How to Enable Wireless Card in Safe Mode With Networking

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Safe Mode with Networking allows you to start your computer in a limited way for troubleshooting purposes while still connecting to your local network or the Internet. In Safe Mode with Networking, your wireless card has a default behavior: It's either off or on. You may manually attempt to enable a wireless card that is not on, but success is not guaranteed.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer running Windows XP or Windows Vista
  • Wireless card

Windows XP

  • Only Windows XP and Windows Vista give you the option for Safe Mode with Networking. Under Windows XP, Safe Mode with Networking will not run a wireless network card. Per Microsoft, this behavior is by design. Microsoft suggests that you "attach or use a standard-wired network adapter," instead.

  • As an alternative, you may try to use Safe Mode to configure Windows XP to start in a "clean boot" state. See Microsoft Support article 310353 in Resources below. When you clean boot, you may be able to enable your wireless card.

  • When you clean boot, your wireless card may be enabled automatically. If it isn't, try manually enabling it by clicking on "Start" and right-clicking on "My Computer." Click "Properties." Click the "Hardware" tab. Click the "Device Manager" button.

  • In Device Manager, your wireless card should be displayed under "Network Adapters." Right-click on it and a context menu will pop up. If you have an "Enable" option, click on it.

Windows Vista

  • In Windows Vista, Safe Mode with Networking should enable your wireless card by default. If your wireless card is not enabled, you may try to enable it manually.

  • Click on "Start" and right-click on "My Computer." Click "Properties." On the left-hand side of the window, click the "Device Manager" link.

  • In Device Manager, your wireless card should be displayed under "Network Adapters." Right-click on it and a context menu will pop up. If you have an "Enable" option, click on it.

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