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I have a desktop box with both a regular ethernet NIC and a "wireless PCI express card LAN Adapter". The NIC is plugged into a wired router (which I use to split my internet connection between this and another PC).

So as far as I'm concerned, I'm not - or at least should not - be using any sort of wireless connection, but there's a little blue LED with an antena icon that's always blinking, fairly reliably if not necessarily regularly. I believe it's a wireless signal indicator, although I guess it could also maybe mean bluetooth (but I don't have any bluetooth devices either). Should I be worried that others might be connected to my computer? Why does the light blink if I'm not intentionally using any sort of wireless connection/protocol?

It's an HP Pavilion running Vista, and the case looks like this:

enter image description here

You can kind of see two LED indicators just unter the HP logo in the center. The antenna icon sort of looks like this:


I show two items in my "Network Connections" dialog, a regular Local Area Connection, as expected, and a Wireless Network Connection, which I've disabled (but still, the light, it blinks). Could I be connected to a neighboring wireless network and not know it? Is there an easy, definitive way to tell? Or am I just letting that little blue blinky get to me?!?!

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+1 for ASCII art. =) – Nathaniel Jan 6 '10 at 6:16

It could just be listening in to check what APs are there- on the other hand the stock windows wireless manager has been known to connect to unsecure APs - i tend to think, if you want to be sure, try deactivating it from device manager.

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+1, you pretty much wrote what I was going to, so changed mine around a little - but you deserve credit. – William Hilsum Jan 6 '10 at 5:32
When I checked in Device Manager, the Wireless PC card was already disabled; AFAICT, this is because I'd already disabled the Wireless Network Connection in another dialog (i.e. enabling one, enabled the other). – not my real name Jan 6 '10 at 5:40

If you have disabled the wireless connection, I am confused as to why it would still blink, however, I really would not worry about this at all.

It is probably hardware built so that if it has power, it blinks - even if just idle.

In addition to what The Journeyman geek said, it could simply be a a "hey, I'm a random LED to tell you that I am wireless card" and not a data/transmit LED.

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That's kind of what I always assumed, i.e. that it didn't really mean anything, but once I got curious and started looking it turned out to be surprisingly hard to find out one way or another what exactly it's supposed to indicate. Probably just a little confirmation bias on my part, but sometimes it helps to just get a reality check. – not my real name Jan 6 '10 at 5:54
or it could be a mind control device >_> GET THE TIN FOIL more seriously though I can't think of too many internal wireless cards that blink when they transmit- most DO have a light for power though... so thats plausible – Journeyman Geek Jan 6 '10 at 8:06

Here is probably a better picture, but still don't know the model, so I will give a bit of generic answer:

Disable the wireless functions you do not need with the use of HP Wireless Assistant.

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That is a better picture, but the light is on the front; it would be easier to ignore if it were on the back. ;) The actual model number is m9450f - sorry, I should have included that to begin with. I'll see what I can find out from the HP wireless assistant. thanks. – not my real name Jan 6 '10 at 5:47
Ah, I didn't knew that it's at the front of it as the same mark appears at the back too. Anyway, although the other answers explain perfectly they "why" part of your answer, I see that you tried to disable it already, so I hope my answer to give a more practical perspective and the HP Wireless Assistant to just help you get rid of it altogether. – Saxtus Jan 6 '10 at 17:23

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