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This one is puzzling me. A friend on a trip is having this issue with a vista laptop.

  • He can connect to a paid wireless network fine, and surf normally with IE.

  • He can't connect to his hotel's free wireless, but other people on the trip connect fine. He verified the password with other people and used the "show characters" box to make sure it was being typed properly. He also tried moving to the lobby to make sure he was in range.

  • He has a weird symptom... there's another wireless network in range, unrelated to the hotel or the paid service. Windows keeps attempting to connect to this network. I had him right click, go to properties, connection, and make sure all boxes are UNchecked (so... connect automatically is unchecked). And I had him right click and choose disconnect. But after a second, windows attempts to reconnect anyway. Is that normal in vista?

  • Ran SFC /scannow and windows reported some files couldn't be fixed, but it's pretty much impossible to read cbs.log (especially as I'm not in front of it). Not sure if this is even related.

  • He had norton and windows firewall turned on. had him disable all norton services and apps, plus windows firewall and security center. Rebooted. Problem persists.

So what's going on here? He's used numerous other networks without issues, and can use the paid network without issue right now.

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Sounds buggy. As far as the 'other network' the computer attempts to connect to, have him remove that connection's profile from the wireless settings as opposed to telling it to not connect. –  Mechaflash Jan 24 '12 at 18:27
    
Wireless card driver up-to-date? Intel drivers are known to be buggy. –  billc.cn Jan 24 '12 at 18:31
    
Does he actually have permission to use the hotel's network? If so, he can get support from their tec staff. –  Xavierjazz Jan 24 '12 at 18:34
    
Vista doesn’t have 7 years yet. –  kinokijuf Jan 24 '12 at 20:10
    
@mechaflash I'll have him try that. –  CreeDorofl Jan 24 '12 at 21:09

1 Answer 1

Sounds buggy. As far as the 'other network' the computer attempts to connect to, have him remove that connection's profile from the wireless settings as opposed to telling it to not connect.

Also, seeing that the laptop is a bit old, its possible that it doesn't accept the newer encryption methods. The hotel may be running on WPA2-PSK password encryption and the laptop may only be able to use up to WPA-PSK or even only WEP.

In most cases, the ability to support various levels of encryption is actually a function of the wireless hardware being used. That means that there are wireless adapters that can support WEP just fine, but cannot support WPA or WPA2 no matter what you do. There's no way to just "turn it on in Windows" because it's not Windows that's the limiting factor, it's the hardware.

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WPA2 doesn’t need hardware support afaik. –  kinokijuf Jan 25 '12 at 14:01
    
My old laptop (8+ yrs) doesn't support WPA2. Added a link in my answer –  Mechaflash Jan 25 '12 at 14:17
    
So I guess it doesn’t support WPA either. –  kinokijuf Jan 25 '12 at 14:29
    
It may or may not. Not exactly sure if WPA2 is automatically supported if WPA is supported. The linked post may only have given one example but not the other. –  Mechaflash Jan 25 '12 at 14:36

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