

    The library web page says:

    Wi-Fi users must configure their own equipment and connect to the network
    using these settings:

    * SSID (Service Set Identifier) or network name = spl-public:
    * Encryption or WEP = disable WEP encryption
    * Mode or Network Type = Infrastructure Mode or Access Point (not ad-hoc)
    * Set TCP/IP properties to "Obtain an IP address automatically" (DHCP)
    * End of list

    I don't have a clue where to enter these settings.

    Can someone help me?
    Clueless in Seattle, Jan 16, 2010
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  2. Clueless in Seattle

    Lem Guest

    I assume that you have some version of Windows XP. The first thing to
    do is to ensure that you the wireless adapter in your laptop is turned on.

    Click Start > Connect to and click "Show all connections." There should
    be an icon for "Wireless network connection" or something similar.
    Right-click on this icon. The top entry in the pop-up menu should be
    "Disable." If it says "Enable," click on Enable.

    Right-click on the wireless network connection icon and select
    Properties. You should see something like this:

    Under the heading "This connection uses the following items" you should
    see the following 4 entries:
    Client for Microsoft Networks
    QoS Packet Scheduler
    File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks
    Internet Protocol (TCP/IP).

    Select "Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)" and click Properties. You'll get
    Make sure that the radio buttons to obtain an IP address and a DNS
    server automatically are both selected. Click OK.

    Back on the Properties sheet, click the "Wireless Networks" tab. Make
    sure that the box on the top "Use Windows to configure my wireless
    network settings" is checked. Click the "View wireless networks" button.
    You should see this:

    Find "spl-public" in the list. Select it and click the Connect button.
    Lem, Jan 16, 2010
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  3. Search on the Internet for the manual for your
    particular laptop. You will probably find it. Basic
    manuals tell you how to configure the wireless connection.
    Don Phillipson, Jan 16, 2010
  4. Thanks, Lem, for those detailed instructions. I certainly appreciate all the
    effort you put into your message to help me out.

    Yes, I'm running Windows XP Home Edition, Version 5.1, Service Pack 3

    My start menu doesn't have any item named "Connect to..." I received this
    secon hand laptop with the operating system and all the software already
    installed, so the previous owner may have monkeyed with the Start menu.

    So I tried Start>Settings>Network Connections>Wireless Connection 3 and then
    right clicked. And that got got me to the menu with "Disable" at the top.

    So I clicked "Properties" and that seemed to get me to the right place.

    Everything is set the way you described. (Previous to posting my query here
    I did go in and try to set what I could on my own)

    But I cant seem to find the settings for:

    * Encryption or WEP = disable WEP encryption
    * Mode or Network Type = Infrastructure Mode or Access Point (not ad-hoc)

    Do I need to worry about find where to set them? Or will Windows take care
    of them for me automatically?

    I'm disabled, don't have a car, and this is a rather large and heavy
    laptop, So I'd like to try to make sure that I've got it set up correctly
    before I make the trek over to the library to test out the Wi-Fi card.

    The reason I want to be able to use the library's Wi-Fi is that I'm planning
    to reformat the HD and reinstall the XP operating system. And I figure I'm
    going to have to download a lot of updates. At home I use a free dial-up
    ISP, and it would probably tie up my phone line for days trying to download
    them all.

    So I want to make sure I know how to properly set up the network card,
    because after the reformatting and re-installation of XP, I'm going to have
    to do this all over again.

    Thanks again for putting together that detailed set of instructions!
    Clueless in Seattle, Jan 17, 2010
  5. Thanks for that suggestion. I appreciate your taking the time to reply to my

    I do have a PDF file of the laptop manual, and I did hunt through it for
    help, but it just says:

    "Setting up a wireless connection

    "For information on how to set up a wireless connection, refer
    to your wireless networking device documentation."
    Clueless in Seattle, Jan 17, 2010
  6. You got me.

    At this point I just want to be able to make sure I can establish a
    connection at the library. Then I plan to reformat the HD and do a clean
    installation of XP Home.

    So I don't think it would matter much to me if someone were to be looking at
    my system. Actually it's not really my system, it's the system of the
    previous owner who gave me this laptop recently. And she had installed a
    gazillion programs, most of which I haven't a clue about what they are for.
    Clueless in Seattle, Jan 17, 2010
  7. Clueless in Seattle

    Lem Guest

    Yes, Windows should take care of the encryption setting and the network
    type (infrastructure) by default.

