Computer technicians are notorious for charging large fees to configure a laptop for wireless networking, but paying these fees is completely unnecessary. Prepare your laptop for wireless connectivity by installing a wireless adapter, then using the wireless connection tools included with Windows. This process can be completed in 20 minutes or less.
Installing a Wireless Adapter
Insert the driver CD included with your wireless adapter into your computer's CD or DVD drive. The installation program will launch automatically. If your laptop has a built-in wireless adapter, skip to Section 2.
Proceed through the installation program by following the prompts in the software. In most cases, this involves clicking "Next" a few times. If the software presents you with an option to install a proprietary wireless connection program, click "No." The wireless connection utility built into Windows is generally superior.
Connect your wireless adapter to a USB port or insert it into the ExpressCard slot when the software prompts you, or when the installation process is complete. Windows will install the drivers for the device automatically, and a wireless connection icon will appear in the System Tray on the lower right corner of the screen.
Connecting to a Wireless Network
Right-click the wireless icon in the System Tray. Click "View Available Wireless Networks" if you are running Windows XP, or "Connect to a network" if you are running Windows Vista or 7.
Find your wireless access point on the list in the window. Click on it, and click "Connect."
Enter your wireless password to complete the connection process if you are prompted to do so. If the access point is unprotected, you will need to confirm that you wish to connect to it anyway.
Open a web browser and connect to a website. The page should come up.
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