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T61 Wireless Failure Hardware or Software?

2013-11-21, 3:53 AM
When I last used it (in September), my wireless on this old T61 (6459-CTO) was working perfectly, but tonight I can't get it even to show available networks. I know my wi-fi LAN is working because other devices can connect, but can't see it or any other neighborhood networks on this ThinkPad laptop. In what should be the list of available networks it just shows a message, "Windows cannot configure this wireless connection..." I'm running Windows XP SP3, the machine is vintage 2008, ipconfig/all says the wireless adapter is an 11a/b/g Wireless LAN Mini PCI Express Adapter, Device Manager says the device is working properly, both the hardware and the software (ThinkVantage) radio switches are on, and the wi-fi light on the front panel is illuminated and blinking occasionally. There have been a few Microsoft Updates since wi-fi last worked, but nothing else has changed to my knowledge. How do I determine whether this is a software or a hardware problem? Thanks in advance -- JCW2
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7651 Posts

11-24-2007

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Re: T61 Wireless Failure Hardware or Software?

2013-11-21, 4:09 AM

Download and burn a "live" Linux DVD, such as Mint and boot from it.

 

If you're able to connect wirelessly there, the issue is within Windows.

 

If not, there's a hardware problem somewhere.

 

http://www.linuxmint.com/edition.php?id=105

 

Good luck.

 

 

Cheers,

George




In daily use: R60F, R500F, T61, T410

Collecting dust: T60

Enjoying retirement: A31p, T42p,

Non-ThinkPads: Panasonic CF-31 & CF-52, HP 8760W




Starting Thursday, 08/14/2014 I'll be away from the forums until further notice. Please do NOT send private messages since I won't be able to read them. Thank you.
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7651 Posts

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  • Message 2 of 22

Re: T61 Wireless Failure Hardware or Software?

2013-11-21, 4:09 AM

Download and burn a "live" Linux DVD, such as Mint and boot from it.

 

If you're able to connect wirelessly there, the issue is within Windows.

 

If not, there's a hardware problem somewhere.

 

http://www.linuxmint.com/edition.php?id=105

 

Good luck.

 

 

Cheers,

George




In daily use: R60F, R500F, T61, T410

Collecting dust: T60

Enjoying retirement: A31p, T42p,

Non-ThinkPads: Panasonic CF-31 & CF-52, HP 8760W




Starting Thursday, 08/14/2014 I'll be away from the forums until further notice. Please do NOT send private messages since I won't be able to read them. Thank you.
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Re: T61 Wireless Failure Hardware or Software?

2013-11-21, 17:09 PM
>>Download and burn a "live" Linux DVD, such as Mint and boot from it.<< Yikes! I've never used Linux in my life. Are any of the symptoms I mentioned meaningful? -- JCW2
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Re: T61 Wireless Failure Hardware or Software?

2013-11-22, 0:04 AM

I've suggested the procedure that I've been using for years, on hundreds of ThinkPads, to troubleshoot the issues similar to the one you're experiencing.

 

By booting a "live" disk and testing the wireless connection in that environment you'd effectively be pointing to either hardware or software as a definitive, known culprit.

 

That's the best piece of advice I can offer from a distance.

 

Good luck.

Cheers,

George




In daily use: R60F, R500F, T61, T410

Collecting dust: T60

Enjoying retirement: A31p, T42p,

Non-ThinkPads: Panasonic CF-31 & CF-52, HP 8760W




Starting Thursday, 08/14/2014 I'll be away from the forums until further notice. Please do NOT send private messages since I won't be able to read them. Thank you.
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4486 Posts

07-24-2013

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Re: T61 Wireless Failure Hardware or Software?

2013-11-22, 8:58 AM

wrote:
Yikes! I've never used Linux in my life.

It sounds scary but some Linux distros are as easy and intuitive to use as Windows. I'd recommend to download the latest Linux Mint version, you have a start button and a Windows-like menu. And for your T61 all hardware will be recognized out of the box. 

 

So give it a try, as pointed above by Ajkula 66 this is the best way to check if it's a driver or hardware issue. 


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Re: T61 Wireless Failure Hardware or Software?

2013-11-22, 16:11 PM

>>It sounds scary but some Linux distros are as easy and intuitive to use as Windows. I'd recommend to download the latest Linux Mint version, you have a start button and a Windows-like menu. And for your T61 all hardware will be recognized out of the box.<<

 

>>I've suggested the procedure that I've been using for years, on hundreds of ThinkPads, to troubleshoot the issues similar to the one you're experiencing.<<

 

OK, thanks guys. I'll bite the bullet and report back. (A bootable Linux DVD is probably useful in a lot of other contexts too...)