    If you're curious, go back to "Wireless Networks" tab (the place where
    you saw the box to "Use Windows to configure my wireless network
    settings." On the lower part of that screen is a list of "Preferred
    networks." Once you connect to any wireless network, its name will
    appear in this list. Names are added to the top of the list as you
    connect to new networks. Select a network name in the list and click the
    "Properties" button. This will take you to this screen:

    The settings on this "Association" tab are where the encryption is set.
    The settings shown in the screenshot (Network Authentication = Open and
    Data encryption = disabled) are what the library wants. Because Windows
    normally will detect that the library's router uses these settings, they
    normally will be set this way automatically when you first connect using
    the "View available wireless networks" screen. You *could* have come to
    the Wireless Network tab first and clicked the "Add" button under the
    list of Preferred network. This would have taken you to the
    "Association" tab where you would have filled in spl-public in the box
    labelled "Network name (SSID)" and would have set the Network
    Authentication and Data encryption values manually using the drop down

    As for the "Mode or Network Type," that too is set by default. Again,
    if you go back to the "Wireless Networks" tab and click the "Advanced"
    button (not the "Advanced" tab at the top), you'll get to this little
    The default is the top line. Either the top of middle line will work for
    the library. The only setting here that won't work for the library is
    the bottom line ("Computer-to-computer (ad hoc) networks only").

    You should be able to connect to the library's wifi network with no
    problems. If you have problems, I would be very surprised if there isn't
    someone at the library capable of helping you out.
    Lem, Jan 17, 2010
  8. 1. Windows XP has a "Wizard" routine to set up a wireless
    "device" (an electronic circuit, probably inside the laptop)
    documented via / Start / Help / input NETWORK.

    2. Many hardware manufacturers of wireless cards provide
    their own software and the user can select whether to set up
    via the Windows Wizard or the maker's own brand SETUP
    routine. The Windows Wizard is usually simpler.

    If not and if you need to identify your "wireless networking device"
    in order to locate its software or documentation, run the diagnostic
    from www.belarc.com which is likely to identify the wireless device.
    Look in the Belarc output for the key words "ethernet" and "adapter,"
    with a few Internet Protocol numerical addresses like

    Shortly before these numbers, we may expect the make and model of
    your wireless device to be named. Then you can Google for (say)
    "brandname wireless setup"
    and browse among results.
    Don Phillipson, Jan 17, 2010
  9. Hi
    First you have to set the Wireless Router using a wired connection (
    http://www.ezlan.net/faq.html#onewire ).
    If you do not have the Wireless Router Manual you probably can find it on
    the Support site of the manufacturer.
    Once you configured the Wireless part of the Router you can switch to
    If you have trouble on the computer with the wireless, this might help,
    Jack (MS, MVP-Networking).
    Jack [MVP-Networking], Jan 17, 2010
  10. Hi again, Lem,

    I lugged this oversized laptop over to the library yesterday and tried to
    connect to their Wi-Fi.

    My computer detected the librariy's Wi-Fi signal and showed 5 green bars.

    But when I cllicked on "Connect" I got this:

    Limited or no connectivity

    This problem occurred because the network did not assign a network address
    to the computer

    Network Connection Details
    Physical Address 00-0C41-A4-7B
    IP Address
    Subnet Mask

    I clicked "Repair" and then got this:

    Windows is taking the following actions:

    Windows could not finish repairing the problem because the follow action
    cannot be completed:

    Renewing your IP address

    Do you have any ideas on how to troubleshoot this problem?
    Clueless in Seattle, Jan 18, 2010
  11. Clueless in Seattle

    Lem Guest

    This typically happens when the encryption key on the computer does not
    match the encryption key on the router. You said, however, that the
    library's system did not have any encryption (and if it had, you should
    have been asked to supply a key when you attempted to connect).

    Check the list of preferred networks. You can get to this either as I
    described earlier or directly from the left pane of the View available
    wireless networks screen ("change order of preferred networks").

    Is there an entry for the library's network? If so, select it and click
    the Properties button. Make sure that Network Authentication = Open and
    Data encryption = Disabled and OK your way out. Alternatively, delete
    the entry from the list of preferred networks and try again to connect.

