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Getting on the Internet with AOL and a WRT54G router

Feb 27, 20063 mins
ComputersMobileSmall and Medium Business

I am trying to connect to the Internet (AOL) using my laptop. My router is a Linksys WRT54G, the card I am using is a “Dell True Mobile.” My laptop is connected to the Linksys, says I have an excellent connection, but when I try to go on line using AOL, it does not find the connection. AOL is no help, Linksys is not either, the card and router are fine – I use the same card on another laptop that has Win XP on it – the one I’m having the problem has Win 2000.

— Mark

Most of the time, AOL software installs and works as designed. When a problem like this pops up, it becomes a process of elimination.

I would first start by removing all traces of AOL software from the W2K computer. Once this has been done, go to the Windows Update web site using Internet Explorer and apply all the applicable updates shown. This may require one or more reboots. If it isn’t listed, make sure you have the latest service pack installed. After doing this, make one last trip back to the Windows Update website and check that no further updates are necessary.

Since we have made several potentially significant changes to the operating system, we need to turn our attention to the network card. Uninstall the drivers for the current wireless card on the W2K system. Reboot the workstation to let it come up one time “clean” without a network card being present. Download the latest drivers from the Linksys support Web site. These may very well be the same drivers as what you already have but we will be restarting the process with “fresh” drivers. Install the drivers per the instructions from Linksys. Verify that you have basic Internet connectivity and can ping the default gateway (i.e. the Linksys router IP address on the private side of your connection).

At this point, if you dont have AOL 9.0 Security Edition, I would download that to your other machine and burn it on a CD. Bring the CD over to the W2K computer and start the install process. Once that is done, make sure you have specified that you are using a broadband connection on the W2K computer and you should be able to establish a connection.

If you are still having problems, it would be a good idea to run several different spyware detection products such as Adaware, Spybot and Microsoft’s Antispyware to make sure you are clean in that respect. Also, make sure to disable any anti-virus software that may be running on the computer to prevent that from causing any installation related issues. If you are still having problems, get hold of a copy of Norton Systemworks. Intall the product and run the WinDoctor portion to see if there are any windows related issues that may explain the problem you are having. It is possible, although not likely, that you may have a lower level problem that is causing problems with the AOL software. In the case, your only option may be to reformat the drive and reinstall W2K from scratch. It is also worth trying a different wireless card just to see if there is some type of W2K compatibility issue you may be fighting.