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28 November 2010

Life is too complicated. Connectivity help needed. [More:]Would anyone like to help me by figuring out why my new (to me) Windows Vista laptop won't connect to my wireless network? I have 5 devices connected already (2 XP laptops, 2 internet radios, and 1 Roku player) and have never had any problems before. It keeps insisting I have to enter logon information, which I shouldn't have to do, and don't even know what that would be.

I quite understand if no one wants to take on long distance tech support, but I don't know anyone local who knows anything.
Do you have WEP enabled on your wireless network? Is your SSID set for broadcast? Do you have MAC authentication turned on? Could any of these wireless router settings have changed since you last added a device to your network?

I used a vista laptop on my wireless network here and i dont recall any problems... But I've since put XP on that laptop...
posted by DarkForest 28 November | 17:03
Hmmm . . . WEP is the many-digit password thing, yes? I do have that, and always have, but the Vista laptop is not impressed. I don't know what the other two things are, but I'm pretty darn positive no settings have changed.
posted by JanetLand 28 November | 17:33
Did this ever connect? Or is this for the first time?
posted by Obscure Reference 28 November | 17:39
This is the first time -- I just got the computer, and so can't get it to connect at all.
posted by JanetLand 28 November | 17:43
WEP is bad. You need WPA2. WEP can be broken in less than five minutes. MACs are also easily decrypted. Best just to rely on WPA2-PSK.

Um... Hm. Any chance of screenshots of your vista laptops network connection dialog and/or router set up?
posted by apoch 28 November | 17:45
and by decrypted I mean copied. doh!
posted by apoch 28 November | 17:46
yeah, wpa... that's what i meant... [runs away in shame]
posted by DarkForest 28 November | 17:46
DarkForest, just saw a cable modem/router a few weeks ago that bragged about how it was super secure with it's WEP encryption, so don't feel bad.

And you can contact me on aim at psykosnail and I can try walking you through it.
posted by apoch 28 November | 17:51
Yeah, my verizon-provided dsl modem only has WEP. [cries]
posted by DarkForest 28 November | 17:54
The thing is, I couldn't care less about the encryption, whether it's good, bad, or indifferent. I just want this stupid laptop to connect to the internet. I can't do screenshots because the computer in question, of course, won't connect to the internet. What happens is: I hit the "windows" button on the screen, and select "Connect to". I then have a choice of wireless networks. I select "NETGEAR," which is mine. I then am offered the option of typing in a PIN from the router, or "I don't want to configure this network; I just want to connect [to the internet]." I choose the second option. Then I am told "additional logon information is required to connect to the network." This is not true! I require no such thing. But my only choices are: "Enter/select addition logon information" or "connect to some other network." I pick the first one, but I can't get anywhere, because I have nothing to enter. I have tried entering my big long encryption thing as a password, but that doesn't work. I have tried entering nothing, but that doesn't work either. There don't seem to be any other options. I have gone to my other computer and confirmed that there is no logon required. I don't know what to do now. I am frustrated and sad.
posted by JanetLand 28 November | 17:59
Is your wireless configured in such a way that you have a limited number of internal IP addresses, and that they consistently connectible by a limited scheme of mac addresses?? I set ours up like this, with five gadgets & six addresses. That would explain why the existing laptop is connecting fine, but not the newbie.
posted by tortillathehun 28 November | 18:04
Is the "big long encryption thing" a pass phrase? A 10 character string?
posted by Obscure Reference 28 November | 19:16
It is 26 letters/numbers long and is the encryption code designed to keep others from freeloading off my network. I've had to key it in for all the devices on the network, but there's no logon and password set up, which is what the Vista system keeps asking for.
posted by JanetLand 28 November | 20:36
This is getting more and more frustrating and upsetting. I was so happy to get a free computer (my sister upgraded), because I can't afford anything myself, and instead I have nothing, because computers today aren't worth much if they can't talk to the internet.
posted by JanetLand 28 November | 21:55
Oh! You're using 128 bit WEP.
posted by Obscure Reference 28 November | 22:08
Are you saying that's what the problem is?
posted by JanetLand 28 November | 22:10
I'm terrible at long-distance tech support, but here goes...

Random thoughts:
1. Is it possible there's more than 1 "NETGEAR"? I'm assuming not, but you never know.
2. This is probably a "duh" but what happens if you choose option 1? The PIN thing?
3. Have you tried logging in to your router from a working laptop?

Ooh, that led me to their knowledge base.
Does this help? This?
posted by Eideteker 29 November | 00:00
Don't despair JL. It will work eventually.

Some thoughts:
- do you still have the installation cd from your internet provider? Often they set this up automatically.
- do they have setup manuals on their website? Can you get their helpdesk to guide you through this?
- it seems that your new laptop doesn't recognise the protocol correctly. Maybe things will work better when you setup the wireless connection from scratch. But then you need the settings of your wireless network.
- maybe you can connect your laptop to the router using an old fashioned cable and then get someone to set it up for you using a remote desktop connection. Because it is hard to guess what's wrong without seeing the screen. Does remote desktop work through a router without configuring the router for this (opening ports etc)?

posted by jouke 29 November | 01:09
I hate vista and thus can't speak in a vista-specific manner, but:

Windows has a program to manage wireless connectivity. It is supposed to list the available wireless networks and allow you to choose one. It should allow you to see yours and to enter the 26 character key. If you can't get it to do its thing, you can google for some other (free) program that does the same thing and install it. You can also talk to your wireless source (router?) and turn off encryption or change it. There is also the question of whether your PC (laptop, I imagine with built-in wireless -- if not, say so) has its wireless receiver turned on (usually there's a tiny switch).

So . . .here are all the places things can go wrong:
1) Wireless router not working
2) PC wireless hardware turned off
3) " " " broken
4) Windows wireless manager program missing or non-functional

All of these can be dealt with in some way. From your description, I can't tell which it is. You can also connect your computer with a cable and run it wireless-less.
posted by Obscure Reference 29 November | 08:34
If you have other devices running wirelessly, we can rule out choice 1. You say it asks for login information but I don't know (from what you posted) who is asking for what. If you are seeing a list of wireless networks (by SSID) then 2 and 3 aren't the problem (and if "who" is vista's wireless management routine, then post a screenshot.)
posted by Obscure Reference 29 November | 08:39
It is Eideteker for the win -- this link did the trick. Life is still too complicated but at least I will be able to access the internet to keeping complaining about it. Thanks to everybody.
posted by JanetLand 29 November | 10:09
Hooray! Not bickering about encryption wins the day!
posted by Eideteker 29 November | 11:10
This reminds me of how I tried to get my old aunt to take part in the joys of the internet.
She declined. "For that you need a live in mechanic" (=husband)
posted by jouke 29 November | 14:16
Your old aunt is a smart one.
posted by JanetLand 29 November | 15:07
Well, for a lady of her generation it might be and understandable position to take. But of course it's not true: you can find mechanics to help you on the internet!
posted by jouke 29 November | 15:33
Janet, I have a gmail account w/ my MeCha name. Send me yr phone number; I'll call, we'll fix it.
posted by theora55 30 November | 19:54
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