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There are already variations of this question, but I haven't found the help I'm looking for.

I have a Gateway NV series laptop that doesn't work anymore. I bought it only a year ago and I think the hard drive is fried because I would play intense and demanding games all day on it. Why it's messed up doesn't matter, but I recently bought a new desktop PC. It's a CyberpowerPC Ultra Gamer, and it has everything except wifi on it.

I was wondering if I could take out the wifi card from my laptop (I already know how to do this) and somehow put it in my new desktop PC? How would I go about doing this? Would I need a special adapter or something? And finally, if I was able to get the wireless card from my laptop into my desktop PC, how would I install the new hardware (wifi card)? Would I need special drivers or what?

4 Answers 4

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You can get a mini pci -> pci (for a mini PCI) or a mini pci-e adaptor fairly cheap. Its just a simple 'mechanical' adaptor that routes the pins on the mini card to its full sized cousin. You can then use the same drivers as for the laptop

These are actually specifically made for this, and look something like

enter image description here

for a mini pci - > pci based adaptor

or

enter image description here

for a mini pci-e to PCIe based one.

Try these google searches 1 2 for details

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  • If a motherboard has a slot thats compatible is it possible to use laptop WiFi antennas to attach in a desktop? Commented Nov 28, 2013 at 3:00
  • I do believe so - I've used laptop wifi antennas externally on a laptop with no antennas off a donor card. you'd need to stick those flat patch antennas somewhere tho
    – Journeyman Geek
    Commented Nov 28, 2013 at 3:30
  • So then I could just buy some cheap internal laptop antennas that would hook up normally and route them around the case? Commented Nov 29, 2013 at 3:01
  • They'd need to have the right sort of connectors, and probably not be right behind a steel bit of the case. Most of these adaptors have external antenna for a reason. Its obviously going to take some experimentation
    – Journeyman Geek
    Commented Nov 29, 2013 at 3:07
  • Thanks for the feedback... I forgot about the metal problem. Since most cases are mostly steel I'm just going to opt for one of those adapters. Commented Nov 29, 2013 at 3:08
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The biggest problem you're going to face is finding a compatible slot on your motherboard for the laptop's WiFi card. It's highly unlikely that there'll be a compatible slot.

It would be far simpler to buy a wireless USB adapter and use that. You can pick them up for less than £10 (UK prices) and they'll "just work" after you plug them in.

If the transfer rate on a USB adapter isn't good enough you can pick up a wireless network card for less than £20 (UK prices).

Though looking here at the transfer rates they all seem to be roughly the same. The only thing that seems to correlate is the cost. The more you are prepared to spend, the higher the transfer rate.

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  • 1
    I agree, and any hardware that would allow you to use the laptops WiFi-card would be more expensive than a new WiFi card for your PC.
    – Nifle
    Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 14:39
  • Thanks for you input I appreciate it. However, I've heard that usb adapters for WiFi are notorious for their transfer rate; is it true that they are very slow compared to a wireless card installed inside the computer? Please shed some light on this and your own experiences. Thanks!
    – John Vales
    Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 14:40
  • @JohnVales - Well there is always an internal Wireless card.
    – ChrisF
    Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 14:41
  • Hey thanks a lot ChrisF. I think I'm finally convinced to just stop this BS and get a USB wifi adapter. Are there any brands you can recommend so I can kind of know what to look for?
    – John Vales
    Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 14:48
  • @JohnVales - I've not had reason to use one yet, but I've used TP-Link wireless routers and they've been OK.
    – ChrisF
    Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 14:51
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Honestly it depends on your type of laptop because some adapters for a desktop are larger and smaller than most laptop cards so it will be very hard to find the right type unless you have a adapter that gives you the right size and gives it power

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Geez, if you are going to go to all that trouble, and you are actually going to "purchase" something (you need the PCI conversion card, right?) ...

...you may as well must buy an external USB Wifi adapter...much easier, and you can use longer USB cables to get some length and move the adapter closer to the router (if you actually needed to) ...why in the world would anyone actually buy this for wifi, I have NO idea!

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