If you’re using Windows XP and have a wireless connection, you may find the connection dropping out once in a while and then — if you’re lucky — starting back up again. You may have concluded from this experience that wireless technology simply hasn’t been perfected yet, and that there’s probably nothing you can do about the problem.
For some people, the problem becomes severe. You may get disconnected for no apparent reason and have to suffer the indignity of having your icons tell you that your connection is fine — even as every single website you try to access refuses to come up.
Again, frustration. Where to begin? Is the problem with your wireless card, your router, or myriad other possibilities? If you call your ISP, they’ll blame the router; the router company will in turn blame the ISP, and you’re back at square one.
Well, there’s no need to live like this. For many people, I suspect, the problem isn’t with your hardware. The problem is with a program called Wireless Zero Configuration, which seems to be causing problems with a lot of people’s wireless connections.
Solution: shut it down and see if the situation improves. Here’s how:
- Click "Start."
- Click "Control Panel."
- Click "Administrative Tools."
- Click "Services."
- Scroll down to "Wireless Zero Configuration." It probably says "Started" next to it. Right-click on it and select "Stop."
Then use the Internet for a while and see if you notice an improvement. If you do, then you’ll want to keep Wireless Zero Configuration permanently disabled.
Here, though, is the (not insuperable) pitfall with that: generally your computer needs that program running in order to make the initial wireless connection. Thankfully, there’s a freeware program, called Wireless FiXP, that solves this problem. If you put a shortcut to it in your Startup folder, whenever you start your computer the program automatically starts Wireless Zero Configuration, waits until your computer makes the connection, and then shuts down Wireless Zero Configuration for you. Here is the download page for Wireless FiXP.
Once you’ve downloaded and unzipped Wireless FiXP, open the folder, right-click on the icon for FiXP and select "Create Shortcut." Then open your Startup folder and drag the Wireless FiXP shortcut icon into it. (The Startup folder, oddly enough, is buried pretty deep, so the easiest way to access it is to click "Start," click "All Programs," right-click "Startup," and click "Open.") It will now start up every time you start your computer (as will any program you put in the startup folder).
This isn’t nearly as much work as it seems; the whole procedure should take no more than five minutes. My wife’s laptop was having a severe problem with sudden disconnects until we applied this solution. She hasn’t lost her wireless connection since. Here’s hoping you have the same success with this suggested fix.
Oh, and one more thing: all you Mac users out there are forbidden to say "I told you so."
Professor Thomas E. Woods, Jr. [send him mail] holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Harvard and his Ph.D. from Columbia. He is senior fellow in American history at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. His books include How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization (get a free chapter here), The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy, and the New York Times (and LRC) bestseller The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History.