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Upgrading wireless card? Answered

I bought an Atheros wireless-N mini PCI-E card for an HP DV7 series laptop, to replace the Broadcom wireless-G card, however, when installed, I just get a bios error "unsupported network card". I removed it and restarted with the original card and it works fine. I trhen tried installing the card live, and it detected it and installed the software, but then BSOD (my first one for Windows 7 actually), so I swapped back to the original card again. I then installed the card in the secondary bay, live, and it installed the drivers successfully, but when swapped with the original card again (the wires don't reach to the other bay), it failed to boot again. How can I replace the original card?



Best Answer 7 years ago

There are 2 main possibilities. One -- the card is defective and Two -- the card is not compatible with the hardware or software.

So, first try the card in another computer. It is not unusual to get something and have it be DOA (Dead on Arival) . Most companies have an exchange policy where you can send it back for replacement. But first make sure its defective, otherwise your just wasting postage. Borrow a few minutes on a notebook from someone else and test it. If it doesn't work then its defective.

If it works just fine with another notebook then its somehow not compatible with yours. You can check on the manufacturers web site but chances are it won't say anything. Your next course of action is to exchange it for a different model.

I just tried it in my desktop with a PCI-E-mini PCI-E adapter, and it works fine (except I can't get a signal with it because the antenna isn't attached). As PCI-E is a standard interface, shouldn't it work in any device? It is an HP laptop with an HP-customized OS and bios, which I think is what is causing the problems.

When I got my laptop which is also an HP, I flashed the bios and clean installed the OS because I didn't like any of the HP features. The laptop I am trying to install the card on isn't mine, so I can't do that to it, but I have a feeling that is what is causing the problems.

I also bought a hard drive and adapter to utilize the secondary drive bay, I'm guessing this will lead to similar problems too?

A hard drive should not be a problem, those standards and protocols have been universally incorporated so they usually don;t cause problems. I have had trouble with wireless cards. Some just won't work with some hardware. I keep a selection of 3 or 4 of different ones with different chips. I really like the USB ones because they are fast to install and work just as good. Just recently I went through 3 of them before I found one that worked on one computer. I don't know why but I suspect it has to do with the constantly changing wireless protocols and the slower to adapt motherboard chips and BIOS. Try getting a BIOS update, it should still leave the HP stuff intact.
Although its fun and it gives you a good feeling when you track down a problem like this it is often not cost effective. What I mean by that is you spend a lot of time trying to fix something when you would be better off to drop it and go with a different piece of hardware. In the end you wind up with a lot of leftover hardware that goes obsolete but you make up for it with being able to fix more and varied problems. I just sold a set of DDR2 RAM that has been in a box for 2 years because someone had theirs go bad. I just happened to have it and they needed it right then. Funny thing is DDR2 has actually gone up in price so they got a deal. Sometimes you win, sometimes you loose. Go with a different card, make sure to get one with a different brand of chips.

Ok, I just tried something else. I kept the broadcom chip in the primary bay, and installed the atheros chip in the secondary bay when turned off, and it boots and installed the driver fine, and even worked VERY short range (as in pressing the router against it and getting one or two bars). The antenna cables are just the right length for the primary bay, but won't reach to the new card. Is there such thing as an extension cable for the antennas? Otherwise I will have to take the whole laptop apart and re-route the existing antennas. I tried looking, but I am unsure what the connector is called. I have heard it calld a K-antennae, mini pci-e antenna, mini-sma, rp-sma, ipex, and ufl.

I thought that PCI-E was a standardised interface though? The point is, it works, and it works in a different bay, it even recognizes and installs the driver, but it won't let me remove the original broadcom card. I don't want to use a USB card because they don't have as long of a range, and the owner of the laptop wants an upgrade for their card, anyone can stick in a usb dongle. All hard drives and ram and graphics cards I have bought have worked with my hardware just by plugging them in and installing the drivers. I will see if I can get permission to flash the bios though, hopefully that will fix it.