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Help! Windows XP WPA Has Stopped Working!

written by: Lashan Clarke•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 6/27/2011

If it is determined that the WPA encryption has stopped working, this article will outline various ways to fix the problem and have your wireless connection resume working.

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    Troubleshooting WPA Encryption

    If the wireless connection appears to stop working on your computer system, it is recommended to first try connecting to the internet without the use of WPA encryption. This should confirm that it is actually the WPA Encryption that is causing the problem and not something else wrong with the Internet connection.

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    Check Your Time and Date Settings

    If it is determined that the WPA encryption has stopped working, a second minor adjustment that can potentially fix this problem, would be to check the time and date settings on the computer. If the computer has incorrect time or date settings, this could affect WPA security. Check thtat the correct date, time, or time zone is selected and try the wireless connection again.

    To adjust the time and date settings in XP,

    1. Right click on the time clock located in the bottom right of the desktop screen.
    2. Click "Adjust date/time" and this opens up the computer's clock where the date and time can be adjusted.

    An alternative method to this is,

    1. Clicking on the "Control Panel" from the Start button and
    2. Selecting "Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options" to adjust the date and time.

    For some users this has rectified the problem, and their wireless connection has returned.

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    Upgrade Your Driver

    Another way to fix the WPA wireless if it has stopped working is to download the latest wireless network interface card device (NIC) driver. A NIC card gives a computer system the ability to connect to other computer either near by or far away. Since this is a type of hardware, one of the reasons why WPA has stopped working in XP could be due to old driver files needing to be updated.

    This is quite simple and involves discovering which network card has been installed in the computer and visiting the manufacturer’s Web site for the latest version of the driver. To install the upgraded driver,

    1. Go to “Start”,
    2. Then click “Control Panel.” After the control panel window opens,
    3. Select “System” then click the “Hardware” tab.
    4. Click “Device Manager” and when the Device Manager windows opens,
    5. Expand “Network Adapters”
    6. Search for your wireless card, and right click to choose “Properties.”
    7. After the “Properties” window opens,
    8. Select the “Driver” tab and choose “Update Driver.” This section can also be used to view detail about the current device driver installed.

    After it is updated, reboot the computer for the new driver to be recognized.

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    Reducing WPA Passphrase Length

    A WPA Passphrase is a key called a WPA-PSK or a pre-shared key. The best passphrase is one that is longer than 18-25 characters. For some people, reducing the length of their passphrase to only 13 Hexadecimal characters might also be a way of preventing WPA from entering a “timeout”. It is still recommended that the passphrase for WPA be as long as possible, however in certain instances the encrypted wireless connection has returned when the passphrase length was reduced. Therefore, try shorter passphrase but be sure to include alpha-numeric characters.

    In conclusion, along with updating the date and time settings or updating drivers, changing the WPA passphrase might also be a solution. It is also recommended that if your network card supports it, make the upgrade from WPA to WPA2.