    You earlier confirmed that the "Properties" of "Internect Protocol
    (TCP/IP") showed that you were configured to get an IP address
    automatically (and you probably wouldn't have been assigned the type of
    IP address you did get if you were configured differently), but double
    check this setting.

    If there is no listing in Preferred networks for the library's network
    (or if there is and you confirm that encryption is disabled), your best
    option would be to find a technical support person at the library. You
    can, however, try the following long shots.

    See if you can access the Internet notwithstanding the "limited or no
    connection" warning (unlikely, but possible).

    (*Don't* do any of the following if you are using this same laptop
    successfully to connect to the Internet at home using a *wired* connection.)

    Because this is a used laptop, unless you or the person who gave it to
    you re-installed Windows after formatting the hard drive, you don't know
    what malware is on -- or might have been on -- the system (several folks
    who post in the XP General newsgroup will adamantly insist that you
    "clean install" Windows on any used computer). Sometimes, removing
    adware can damage the way the system connects to the Internet.

    Follow the steps here under "Use a manual method":

    The following tools are not likely to help, but you can try them as a
    last resort. First see http://windowsxp.mvps.org/winsock.htm

    Download and run WinsockXPFix http://www.snapfiles.com/get/winsockxpfix.html

    Use the "netsh winsock reset catalog" command described in Ramesh's page
    linked above or download and run LSP Fix
    Lem, Jan 18, 2010
  12. Hi Lez Pawl,

    No, I'm afraid that that idea didn't occur t me until after I was already
    back home. The library is closed today, so I'll have to wait until tomorrow
    to try again.

    In the meantime, using Lem's detailed instructions, I found the place where
    WEP is disabled:

    Start > Settings > Network Connections

    RIGHT CLICK Wireless Network Connection 3

    LEFT CLICK "Properties"

    CLICK on "Wireless Networks" Tab

    SELECT "spl-public (Automatic)" in "Preferred networks" window

    CLICK "Properties"

    In the "Data Encryption" field CLICK DOWN ARROW next to WEP

    CLICK "Disabled"

    CLICK "OK"

    CLICK "Continue Anyway"

    CLICK "OK"

    I had apparently wrongly understood Lem to have told me that Windows would
    automatically set that to the library's preference (disabled) when I logged
    on to their wireless network. But I figured it might me worth a try to reset
    it manually to see if that might help.

    In an earlier post you questioned this setting, saying that it would make my
    computer vulnerable to access by other library patrons. Can you think of any
    reason why the library would specify this setting?

    The staff at the library yesterday said they knew nothing about how to
    configure a laptop for Wi-Fi. But tomorrow I hope that someone at the main
    branch should be available by phone to help me.

    Also, If I turn off my firewall (Ashampoo Free), won't that make my
    computer vulnerable to cyber attack while I'm using the library's wireless
    network? Or would the library wireless system serve as a kind of firewall
    between my computer and the Internet?
    Clueless in Seattle, Jan 19, 2010
  13. Well, it looks like manually disabling WEP was the trick to getting into the
    library's Wi-Fi.

    So is there anyway to protect my computer from intrusion while I'm online
    here in the library?
    Clueless in Seattle, Jan 19, 2010
  14. Clueless in Seattle

    John Guest

    Windows built in firewall is good enough provided that you keep your Windows
    security updates up to date. You might also want to disable file and printer
    John, Jan 19, 2010
  15. Clueless in Seattle

    Lem Guest

    Assuming that you have Windows Firewall and not some third-party
    firewall, go to Control Panel. If you're using Category View, select
    Security Center and then Windows Firewall; if you're using Classic View,
    go to Windows Firewall directly.

    Select the box labeled "Don't allow exceptions" and OK. If some
    programs you then try to use don't work, go back and uncheck that box,
    then click the "Exceptions" tab and uncheck the box for "File and
    Printer Sharing." OK your way out.
    Lem, Jan 20, 2010
  16. Hi again, Lem,

    I posted a message to you from the library this afternoon, but maybe I
    failed to hit the "Post" button or something, because it didn't seem to go

    Did you catch that part about my posting to you "from the library"? That's
    right! Today I was able to connect to the library's Wi-Fi from my "new"
    laptop. It looks like manually disabling the WEP encryption was what did the

    Thanks a million for your patience and diligence in sticking with me as I
    stumbled through this process. And thanks to the others who contributed to
    this thread. I know I could never have managed to figure out how to do this
    without all of your help.

