Problem: I recently changed the wireless router at home, which included changing the SSID (the wireless network name). One of our Windows 7 computers refused to save the new wireless settings, and kept popping back up with the old (defunct) wireless network on every reboot… a network which, of course, no longer existed. Furthermore, the new network settings I’d entered were gone.
Wireless Network Card: Intellinet 300Mbps 802.11n USB Adapter
Solution: Most wireless adapters come with not just a driver, but their own software utility for managing connections. Since Windows XP, Windows has been able to manage connections without that utility using a service called Wireless Zero Configuration (WZC) service. And in versions of Windows prior to Windows 7, you were pretty much forced to choose between that manufacturer-supplied utility and Windows’ WZC. If you had the manufacturer utility managing your connection, you’d find yourself unable to get Windows to do it natively; if you were using WZC, you’d find the utility often disabled or non-functional, or at the very least non-essential.
In practice, it’s always been a bit touch and go as to which method of wireless management would work best in conjunction with a particular router. In some cases, either method would work; in some cases, only one or the other would work. And in some cases, neither would work, and you’d have to try another adapter or even another router.
Windows 7 is a lot better at handling wireless in general, which is a good thing, and which is also why this problem was a bit baffling. But I finally came upon the solution.
In Windows 7, it appears that in most cases you are no longer forced to choose between Windows and the manufacturer utility as the manager of your wireless connections. Windows 7 seems generally fine with letting you configure things either way.
And there’s the rub. When I’d first set up the PC in question, I’d used Intellinet’s utility. When I went to set up the new network, I was trying to do so within Windows’ own wireless manager. The problem was, there was a profile saved in the manufacturer utility, a profile for the old network. And each time Windows restarted, the manufacturer utility was reinstituting its saved profile settings, wiping out the new settings. For whatever reason, in this particular instance, the manufacturer utility was trumping changes I’d make in Windows. But at first, I had no idea where those old settings were coming from.
Discussion in this Microsoft Answers thread got me looking at my Intellinet utility, and once I found and removed the old profile from there (and, for good measure, went ahead and created a new profile for the new network), the settings have held with no problem. I figured that since the manufacturer utility was being treated by Windows as the authoritative source of wireless info for the computer, I might as well have it work for me instead of against me.
From the other complaints I’ve read out there, this isn’t anything peculiar to Intellinet. I’ve seen Dell’s WLAN utility and D-Link’s mentioned, and I’m sure other manufacturers are affected as well. So before you go trying to purge anything from the registry as some have suggested, give the above a look first. Seems to me it’s a lot less risky.