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Windows 7 annoyance 2: Configuring Wireless Access
IT Management
Written by Ian Edwards   
Tuesday, 08 March 2011

capture1.pngChanging the settings for an existing Wireless network under Windows 7 is obscure to say the least. If for example a wireless network has been wrongly configured, or the settings on the router have changed (the WEP key for example) there is no obvious way of changing the configuration on the laptop. The wireless network will be detected and the machine will try to connect and subsequently fail because the settings are incorrect. One would then expect to have the option to right click and change the properties of the connection. But no, all you get is a network repair wizard which never at any point suggests that your settings for the network might be wrong.

capture2.pngThe way round it is to manually configure the network via the Manage Wireless Networks utility accessed by right clicking the system tray icon for the wireless adapter or via Control Panel | Network and Internet | Network Sharing Centre. (If you don't see the Manage Wireless Network option you may not have your wireless adapter installed properly or the WLAN auto-config service may not be running, but that's beyond the scope of this post).


If the network you want to connect to is listed it should be possible to edit it's properties and correct the settings.

In the case that prompted me to write this post I opened the Managed Wireless Network utility but the network I was trying to connect to wasn't listed, even though the network card was showing it as available. So in this case I opted to manually add the wireless network.

capture5.pngClick on Add and enter the information for the wireless network you want to connect to and click Next, you should then see the network listed.

However you may still need to edit the network properties as the last step doesn't allow you to set whether the WEP key is shared or not, so depending on how your wireless router is configured you may need to go back in and change the security type to "shared".