 

-- JCW2

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Re: T61 Wireless Failure Hardware or Software?

2013-11-22, 20:09 PM

George et al. -- I'm up and running in live Linux Mint "Maya" Cinnamon now from DVD.

 

>>By booting a "live" disk and testing the wireless connection in that environment you'd effectively be pointing to either hardware or software as a definitive, known culprit.<<

 

These are not really your problems, but I can't find much of use in the "User Guide," so...

 

1) I found the firewall and figured out how to ignore incoming packets, so I assume I can safely use the built-in FireFox through my wired connection, right? (Now I'm back in Windows XP).

 

2) Although I shut down Windows with the wireless (and BlueTooth) turned on (panel lights on and blinking occasionally), I cannot see how to turn it (them) on in Linux. I found settings for wireless on/off and "airplane mode," but they don't seem to do anything to the indicator llight. There are no available connections listed in the box. I don't even know if the adapter is configured with a driver or how to use it. What now? Sorry for the ignorant questions.

 

-- JCW2

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  • Message 8 of 22

Re: T61 Wireless Failure Hardware or Software?

2013-11-22, 21:02 PM

Actually Linux should recognize your wireless card out of the box. If you make sure you have the wireless switch "on" on your Thinkpad Linux Mint should connect without issues.

 

You should first see a network icon on the bottom right corner, if you click on it you will see a list of wireless networks. Then you should identify yours (do you know your SSID?), click on it, enter your password (provided you have one) and that's it.

 

You shouldn't touch firewalls or alikes within Linux, although not knowing your network setup I cannot assure it. Who did set up your wireless btw? 


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  • Message 9 of 22

Re: T61 Wireless Failure Hardware or Software?

2013-11-22, 23:44 PM

>>You should first see a network icon on the bottom right corner, if you click on it you will see a list of wireless networks. Then you should identify yours (do you know your SSID?), click on it, enter your password (provided you have one) and that's it.<<

 

Worked like a charm once you showed me where to look. (It's frighteningly similar to Windows in that way!) I even got my blue-tooth mouse connected more easily than in Windows. Thanks!

 

>>You shouldn't touch firewalls or alikes within Linux, although not knowing your network setup I cannot assure it.<<

 

This I (still!) don't understand: The Linux firewall comes up off (apparently). That can't be good, can it?

 

>>Who did set up your wireless btw?<<

 

I did, manually because the automatic way wouldn't work.

 

Which brings us to the final conclusion (thanks to your help!): The hardware is working, so the problem must be in software.  The only thing I can think of is that a recent Windows Update deleted or replaced the wireless driver (or some other part of the wireless software) because of some newly discovered vulnerability. I suppose I should next try re-installing the driver, right?

 

The thing that's nagging me is that I think I had to change drivers to get to connect to my wireless-g/n router with WPA2-PSK when I first set it up several years ago... Should I just look for a new one for the (ancient) card on the Lenovo downloads site, let Windows try to find one for me, or try to exhume the old one?

 

-- JCW2

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  • Message 10 of 22

Re: T61 Wireless Failure Hardware or Software?

2013-11-23, 2:56 AM

Look:  I finally learned how to format a post (seems I have to permit scripts from a site called "lithium.com" in addition to the expected "lenovo.come")!

 

For what it's worth, here are the driver versions that I can find for my wireless card:

 

Currently installed (11/22/13), non-working version: 7.6.1.184c (11/5/2008) Atheros for 11a/b/g/n

 

Previous versions in in My Documents:                     7.4.2.134 (?) ? for 11a/b/g/n (max supported is ThinkPad 11b/g Wireless LAN Mini PCI Express Adapter III) (mentions WPA2)

                                                                               5.3.0.85 (11/2/2007) ? for 11a/b/g (max supported is ThinkPad 11a/b/g Wireless LAN Mini PCI Express Adapter -- adapter I have) (does NOT mention WPA2)

 

Now on Lenovo Support Site:                                 7.6.1.260b (10/6/2009) ? for 11a/b/g/n (max supported is ThinkPad 11b/g Wireless LAN Mini PCI Express Adapter III) (mentions WPA2)

                                                                               6.0.3.94b (8/28/2007) ? for 11a/b/g/n (ONLY supported are ThinkPad 11b/g/n Wireless LAN Mini PCI Express Adapter and ThinkPad 11a/b/g/n Wireless LAN Mini PCI Express Adapter, NOT mine) (mentions WPA2)

 

-- JCW2

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