Because computers don't fix themselves

Broken Wireless Switch on Dell Latitude D630

I learned something new today, after way too much work.

The Dell Latitude D630 (and I’m sure several of its close relatives) has a wireless switch on the side.  This switch is a manual power control for the wi-fi card and the bluetooth card. 

In the past, many clients have called me saying their wireless isn’t working, and I’ve discovered that the switch was turned off.  Easy fix.

However, I had one client who actually had a broken switch.  The wireless power switch was very loose, and obviously was no longer making a connection inside the laptop.

After much futile laboring to try to fix the hardware switch, I discovered a much easier solution.

If you go into the Bios as the laptop boots (hit F2 at the startup Dell screen), and scroll down to the Wireless menu, you can modify two important settings.  Make sure the wi-fi and bluetooth (if you want) are both Enabled.  Then a few entries down there is a “Wireless Switch” category.  Change this setting to “None.”  Then, go to the “Wi-Fi Catcher” category, and change that to “Off.”

This will cause the laptop to completely ignore the hardware switch on the side, and force the card to stay on at all times.  Voila!  Now it doesn’t matter if your switch is broken.

Meanwhile, if you never NEED to turn off your wireless card, you can just right click on it and disable it from within your network adapter settings.  So, no harm no foul.

I hope this helps!  When I tried to Google how to fix that switch, there were no good answers out there, even though the answer was quite simple, once I found it.