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Windows VIsta can sometimes get confused with it’s wireless network settings if you change something on your router, or connect to another hotspot with the same name as your own. In these cases, Vista won’t always allow you to make changes to it’s settings so the best route is to completely erase the settings it has and recreate them.

In most cases, you should be able to follow the steps below without problems, but if you find you aren’t allowed to follow any particular step, you will need the administrator’s password.

Click the start button and select Control Panel.

Vista's start menu

Next, make sure you’re in Classic View (highlighted on the top left, below) and find the icon for the Network and Sharing Center (Microsoft’s spelling, not ours!) Double click it.

Windows Vista control panel classic view

Once the Network and Sharing Center is open, find the link to Manage Wireless Networks and click it.

Windows Vista network and sharing centre

You’ll find all the wireless networks you’ve ever connected to listed here – it’s supposed to help save passwords and settings so you don’t have to remember them…. most of the time that’s fine, but occasionally Vista doesn’t know that it needs to change some of the details and gets confused. It also doesn’t tell you that it’s confused, it’ll just refuse to connect properly.

Windows Vista, list of saved wireless networks

Select the wireless network you wish to remove by clicking on it.

Windows Vista, removing saved networks

You’ll see the “menu” bar above the list of networks has changed to include a Remove button. Click it. Select the OK button on the next dialogue, as we do want to proceed with the removal.

Removal Warning

ou’ll be back on the manage wireless networks screen now, without the wireless network you removed. We now want to Add our network back in, so click Add.

Add a new wireless network to the list

On the next screen click Add a network that is in range of this computer.

Add a new network (It must be in range)

You should be presented with a list of networks that are available to you. Click on the one you want to connect to (i.e. your own router), and hit Connect.

Select your wireless network to connect too

After a short wait, you’ll be asked for the security key / passphrase for your router. This is only applicable if you have secured your router, which is something we would advise you to do if it’s not done already. On the Speedtouch/Thompson routers, you can tell if the router is secured by the colour of the WLAN light on the front. If it’s Red, it’s unsecured. Amber means you have WEP security, and Green means you have WPA security.

Please wait while windows configures your new network

Enter your security key into the text box provided. To help, you can click the Display Characters checkbox, and the password will not be obfuscated by stars. Our Speedtouch 780 and 585 routers have the default key printed on a label on the base of the router. Be careful with your 8’s and B’s or 0’s and D’s as they do look alike – however, they should be the only characters to can get confused with as those keys only use 0-9 and A-F (hexadecimal notation, for those of you who want to impress your friends!) Click the Connect button at the bottom once you are finished typing in the security key.

Wireless key entry window

You will be asked to wait a little more. Then, hopefully, you’ll be presented with the Successfully connected screen. Make sure the Start this connection automatically checkbox is ticked – this means that as soon as you switch your computer on it will attempt to connect to your wireless network. Click close.

Select tick box to automatically connect.

You have now erased a wireless network’s settings, and recreated them from scratch. This should be one of the first things you should try when you’re having problems in Vista connecting to a wireless access point.