How to install the Linksys Wireless-G Notebook Adapter

This post is dedicated to my dear ol’ Dad, who spent about a trillion hours on the phone with Compaq & Linksys trying to get this problem fixed so my dear ol’ Mom would have wireless.

The Compaq Presario 900 notebook is not initially compatible with the Linksys Wireless-G Notebook Adapter. If you are trying to install the Linksys Wireless-G Notebook Adapter in the Compaq Presario 900 under (?) any OS, you will find that there are multiple crashes, system lockups, and other problems that render the two incompatible. The issue is a Linksys driver problem.

The driver problem may effect all notebooks using the Texas Instrument CardBus Controller. I have found that many/most Compaq laptops and HP laptops use this controller. I have also found estimates that 80+% of laptops use this controller. Linksys is aware of the problem and has issued a “beta” series driver. You can get the driver from the Linksys page or download here.

Once you have the driver downloaded, you may need to follow the same steps I did to get the card working properly in Windows XP:

  1. Download the driver and unzip the distribution.
  2. Turn off the computer and then remove the Linksys card.
  3. Restart the computer and boot to Windows XP.
  4. Set a restore point. (Start>Programs>Accessories>System Tools>System Restore) so that you can undo these changes if you prefer.
  5. Once completed, hold down the WINDOWS KEY and press the PAUSE/BREAK key to display the System Properties window.
  6. Click the Hardware tab and then the DEVICE MANAGER button.
  7. View the NETWORK CONNECTIONS hardware by clicking the plus sign next to the listing.
  8. Double click on Wireless-G Notebook Adapter and click on the Drivers tab.
  9. Click on Update Driver.
  10. Select “Choose the device from a list of compatible hardware.
  11. Select “Specify a Location”
  12. Point the directory to where you’ve unzipped the drivers (e.g. C:\Linksys). Select Wireless-G Notebook Adapter. Click OK.
  13. Check the Drivers tab under the device information and verify that the driver version has now changed to 3.10.39

At this point you should be able to turn off the computer and reinsert the wireless card. When you reboot, the computer should operate without crashing — at least because of the wireless card problem. (HA! Little joke there!) Continue with configuring the network set up. There is a “set up” utility included with the beta distribution. I found that it has a nice interface and is pretty easy to use in setting up communication with the access point.

For all questions, contact Linksys technical support. Your computer’s manufacturer may/may not be familiar with this resolution.