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4. Insert the wireless card: Choose an empty slot on your
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laptop (you probably only have one), and then insert the card (see Figure 13-3). Although the card can only go in one way, be gentle because the card and the slot are somewhat fragile.
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Figure 13-3: Inserting a wireless card into a notebook
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5. Install the software and con gure the card: Sometimes
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Windows detects and con gures a wireless card without asking for additional software, but it is always a good idea to follow the instructions provided by the card s manufacturer and install the special software that came with the card. Typically this software includes updates and utilities that make the installation easier and enhance the card s performance.
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Read the manufacturer s instructions carefully because you may be asked to install the software before physically installing the wireless card (or vice versa).
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Update the Drivers for Your Wireless Card
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To get the best performance from your wireless card, you should update it with the most recent drivers, which are a type of software that controls your card. Occasionally manufacturers release new drivers for their products to offer enhanced features, x errors, and plug security holes.
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13: Installing a Wireless Card
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Determine the Current Version
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Before making changes to your drivers, you must nd out what version they are. Follow these steps to determine the version of your wireless card drivers on Windows XP Home Edition and XP Professional Edition:
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1. Double-click the wireless icon located in the lower-right
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2. Select Properties. 3. Click Con gure. 4. Click the Driver tab (see Figure 13-4).
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Figure 13-4: Driver details
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5. Grab a pen and paper and jot down the version number
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and release date for your wireless card s drivers. Follow these steps to determine the version of your wireless card drivers on Windows 98:
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1. 2. 3. 4.
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Right-click the My Computer icon on your desktop. Select Properties. Click the Device Manager tab. Click the + (plus sign) located next to the Network Adapters category.
5. Double-click the wireless card you want to check. 6. Click the Driver tab.
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7. Click Driver File Details. 8. Grab a pen and paper and jot down the version number
and release date for your wireless card s drivers.
Check for New Drivers
To determine if your drivers need to be updated, do the following:
1. Visit the website belonging to the manufacturer of your
wireless card. Click the Support or Downloads section of the site, and then look for information about drivers.
2. Locate the drivers on the website that correspond to your
speci c brand and model of wireless card.
3. Compare the version number of your current drivers with
the ones available on the website. If the website s drivers have a higher number than yours, that means your current drivers are outdated. Go ahead and download the new ones. Be sure to save them in a folder you can easily nd later, because you will need to access that folder when you update the drivers in the next step.
Update the Drivers
After downloading the new drivers, you need to update your wireless card through Windows. To update your wireless card on Windows XP Home Edition and XP Professional Edition:
1. Double-click the wireless icon located in the lower-right
corner of Windows.
2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Select Properties. Click Con gure. Click the Driver tab. Click Update Driver (see Figure 13-5). Follow the on-screen instructions.
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Figure 13-5: Updating the driver
To update your wireless card on Windows 98:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
Right-click the My Computer icon on your desktop. Select Properties. Click the Device Manager tab. Click the + (plus sign) located next to the Network Adapters category. Double-click the wireless card you want to update. Click the Driver tab. Click Update Driver. Follow the on-screen instructions.
Window XP s Wireless Auto Con guration
Windows XP offers Zero Con guration and Wireless Auto Con guration services that make it easier to use wireless networks. With Wireless Auto Con guration, you don t have to ddle with the often confusing con guration utilities that come with wireless cards. Here is how the Wireless Auto Con guration works:
1. The Wireless Auto Con guration prompts you with a message that says that wireless networks have been detected (see Figure 13-6).
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Figure 13-6: Wireless network detection prompt
2. Open the Wireless Network Connection dialog box. 3. Select the network you want to connect to (see Figure 13-7).
Figure 13-7: Selecting a wireless network
4. Windows attempts to connect to the network. If the network is protected with security features, you may be required to enter a WEP key or WPA key (which are similar to passwords). One of the following occurs:
If Windows successfully connects to the network, that network is automatically added to your list of preferred networks (see Figure 13-8). If Windows can t connect to any of the networks that are currently available, it tries to connect to the ones found in your list of preferred networks (previously shown in Figure 13-7). If Windows can t connect to those preferred networks, it uses your wireless card to scan for the presence of any wireless networks within range.