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Matt S (UK)
Matt S (UK), PC Technician
Category: Networking
Satisfied Customers: 0
Experience:  I'm a full time IT Technician from England, and I hold *all* A+ certs, Network+ and a Cisco cert.
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My laptop will not detect my network adapter (Broadcom)...

Customer Question

My laptop will not detect my network adapter (Broadcom)... I've reinstalled it many times but it still doesn't detect it. I am running Windows Vista.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Networking
Expert:  Matt S (UK) replied 8 years ago.
<br />
<br />This problem can occur if the adapter has been disabled in the computer's BIOS. You can usually access the BIOS by pressing the 'Delete', 'F1' or 'F2' buttons (Individually) as soon as the computer physically powers up. The correct key will usually also be displayed somewhere on screen.
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<br />Once in the BIOS, you will usually find settings for adapters in categories named something to the effect of 'Peripheral setup', 'Hardware Configuration' or 'Advanced'. If you can find the LAN (or WLAN) adapter and see that it is disabled, then you need to use the appropriate keyboard key to toggle it into the 'enabled' position. You will then need to exit the BIOS, making sure that you save your changes before you do.
<br /> You may also want to check that the wireless LAN 'enable' switch/Function button is in the on position. Manufacturers usually put a button or add an extra function to an existing keyboard key depicting radio waves or such, that enable/disable the functionality of the Wireless adapter.
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<br />I hope that this advice solves your problem.
<br />
<br />Kind regards,
<br />Matt
<br />bluemac_uk
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Matt thanks for your quick reply.

I have tried what you have suggested, which was extremely difficult because my computer only boots after several attempts. Any idea as to why this may be?

I believe 'f10' was the key to enter the BIOS Setup Utility. However, looking through the tabs I did not see anything regarding the WLAN... Matter of fact I didnt see too many options for enabling/disabling anything.
Expert:  Matt S (UK) replied 8 years ago.
DearCustomer what of the WLAN On/Off key or button on the laptop itself? It is often in the form of either a sliding switch on the side or front of the laptop, or as a button or function key on the keyboard.

Please also note that if you find that one of my answers fixes your problem, you should 'Accept' my response. This helps me accrue points and reputation amongst the community of users, and is ultimately good for everybody.

Kind regards,
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
yes the wlan switch has been maintained on. When I boot my computer the "HP Wireless Utility" detects the switch is turned on and it says bluetooth enabled but it doesn't say anything about wlan. Before it would also say wlan enabled.
Expert:  Matt S (UK) replied 8 years ago.
It may be worth pressing the switch/key again. Sometimes with multiple wireless technologies, it'll cycle through the on positions for the devices in order.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Oh I've switched it between on and off a lot of times... I'm actually good with computers but this is just something I can't figure out on my own.

Could the fact that my computer will not boot after a restart be impacting the network adapter?
Expert:  Matt S (UK) replied 8 years ago.
It seems unlikely. If you have access to another laptop computer with a Mini-PCI or Mini-PCI-Express slot, then it's definitely worth trying the adapter in there.

It is possible that the card is faulty of course, but it'll be impossible to determine that fact until it's been tested in a known working laptop.

Alternatively, you could download and run a Live CD version of Ubuntu Linux, and attempt to connect to your wireless network from there. The Live CD does not install to your computer, nor does it affect any of your hardware in a lasting way. It just runs from the CD.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I doubt my adapter is faulty. It did the same thing before and I downloaded the driver and installed them and then restarted and the windows detected and installed the adapter after I restarted. I was able to use it. But then I had to restart my laptop for some other update and when I finally got it to boot it didnt detect the laptop. This was all within a couple days.
Expert:  Matt S (UK) replied 8 years ago.
Have you performed a System Restore back to the time before the update was installed?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Yeah and a second system recovery...So, in addition to my adapter issues, any idea why my laptop sometimes won't boot...
Expert:  Matt S (UK) replied 8 years ago.
If you know what the model of the adapter is, it might be worth downloading the driver from a different manufacturer's website. For instance, the Broadcom chip is used in many different brands of laptop, Packard Bell, HP, Acer etc. should contain the relevant driver for you. If indeed, you know the model of the card.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Ok. I've finished installing the version from that website. But I got the same "the program might not have been installed correctly" notice from the "program compatibility assistant" that I had gotten when I installed the driver off of the HP webpage.

Expert:  Matt S (UK) replied 8 years ago.
Ok, is there any reason you need to use the software that comes with the driver? It's possible to just install the driver, and use the Windows built in wireless tool to configure your wireless adapter.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
No clue. I haven't installed any software, just the driver. Windows simply will not detect it.
Expert:  Matt S (UK) replied 8 years ago.
Can you link me to the driver packages you've been installing? I'll see if I can extract the driver files themselves for you, or find them elsewhere on the Internet.
Expert:  Matt S (UK) replied 8 years ago.
Ok, here's what you need to do. Press the Windows key and R key together, to bring up the 'Run' dialog box. Into that box, type 'devmgmt.msc' without the quotes, and hit Enter/Press Ok. This will bring up the Device Manager.

You'll see a list of hardware categories. If your device is not installed properly, it will be highlighted. This is what I expect you will find. In this case, right click on the device in question, and select 'Update Driver Software'. This will bring up another window. You need to select 'Browse my computer for driver software'. Select the 'Browse' button in the next window, and navigate to the following address on your hard drive (Or paste it into the text box):


At this point, allow Windows to take over and install the driver software. Hopefully the wizard will complete successfully, and you'll end up with a fully installed Wireless adapter, which will be configurable within the Network and Sharing Center, or directly from the system tray.

This guide is based on the link you provided in your last answer. Remember, if my advice helps you, you should press 'Accept' to acknowledge and validate my advice.

Let me know how you get on.

Matt S.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks for that Matt. But, the adapter does not show up in the device manager... I looked and nothing has the yellow exclamation symbol which signals it isn't installed properly. Under Network Adapter I only see the bluetooth device.
Expert:  Matt S (UK) replied 8 years ago.
In Control Panel, select the 'Add Hardware' applet. This should search for the device, if it is operational, and set about installing it. You should be presented to similar options as with above. You may need to tweak my instructions a bit for this wizard, but the same principals apply.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
The wizard tells me that it does not find any new hardware on my computer. I know this has been ongoing and I thank you for all your help.

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