Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

Network Adapter won't enable on laptop

  1. #1

    Posts : 6
    Windows 8.1

    Network Adapter won't enable on laptop

    I am working on a laptop for a friend who's wireless will not enable. I was told that the issue occurred around the same time that the battery failed. I'll attempt to recall all the steps I have taken so far to attempt to resolve this. When CAT5 is unplugged, the wireless icon shows now networks available. Attempting to go to change device settings, the Wi-Fi adapter is disabled. Right click -> Enable shows the enabling pop up, but it remains disabled.

    Fn+F2 (keyboard shortcut for enable/disable wireless)
    Tried using a known working USB WiFi dongle (failed0
    Downloaded new driver from Dell based on the laptop's Service Tag
    Tried auto install, installed successfully, but no change
    Manually searched for driver and selected it, still no change
    Ran Windows Update
    Tried restoring to a 2 month old restore point (fails)
    Updated BIOS
    Checked, started, stopped and verified set to automatic "DW WLAN Tray Service" and "WLAN Autoconfig" in the services.msc
    Tried restoring to 2 month old restore point in Safe Mode (fails)
    Uninstalled hardware in device manager, reboot, reinstall from Dell support site

    I'm at a loss now. I have a Bachelors in Computer Science, and I cannot make a laptop enable it's wireless device.
    *NOTE* The wireless is a DW 1704 with built in Bluetooth. The Bluetooth works fine, but the Wi-Fi does not.*
    System Specs (directly from the site after running a HW scan. On the website, the network adapter shows as blank. However, it DOES appear correctly in my Device Manager.
    The device driver I install is: Network_Driver_GR38D_WN_6.30.223.245_A03.EXE

    Computer Model: Inspiron 3521
    BIOS Vendor: Dell Inc.
    BIOS Version: A12
    BIOS Date: 10/25/2013
    OS Version: Microsoft Windows 8.1
    Processor: Intel(R) Celeron(R) CPU 1007U @ 1.50GHx
    Memory: JDIMM 4 GB
    DVD Drive: PLDS DVD+-RW DU-8A5HH
    Disk Drives: WDC WD3200LPVX-75V0TT0
    Display Adapters: Intel(R) HD Graphics
    IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers: Intel(R) 7 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller
    Last edited by Griff01; 22 Jan 2015 at 20:12. Reason: Additional information

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    Somewhere on the laptop, there is a way to turn the wireless on or off. I would look for the user guide for that particular laptop (or google it) and then try turning the wireless on if its off and or off and back on. Let us know what you find...
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    Posts : 6
    Windows 8.1

    Fn + F2 key. I failed to mention that I tried that before anything else. Also, the same keystroke disabled the Bluetooth which is functioning. THe WiFi adapter has integrated Bluetooth. Starting to wonder if it may be a hardware problem, but I see no evidence of such from the hardware profiles in the Device Manager
    Good idea though.
    Last edited by Griff01; 22 Jan 2015 at 19:58. Reason: Forgot information.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    Central IL
    Posts : 3,468
    Linux Mint 17.2

    On my laptop, it is the Fn+F12 key sequence. There should be a symbol on the Fn key that controls the Wifi.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5

    Posts : 6
    Windows 8.1

    There is. Fn + F2 turns the radio/Wi-Fi on and off.
    Since the original post, I have booted Windows 8.1 to safe mode (what a convoluted mess that is...)
    Uninstalled Bluetooth software.

    Attempted to uninstall DW WLAN Card Utility but received an error message to which I can find no answer on Google.
    Uninstall Error: The removal of DW WLAN Card Utility cannot continue due to error code: .\Update.cpp 65.

    Ran MSCONFIG, hid all Microsoft products, and unchecked the rest
    Rebooted (clean boot), and rerun the install program for the WiFi and Bluetooth.
    Still same results of Bluetooth works (connected it to my phone), WiFi adapter will not enable.
    Windows Network Diagnostics states "There might be a problem with the driver for the Wi-Fi adapter"
    Manually set the Wi-Fi driver to C:\Program Files\Dell\DW WLAN Card\Driver\bcmwl64.inf and set it to the most current version compatible with the Inspirion 3521:
    I found a version on of, but as I have never heard of that site, I don't know the validity and safety of their downloads and haven't attempted to use it.

    The quest continues
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6

    Posts : 6
    Windows 8.1

    Running out of ideas. I've found information on similar cases where people wiped their OS and reinstalled in order to fix the problem. That makes NO SENSE to me as almost anything in the OS can be modified, if you know where to look. Can anyone reading this thread think of a setting, perhaps in the TCP/IP stack, a .dll, etc. that would cause all forms of Wi-Fi to not function.
    Neither internal Wi-Fi, nor USB Wi-Fi dongle will enable, so I'm sure it is software/OS related.
    Oh, there is a software that won't run or uninstall called DW LAN Card Utility. The uninstall error is:
    "The removal of DW WLAN Card Utility cannot continue due to error code: .\Update.cpp 65"

    NO luck on Google finding anything on it.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7

    United States
    Posts : 3,093
    Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit

    Repair install maybe? Also try sfc /scannow just for giggles.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8

    Posts : 6
    Windows 8.1

    SFC /scannow had errors, but the errors were all basically "unable to upload" which makes no sense since I am currently connected via cable. I'll try a repair install and update the forum then.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9

    Posts : 6
    Windows 8.1

    I am not sure what the issue was with this system, but I ended up doing a repair install, which I must say is my favorite tool in Windows 8 at this point. The feature of telling me exactly what software will need to be re-installed while keeping all personal docs, pictures, music, and video is pretty nice. I have to give kudos to Microsoft for getting that part right. Now if only the interface looked like Windows 7.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Network Adapter won't enable on laptop
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