Friday, 27 January 2012

less bait and more switch?

Windows 2.03 I had a sort of flashback to ye olden days of Windows computing today.

The situation was simple enough. I'd unpacked a fresh new laptop to be used for a specific purpose and naively plugged it in to get it working.

This was straight from the carton and the only taxing thing I wanted it to do was be able to connect with the internet. I won't go into the background use here, suffice to say it wouldn't work.

"No wi-fi connection," announced the shiny Windows 7 interface.

"Silly me," I thought - "I need to press Fn 8 to switch on the Wi-fi."

But it didn't work. It said I needed to flick the hardware switch "on the surface of the computer - or underneath it" - to make the Wi-fi work.

I looked around the unit. No switch. I pressed the Fn 8 a few more times. Still nothing.

A moment of mild panic as I wondered bizarrely if this shiny new 2012 device didn't have Wi-fi included.

I read the carton and even the user instructions. Yes, of course there was Wi-fi included.

So I found an ethernet cable and plugged it in to get internet access via a direct connection instead. Yes, that worked - but is not so useful on a laptop computer, which is supposed to be portable.

Then I accessed the supplier website - and guess what - I'm not the only one with this problem. There's plenty of other people playing 'hunt the switch'. And there isn't a switch.

Then I remembered this was a Windows computer. Inevitably there would be new drivers to replace the factory installed ones.

Sure enough, I found a long set of instructions which were not for the faint-hearted. It explained I needed to download three new sets of drivers. I must make sure they are the 64 bit ones, not the 32 bit variants. Then uninstall the WLAN driver, reboot, uninstall the TVAP drivers and programs, re-boot, run a registry cleaner called CCregistry. Reinstall the replacement WLAN driver. Reinstall the dozen or so utilities included in the 175Mb download of the TVAP drivers. Reboot. Test the WLAN driver and it should all work.

It did.

I now had a Windows laptop with Wifi. Like the one I thought was in the carton I'd opened, several hours earlier.

I reminded myself that I must really, really, really want to use the particular Windows program that this PC will support. And I hope that someone re-examines the meaning of 'Plug and Play' before Windows 8 gets released. WIndows 8


OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

OY VEY! One's worst nightmare...!
Windows 7 is just a somewhat re-adjusted Vista, which stank!!!!

rashbre said...

Naomi I have managed to de-wibble it all now - so that it is working properly.

Mr Brightside said...

My first real encounter was the 'gem' windowed interface on the Atari ST, which still sits in its box in my parent's loft - it was a beautiful machine :)