Windows – How to connect the Windows XP laptop to the internet

connectioninternetwindows xpwireless-networking

The Past

I have a Acer Travelmate 2300 laptop running Windows XP. 6 months ago I moved into a new apartment and got a new internet connection set up. After getting an internet connection installed in my apartment I reinstalled Windows XP and at the same time wiped my drive clean losing all the original Acer software and drivers. Once XP was reinstalled I had to find all the drivers again to get the Travelmate laptop connected to the internet. So, using my Vista laptop which was connected fine, I went to the Acer Travelmate Series drivers download page to download the necessary drivers. I transferred them to my Acer XP machine and installed them the best I could (there were no easy instructions so I just had to find all the executables and run them). I eventually got connected to the internet but not exactly in the way I had hoped for.

The Present

To be connected to the internet I need to have an Ethernet cord connecting my computer (via the Ethernet port) to my router. This is a problem since it defeats the purpose of having a Wireless LAN card in my Acer laptop.

One of the programs I downloaded from the Acer Travelmate Series page was the Acer Wireless LAN Configuration Utility. This program allows me to see the current network I am connected to and all the available networks I could potentially connect to. It reminds me of XP's Wireless Network Connection window/utility where you can see all available wireless networks, refresh the network list and connect to one of the networks.

I should mention that my ISP set up a security enabled wireless network with WPA. This network requires a network key if you want to connect to it. I guess my Vista computer has the network key entered into it already. The problem is that I do not know what the network key is. Now obviously you would say just contact my ISP to get the key. And I will but there is just one extra weird issue.

I am able to connect to another unsecured wireless network in the Wireless Network Connection window/utility. I can be on it as long as my Ethernet cable is plugged in. So this is not really wireless is it? And this indicates that even if I do get that network key password from my ISP, I will only solve one of the two problems I have. I will only solve being able to get online as long as I am connected to my router via the Ethernet cable.

The Main Questions

So how do I enable my acer IPN2220 Wireless LAN Card so that I can use my Acer laptop from anywhere with in my apartment?

Or should I first get the network key from my ISP to access my security enabled wireless network? And then deal with getting the acer IPN2220 Wireless LAN Card working?

Hard & Learned VS Easy & Stupid

Of course contacting the ISP would be easier. Have em just come in here and do there thing. The problem with that is that they do not speak English (yeah, im in Poland) and it'd be quite a time trying to understand what they are doing (uncomfortable looking over their shoulder). Also, I want to learn how to do this task myself so that I can fix the problem if it ever happens again. You know, be more self sufficient. I look forward to helpful replies.


Best Answer

Use NirSoft's WirelessKeyView to retrieve the encryption key from your Vista computer.

And make sure the WLAN adapter is turned on (Fn + F7, may require the keyboard/hotkey driver to be installed).