Last week my computer finally decided to give-in and crashed.
I have a very solid IBM ThinkPad T43, which I like a lot; Its been thru quite a lot with me (including one time it climbed down the stairs all by it self, and survived). It wasn’t a hardware problem, it was pure software chaos. After a year of abuse, my Windows installation had so many errors, I just had to re-format the machine.
I’ve decided to give my self a bit of an easier life, so I used nLite to create an unattended installation of Windows XP with SP3 slipstreamed, some drivers, etc.
After a very quick installation (really, it took something like 20 minutes!), the computer was up, and ready to receive my usual bunch of software I’m installing.
I’ve started by installing some updates, and anti-virus, and moved to a nice IBM application called “Access Connections” which is a nice network profiles’ switcher, that switches automatically between my network places (home, office, wireless home, etc.).
Then I saw the problem. AC (Access Connections) didn’t work. It didn’t control my wireless card, etc.
I started digging into the problem, read some, checked Lenovo’s support site, but I couldn’t find nothing.
I’ve tried different drivers and versions. Reinstalling parts. Removing and reinstalling AC, and so on and so forth.
After a couple of days like that, I even reinstalled XP from scratch, using my neat slipstreamed CD.
Nothing had worked.
I was so frustrated by that, so I thought of restoring IBM’s original installation (ThinkPads has this cool feature).
And then an idea popped to thru my head: I was using a slipstreamed XP CD, which had SP3 slipstreamed.
SP3, not SP2 as I used to.
So before reverting back, I started reading what ever I can about SP3, and I’ve found this great article:
And from that to this one:
After reading these, I’ve checked SP3’s new services on my machine. I saw that most of them are related to one another in some way, and I’ve noticed that they were all set to “Manual” operation.
I’ve started to play with them, and switch these two on:
– Extensible Authentication Protocol Service
– Network Access Protection Agent
I also set them to run automatically.
And here we go, everything works. The wireless is working, AC is working, all is back to normal.
I read a bit about those services, and I think that what happened is that the new AC version, took over Wireless Zero Configuration (WCZ) and were using that. WCZ, in its turn was failing due to the fact that the above services were off.
I think that WCZ was trying to validate the network using NAP (Network Access Protection Agent) and failed.
But why were the services off (or set to manual operation)?
This one is an nLite problem. I was using a version that weren’t yet familiar with SP3, and there for set those automatically to manual, to save on system’s resources.
Update November 2008
I’ve got quite a bunch of comments to my mail, saying that this procedure didn’t work for them. It got me curious thinking that I probably did something else, which I didn’t mention here.
So I went through it again – formatted me machine (it needed formatting anyway) and used the same installation, and so on.
When I got to the wireless part, I noticed that there’s a chance for another error:
My T43, has an Intel 2200BG card. It appears, that with SP3, XP looses the ability to turn the card on or off. The reason for that, I think (didn’t manage to create a test scenario yet), is the enhanced security.
To resolve this thing, you can install Intel’s software. The application adds a small icon to your task bar, and a wireless manager that looks something like that:
(Image taken from Intel’s site)
After installing that, and doing the above changes, Access Connections will start working again.
Now, if you are like me, you wouldn’t want the extra application. So, to shut it off, you should remove the following items from your registry:
Go to “HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run” and remove the following two entries:
Reboot, and you’re done.
Hope it helps, I’ll be happy to know if it did (or didn’t…). Thanks or all the comments so far