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Help! My Wireless adapter is Freezing my computer!

By lauren.robertson ·
Hi,

I really need some help, i have been looking all over the net for answers to my problem with no luck!

My computer has just started randomly freezing (about a week ago) it is only a year old and has never done this before. It is totally odd, it will just freeze at any point.

I have sent it to see a technician, and he cant see any problems (ie, hardware or virus), the freezing only happens when i connect my computer using my Broadcom wireless adapter to the internet.

We have recently changed our router (D-link), which works fine (my computer is the only one affected by this) I just dont understand this, as it worked fine on our old router.

Why is this happening, i have routed out all other options the problem must be with the router or the wireless adapter.

My Computer stats are:
Acer Aspire 9301
Windows XP Media Center
Broadcom Wireless adapter 802.11b/g (which came installed in the computer)
D-link DIR-635 wireless router

Hope somebody can help,

Thanks

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All Answers

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Not sure if this will help...

by MGP2 In reply to Help! My Wireless adapter ...

Between seeing your headline about your pc freezing up and the fact that you have a DIR-655, I thought you might be having a similar problem to me. However, my problem involves my laptop and I'm using a Dlink DWA-652 adapter. Anyway, here's what happened.

Everything was fine until I updated the driver on my wireless adapter from V 1.20 to V 1.3. Almost right after, my laptop would come to a grinding halt. It would stop dead for about 15 seconds. I surmised that the adapter was sucking up all system resources, but I could never prove it. Anyway, I reverted my driver back to the older version and the problem stopped immediately.

I know that your problem occurred at the time of the router change, but it might be worth a try to see if there are any other available drivers for your adapter, whether newer or older, and try to see if that makes any difference.

Good luck,
MGP

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Clutching at straws

by PlipO In reply to Help! My Wireless adapter ...

I doubt that this question will progress the diagnosis much but I've read all the replies and I've not seen any mention to this.

What utility is controlling your wifi adapter ?
Are you using the application that was supplied with your adapter or using Windows Zero Configuration service ?

You seem to have gone through an exhaustive diagnostic process without any solutions therefore I'm trying to suggest anything that might remotely add some light to the situation.

This is a very long shot but have you considered changing the broadcast channel of you router. There is a possibility there is too much traffic your your area and the adapter might be having issues communication with router.
You can use a freeware such as Netstumbler to check the channels that are being used by other routers in your area, you can also use the configuration utility that was supplied with your wifi adapter.
You mentioned that you can use the adapter for up to two hours sometimes so traffic congestion is unlikely but it's all I can think of at present.

You might not able to identify the cause of the problem therefore it's worth accessing if the time you spending on this problem is beneficial in comparison to reinstalling the OS.

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Back to Basics

by L-Mo In reply to Help! My Wireless adapter ...

Since you are able to connect in Safe Mode w/ Networking it seems the hardware works, per say. You were also led through a lot of troubleshooting with msconfig. I would like to help clarify your issue.

When you say: "the freezing only happens when i connect my computer using my Broadcom wireless adapter to the internet"

Let's be clear.
1)If the adapter is disabled does it freeze? Are you able to use a wired connection with out freezing?

2)By freeze do you mean the entire system locks up? When you press the num key the light doesn't turn on/off; ctr+alt+dlt does nothing at all?

I don't mean to sound condisending I just want to be sure we're all talking about the same thing. Thanks :)

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Similar problem

by ddgunter In reply to Back to Basics

I have a similar problem with my Acer (Aspire 1692 WLMi) running WinXP. In my case there are two seemingly unrelated symptoms:

SYMPTOM 1: It freezes solid sporadically. Sometimes multiple times/day, sometimes every few days. Seems to be no set timing to it. And when it freezes, it really freezes: the screen remains fixed, no mouse movement, ctl-alt-del does nothing. Only holding the power button down for 5 seconds powers it off.

SYMPTOM 2: It takes a very long time starting up. The event log shows that some services are failing to start. I don't remember which ones but I think it's related to wireless. Eventually, it comes up and things work, but it's slow for quite awhile (10 minutes or more).

These symptoms do not occur in succession. They typically occur at times unrelated to each other.

IMPORTANT: As far as I remember this happens ONLY when I use the wireless connection to the network. When I use wired connection I always turn off wireless. And for the last few months I've use mostly wired connection and the problem has NEVER occurred. Today, I'm connecting wirelessly, and it freezes solid.

I am concluding that the problem is somehow related to the wireless functionality but I have no idea how, nor what to do about it.

Based on web searching I have found no conclusive reasons for this behaviour, although some point to a heat problem. Most simply say "I'll never buy Acer again" which doesn't help much, of course :-). Perhaps the use of wireless increases heat and causes the freeze, perhaps it has nothing to do with heat. My laptop has a fan whose speed is controlled internally. I cannot (do not know how to) turn it on manually, otherwise I'd do so just to see if that solves the problem.

Apologies for the long post. Any help is most appreciated. Thanks, Derrick.

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Several random thoughts here:

by robo_dev In reply to Similar problem

I somewhat doubt that it could be a heat/power management issue of some sort. If it were, the vendor-supplied diagnostics should be able to catch this, and the problem would more likely follow a pattern...eg only at a certain temperature.

I would look VERY closely at the drivers for the WLAN adapter AND the firmware for the WLAN adapter.

If you are running the latest adapter firmware, I would actually try downgrading to an older version of the software.

Similarly, in weird cases like this, actually downgrading a driver version may fix things. We all should not have to be somebody elses QA, but it happens....

If there are mutiple firmware releases, read the release notes very closely to see if this sort of issue has been on their fix-list or not.

And here's another approach: download and boot a CD-ROM based Linux distro. If the PC works perfectly on Linux, that rules out software and drivers. OTOH, if it freezes, then it's a heat/power mgt/firmware issue.

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Cause of lockup

by ddgunter In reply to Several random thoughts h ...

Thanks for the info. I can see how having a "bad" driver or firmware could cause wireless problems, but would it cause my computer to freeze solid? Have you heard of such cases? I have absolutely no wireless problems otherwise, none.
Incidentally, I did find a way to keep the fan on. The laptop comes with an eManager utility that allows it. I'll see how this affects things. Thanks.

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Two issues to look at

by robo_dev In reply to Help! My Wireless adapter ...

First, some multi-band (802.11 a/b/g) clients or routers get confused and start flip-flopping between modes, either at the client end or in the router. The fix is to set the client and the router to '802.11g-only'.

What security/authentication are you using?

If you are using WEP encryption, then make sure that 802.1x authentication is disabled in the laptop.

Also, if there are any third-party connection manager softwares (such as the Aegis client), then a misconfiguration there could cause a problem.

While I don't recommend running WLAN with security disabled, as a test, with encryption totally turned off everywhere, see if the PC can connect and maintain a stable connection. Don't do this for very long or your connection will soon be shared with neighbors, drive-by-hackers, and anybody else nearby.

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My Solution

by lauren.robertson In reply to Help! My Wireless adapter ...

I got so fed up with this issue, i just didn't have time to try anymore. So i gave in and just brought a new Netgear router (even though Dlink are higher rated) and this seems to have fixed the problem, my laptop connects and holds a connection just as before.

I am sure that there must of been some sort of setting on either the router or my computer which was causing this issue - but i just didn't have any more time to investigate!

Lauren

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