    I think it was you who suggested I reformat the hard drive on this
    hand-me-down laptop and then reinstall XP. Well, that's exactly why I wanted
    to make sure I could connect to the library's Wi-Fi. At home I only have a
    free dial-up Internet connection. And I imagine I'm going to have to download
    a raft load of updates after reinstalling this old version of XP I got from
    Toshiba. It would probably take days and days via dial-up.

    So, now I'm going to compile a set of instructions, based on the messages
    you've posted here, so after the reformat and reinstall, I can go over to the
    library and start downloading the updates, patches, etc.

    Then, finally, I'll have a computer I can use while I'm resting in bed,
    which is where I spend most of my time these days.

    Thanks again to all of you for your generosity in sharing your expertise
    with me.
    Clueless in Seattle, Jan 20, 2010
  17. Clueless in Seattle

    Lem Guest


    Assuming that you have a retail Windows XP CD, this is a good site for
    instructions on how to do a clean install:
    I suggest that you print it out and read it all the way through before
    doing the install. Make sure that you have the product activation key.

    Two important caveats:

    1. If your CD has an older version of Windows XP (e.g., SP1 or SP2) read
    the section on "slipstreaming" and create a CD that incorporates SP3.
    If you have a really old CD (pre-SP1), you can slipstream sp2, but
    you'll have to update with sp3 after the install. For more info, Google
    slipstream xp sp3

    2. *Before* you start reinstalling Windows, go to the website of the
    manufacturer of the laptop and download all of the relevant drivers.
    See, for example, the section on drivers here:
    Because your laptop is so old, it's possible that XP will have
    sufficient built-in drivers so that things will work, but if you don't
    get the manufacturer's drivers, you may find that some features don't
    work or don't work properly. I do *not* recommend getting drivers from
    Windows Update.
    Lem, Jan 20, 2010
  18. Hi again (again!) Lem,

    Yesterday I posted a reply to your most recent message, but as also happened
    the day before yesterday, my message seems to have vanished into the
    electronic ether. So, I'll try again:

    A fellow over at a Toshiba laptop forum tells me that what I'm about to do
    is not "reinstalling" XP but rather "restoring" it. I have to confess that
    that's a distinction that is lost on me. But what he says leads me to
    believe that the CDs I got from Toshiba already have many of the drivers I'm
    going to need:

    "If you are going to use the discs that Toshiba sent you, Will, you will not
    be partitioning the hard disk or even installing Windows.

    "You will be restoring the hard disk to its original contents. The process
    simply lays down all the bytes on the drive, one-by-one. The original
    preinstalled Windows with all the drivers, utilities, and original software
    will be restored."

    If that's the case, would slipstreaming work for me?
    Clueless in Seattle, Jan 22, 2010
  19. Clueless in Seattle

    Lem Guest

    Instead of providing an actual Windows CD (like the one you might buy in
    a retail store) with systems that come with Windows pre-installed and
    pre-activated, so-called "direct OEMs" (i.e., the big name-brand
    computer manufacturers) provide a mechanism to restore the computer to
    the state it was in when it left the factory, i.e., with Windows
    installed, activated, and with all of the additional software that the
    manufacturer decided to pre-load on the computer.

    This mechanism may be a CD or DVD (or set of CDs) or it may be a hidden
    partition on the hard drive. Slipstreaming isn't appropriate for such CDs.

    You can, however, download the complete sp3 installation and burn it to
    a CD (assuming that you have a CD burner):
    You can only install sp3 on a system that has sp1 or later. Unless you
    can date your restore CDs (or know when the laptop was originally
    purchased), you won't know what service pack, if any, you'll end up with
    after the restore. See this for more details, including where to get
    sp1a if you need it: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322389

    Although that KB article says that you need SP1a or later to install
    sp3, SP1 and SP1a differ only with respect Java (Microsoft lost a
    lawsuit with Sun and had to remove the Microsoft version of Java that
    was in the original sp1).
    Lem, Jan 22, 2010
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