Need to put a new wireless internet card in your Toshiba Satellite laptop? No problem. Here's a step by step guide on doing it quickly, and cheaply.
Wireless Cards: Do I Need a New One?
The question of whether you need a new wireless card for you laptop is a tricky one to answer simply because - unless yours is totally busted - it's left up to your discretion and computer knowledge. On one end, it's fair to say that all wireless cards are going to break at some point, so replacing yours now will certainly put off the inevitable for a little while longer. On the other hand, why fix something that isn't broken yet? If you replace it now, you run the risk of not having needed to replace it for months or even years into the future. Is it really worth upgrading?
The type of wireless card you'd want to get is also going to vary depending on your current situation. Maybe you know that your house or apartment isn't the most wireless-friendly, so you'll want to opt for a stronger or faster wireless card to make up for that. In any case, use your best judgement, because it really is the best weapon you have in deciding something like this.
The first couple of things you need to do are pretty simple, but they are arguably the most important things in this whole process: First, shut down your laptop, unplug it, and then remove the battery. This will ensure there is no active or residual power in the device so you won't electrocute yourself (which is unlikely either way) while we're working inside your laptop.
The second step of preparation is to gather some usable materials. The only thing you will absolutely need to do this is a small Phillips head screwdriver, but it's recommended that you keep a screw tray handy as well, since laptop screws tend to be very small.
Remove the PCI Slot Cover
The first actual work you're going to do on this project is to remove the thin plastic panel holding the keyboard in on your Satellite. To do this, remove all the screws holding it in and pop it off. Set is somewhere where you will not lose it, put the screws in the screw tray you're (hopefully) using, and then move onto the next step.
Remove the Keyboard
Once the casing is removed, you should be able to see the exposed screws that are physically holding the keyboard in. Take your screwdriver and carefully remove these screws as well, ensuring that you don't scratch them up, or otherwise scratch up the keys, sensors, or screen on your laptop. There should only be two screws holding they keyboard in, so if it refuses to pop out after you've gotten both removed, check for anything that might be snagging it in or preventing it from moving, such as a caught wire, and fix it before moving on. Do NOT force the keyboard out, as this could damage vital internal elements of the laptop.
When you slide the keyboard out gently, there will be a ribbon connecting it to the laptop. Unlatch and remove it from the slot before continuing.
Install the New Wireless Card
With the keyboard removed, the PCI slots within the computer should be exposed and you should see little slots labeled with the color white. These white slots are "PCI" slots, and they are where your wireless card will go as soon as you figure out exactly how to put it in. Thankfully, this is what we're here for.
When you take the wireless card out of the box, assuming you got the right kind, you'll see most of it is just an ugly sort of color with one end that's shiny and metallic. This is the end you want to connect into the white PCI slot. To do this, simply insert it into the labeled location, give it a firm push after it's in to make sure it's as far in as it'll go, and then move on to the next step.
Replace the Case
Now comes my favorite step, partially because it means we're nearly done, and partially because it's the only step that's rhymed so far. In order to replace everything you've removed, you really shouldn't have to do much more than follow these steps backwards, but in case you get lost, here's a brief overview:
First, you'll want to reconnect the ribbon from the keyboard to the laptop. Make sure it's inserted all the way so as not to have the keyboard malfunction when you start up again. Clamp the clasp down and then move onto the next step.
- Place the keyboard back in its original position and screw the two screws back in.
- Replace the plastic casing and screw it all back together.
- Flip the laptop over, replace the battery, plug it back in, and then do one last check to make sure everything was installed properly.
- Turn on the computer and attempt to use the wireless card.
If, upon doing this, you still don't have any luck using your wireless card, I suggest trying the installation process again, but if that doesn't work, search for drivers online. For the most part, you shouldn't need them. At the end of the day, if you're still not having luck, it's best to let a professional handle it.
TechTips, How to Install a Toshiba Satellite Internal Wifi Wireless Card into a PCI Slot, http://techtips.salon.com/install-toshiba-satellite-internal-wireless-wi-fi-card-pci-slot-2642.html
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