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Wireless Card on Old Laptop

After perusing the forums, I have come to a decision as to what to do with my old laptop (an ancient Dell Latitude Cpx). I have settled on trying out Xubuntu, which will be my first foray into Linux, and I'm hoping it goes well.

The question I still have is, will my wireless card still work once I switch operating systems? It's one of those cards you have to plug in whenever you want to use the 'net, since my laptop was too old to come with built-in wireless. Is there anything I would have to do to keep it up and running, or do I need to buy a different wireless card that is made to work with the linux OS?


  • Goineasy9
    Goineasy9 Posts: 1,114
    If you boot up Xubuntu from the LiveCD you should be able to see if the OS recognizes the card. Since you didn't supply info on the card and/or what wifi chip it uses, it's not possible to give you a thumbs up or thumbs down.

    If it plugs into a usb port, typing "lsusb" in a terminal should show the card.
    If your plugging into a slot other than a usb port, "lspci" should list the card on one of its lines.
  • woboyle
    woboyle Posts: 501
    What GoinEasy9 said... Recent versions of Ubuntu support most devices, including a lot of legacy ones, though I have personally had better luck with 9.04 than more recent versions with respect to old hardware like you have. In any case, all since 9.04 to 10.10 have worked with all of my dongly wireless and camera stuff.
  • saqman2060
    saqman2060 Posts: 777
    The latest linux kernel, 2.6.37 have a wide range support for new an older hardware. Get a distro that uses the latest kernel and using the steps pointed out by goineasy, see if your card is accessible.
  • Thanks for your help everyone! I am all ready to take everyone's advice on this--except that my computer is not taking to Xubuntu very well. Not very well at all... Firstly, my lappy's disc drive doesn't work, so everything (including the virtual ISO drive) has to be installed via a flash drive, and every time I tried installing Xubuntu (no idea which version, just whatever I am assuming the latest version is) and every time it tries to boot I get an error message about a missing file/driver/something or other and I can't get past the command screen. I know, my lack of any specific detail is incredibly helpful, but I haven't had a chance to make it back to my laptop since last weekend, as it's at home (I'm a college student, so I don't actually live at home). So if anyone has any suggestions to my incredibly vague issue, please share! If people want to help I'll post details of the problem when I know more.
  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    Most likely they issue is with the mode that your hard drives are being accessed via your bios, I recommend checking your option is your bios for hard drive access method and playing with various options to see if the error disappears. But the best answer is to give us the error message when you can next test it.
  • technocp
    technocp Posts: 5
    Please your hardware information. also let us know about the version of Xubuntu that you are trying to install. once you get to boot your system with Live CD or USB you can check whether your wireless operates or not.

    You can try lspci once you get to boot it to identify which wireless make you are using.

    Below is the location from where you can download xubuntu 10.10 Live CD

    it needs 192 mb of minimum ram in your system to boot with Live CD or Install Xubuntu and it needs atleast 2gb of hard disk space to install.

    Don't live it just get it done. Post your further replies here
  • Lman
    Lman Posts: 52
    Well guys I'm just wondering... but should he start with a different distro? Maybe Puppy? Or will xubuntu work better?
  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    Lman wrote:
    Well guys I'm just wondering... but should he start with a different distro? Maybe Puppy? Or will xubuntu work better?

    Puppy is a very good lightweight distro, but xubuntu will be better for starters because it contains the administrative simplicity of ubuntu.
  • Lman
    Lman Posts: 52
    I would either do that or possibly try bohdilinux. I've been having amazing luck with that :)


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