QWhen I was at a friend's home recently, I was unable to connect my laptop (a Dell Studio 1555 running Windows Vista) to their wireless Internet.

I selected their network and entered the password but I could only obtain a "local" connection. I haven't had this problem in the past while connecting to other secured wireless connections.

When I looked at the properties of their network, I found that they are using WPA2 Personal software, while my home network and others I have connected to are using WPA Personal software.

What's the problem, and is there any way I can connect to their network in the future?


AWi-Fi is a universal standard, which means you should be able to connect your laptop to any Wi-Fi access point provided you've got the password. But your access to your friend's home network was blocked by the newer security software that was layered on top of the Wi-Fi in an effort to protect it from outside tampering.

The WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2) security software is a newer version of the WPA software you've used elsewhere, but it's just different enough to be incompatible with your laptop's existing communications software. To adjust, your laptop needs a software update for its Wi-Fi adapter, the internal device that connects your PC to a home network's wireless router.

Using the information for your laptop model, I think the correct update can be found at tinyurl.com/9vxt5pz. The update will be downloaded to your hard drive as a compressed, or zipped, set of files. Double-click the icon for the zipped software download to open and display the files it contains. Follow the instructions provided to install the software update.

QI bought an Asus notebook with Windows 7 11 months ago. Nearly every time I turn it on, I get as far as Windows starting, then everything goes dead, no matter how long I wait. I then have to shut it down and start over.

I would like to delete Windows 7 and go back to Windows XP, which I had on my previous computer. Is that a good idea?


AThis shouldn't happen to a new PC. But rather than a Windows problem, I think you've got a hardware issue. Fortunately, an 11-month-old Asus notebook PC should be protected by the company's two-year warranty (see tinyurl.com/9ld4roj), which means you can get free service work at an Asus facility and free shipping to get it there. You should take advantage of a warranty like that.

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