Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How I lost my wifi and learnt to live without it (before it came back to me)

Toshiba Satellite U840_10V back-580-90

Image from

Part 1: Shock and terror

The one year warranty on  my shiny, sleek and awesome Toshiba Ultrabook had just expired. Two days after that, I unplugged my laptop from the LAN cable in office and put it in ‘hibernate’ as usual. I came home and switched it on, hoping to connect to the wifi at home. But there was nothing. All it did was show me a LAN icon with a big red cross over it. I fiddled around a bit and did what all experienced techies do to computers to repair them – Shutdown and Restart. Nothing doing.

The wifi + Bluetooth flash card (F12 in my case) just stopped working. Pressing it elicited no response, although all the other flashcards for brightness, volume, touchpad etc. worked fine.

In addition to this, even the orange wifi light would not come on. Incredibly, even the wireless network adapters were missing from the device manager listing. This was getting more and more curious.

Part 2: Futile efforts

I tried re-installing the drivers from various sources so that now I have almost 14 different installation files for wifi adapters. Nothing worked. It was time to call for help.

I called up the Toshiba - India online service center tech guys. Over two days, 12 hours and way too much ‘music on hold’,  I spoke to 5 different people who all suggested five different things, most of which I had already tried. Nothing worked. Finally, the sixth tech guy on the phone threw his hands up and played an ace! He told me that I have a hardware problem and that I should bring it to the service center. This did not sound good at all. I cursed my luck and marveled at the fact that barely two days after my warranty expired, I would now have to visit the service center. This meant not just backing up all my data and getting ready for a reformat, but also a bill that would have me living on peanuts for the next few months. There was no way I was going to go to the service center, and there was no way this could be a hardware problem (In spite of my brother’s insane theory that something inside must have been affected by the large magnets in the massive woofer speaker on my work table!!)

Part 3: The miracle

All this time, the internet was working fine with a LAN cable. It was only the wifi and BT that was missing. I had deadlines to meet and decided to postpone the reinstallation by a week during which I tried to get a complete backup and finish my work. In between, there were two huge system updates. I missed my wifi, having to lug around the laptop and wrestle with those stiff unyielding LAN cables that limited my freedom. Atleast I was getting some work done I thought. It could be worse.

And then, the miracle happened.

Just the way it had left, one fine day the wifi and bluetooth just started working!! Everything was fine. It was almost as if nothing had happened at all and all this was a dream. I wasn't complaining, but I felt angry and relieved at the same time - angry at the incompetence of the tech guys on call trying to push me into the 'service center trap' while relief that I did not have to spend a single penny to repair something that repaired by itself!

Honestly, the only thing that I can think of is probably those system updates, one of which was massive. It must have been that. So, I guess, my advice to people with a similar problem is that if you have the option, then do wait and try and get the latest system updates, as installing specific driver updates doesn't always seem to work!


jaspreet singh said...

you got lucky mate, wi fi is back and without spending a single penny
redes wifi

Dawgmatix said...

You can say that again Jas. I'm the last person to look a gift horse in the mouth but I did deserve a bit of good fortune after the terrifying times I went through with my Acer netbook. If you're in the mood for a relatively long rant, here it is :)