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Pc Wireless Card - How to Install a PC Wireless Card

power network slot pci

Most modern laptops include a wireless network adapter as part of its standard package. Desktop computers, on the other hand, are different. Therefore, when it comes time to upgrade the home network from wired to wireless, the homeowner must install a wireless PC card into each of the desktops in the home. While that may seem challenging, the following steps should help simplify the process.

1. Read the PC wireless card manual.

Most wireless PC cards are interchangeable concerning function and installation. However, don’t take anything for granted. Instead, take a few moments to read the included manual. Pay particular attention to the section concerning the drivers and software. In some cases, the manufacturer recommends installing these prior to physically installing the card. If this is the case, read step #7 first, and then return here to step #2.

2. Turn the PC power off.

Shut down the desktop via the power switch, and then wait for it to complete the process entirely. Next, flip the power switch on the PSU (power supply unit) so that it is in the ‘off’ position. At this point, it is OK to keep the PSU plugged into the surge protector. It acts as a ground, and as long as the PSU is off, there is no danger of damage due to electricity from the outlet.

3. Open the case carefully.

Tower covers vary greatly so it is impossible to provide specific instructions. Generally, you unscrew them at the back of the case, and then slide either up or to the right. Be aware if the side panel has a fan, in which case wires will connect the side panel to the inside of the box. Once you open the case, ground yourself before diving in. Wear an antistatic wristband, if you have one. If not, keep yourself grounded by touching the PSU or any uncoated metal aspect of the case.

4. Locate an empty PCI slot.

Conventional PCI slots are long, rectangular slots, but your wireless PC card may also be PCI-E, in which case it can be shorter or even very short. In most cases, you can match the slat and slot visually. However, do not rely on an eyeball test. Use the motherboard manual in order to ensure that you are choosing an appropriate slot. Given a choice of slots, choose the one furthest away from other components.

5. Insert the PC wireless card.

Before inserting the card, you may have to unscrew the metal plate or grate that covers the rear PCI opening. With that out of the way, you can now insert the card into the slot. Make sure your hands are clean, and handle the card at its edges. Place one corner of the board in at one end of the slot, and then apply firm pressure as you guide the board in fully. Don’t be afraid to apply a little force to pop it into place. Prior to doing so, be aware of the PC wireless card antenna, which should be in the clear and pointing toward the ceiling. Finally, screw the card into the case at the same place you unscrewed the metal plate.

6. Close the case, and power it up.

Put the side panel back on the case, close it, and screw it down. Next, replace any plugs or cords that you detached while prepping the case. Double-check everything, and then press power. The computer should power up. If it does not, a cord is missing, or you did not seat the PCI board properly.

7. Install drivers and software.

When the computer boots properly, Windows will recognize the presence of the new hardware. Generally, you will need to place the driver disc into the CD drive, and then lead Windows to the proper location. Once Windows installs the drivers, install any additional pertinent software that came with the PC wireless card.

8. Connect to the network.

As soon as the PC wireless card is working, it will ask you to direct it to the wireless network. Assuming your network is online and operating properly, it should be in the list. Choose it, and complete the process. If you have not set up your wireless network, cancel out of this step, and perform it later after you have established the network.

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