written by: Regina Woodard•edited by: M.S. Smith•updated: 10/9/2010
The Dell wireless utility is an important part of configuring and controlling your wireless network connection on a Dell computer, but for some users, the program is hard to understand.Here's how to use the Dell wireless LAN card utility
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What is the Dell Wireless Lan Card Utility?
The Dell wireless LAN card utility is a program that essentially allows a user to manage their wireless settings. The program allows for users to find and connect to wireless networks that are in the area, configure wireless networks, run diagnostics on the network card itself, get information on the status of the network, and find information about the utility and the card itself.
The utility is a standard program that comes installed on all Dell laptops that are purchased (though newer laptops with Windows 7 may use the Windows wireless program) and can easily be enabled (if not already) and disabled. This article will go over how to use the utility - from installing it, to the icon, to setting up the network, as well as going over some troubleshooting steps.
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Using the Dell Wireless Utility
The wireless utility can easily be reinstalled via either the disk that came with the original packaging components or by going to the Dell support page. There are three options for what you use your computer for - home/home office, small - large business, and enterprise - choosing one will take you to the area where you can choose your computer and then be taken to a drivers & download page. The user guide for the wireless utility can also be found with the original packaging (going to the help portion of the program brings up the guide) or it can be viewed within Dell's documentation area.
The wireless utility should pick up the networks that are in your surrounding area. In the lower right portion of the task bar, you will see the familiar wireless bars and a pop up that may say local area networks have been found. Click on that message to be presented with the Dell wireless utility welcome screen. You can also go through the Start menu and All Programs to find it as well. If your network has been found, you just need to select it, enter in any information required (such as the password), and then select OK. You should then be connected.
If you do not see your network, you can use the utility to 'add' it or any others that you wish to be connected to.
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While most times the utility will work just fine, there are times when issues arise. The main issue regarding the Dell wireless LAN card utility is the ability to connect to a network. The first steps a user should do if they are unable to connect is to make sure that the wireless adapter is turned on. For desktops, this is usually a setting that can be switched on with the Network Connection/Network Neighborhood panel in the Windows operating system or through the device manager. For laptops there is usually a switch or button either on the top panel, just above the keyboard, or a switch or button on the side or front of the laptop.
The more popular issue is the conflict between the Dell utility and that of the Windows utility that is built in the operating system. In most cases, Windows will disable its own utility if the Dell one is being used, but in some cases, both are turned on and the computer isn't sure which to use.
To disable the Dell utility, open it to the Wireless Networks tab, and uncheck 'let this tool manage your network'
To disable the Windows utility, right the network icon at the bottom right of the task bar, and select open Network Connection. Right click the wireless adapter, then properties. Find the Wireless Tab, then de-select 'use Windows to manage wireless networks'