My sister’s laptop (which is the Acer Aspire 5003WLMi) had a severe virus attack recently which prevented her from being able to login to her Windows. She was quite upset about it because there were a lot of personal files which she hadn’t backed up; and we couldn’t even login to Safe Mode.

I managed to extract and back her data up, and then I proceeded to do a complete reformat and OS installation. I will go into the way I managed to back her data up in another post, as I would like to talk about a different issue in this post.

It came pre-installed with XP Home, but I wanted to give her a different OS so first I tried to install XP Pro. Everything was fine… except that her wireless wouldn’t come on. I tried Googling and read up threads in many forums which all suggested downloading the latest driver from the Acer website. I tried that, but it kept saying that the radio was disabled.

I was boggled because when I tried to look up the settings, the radio was enabled. So I decided to try restoring the laptop to factory settings… only, the recovery buttons don’t work. I found the recovery CDs and tried reinstalling them, but for some very strange reason, the recovery CDs don’t work. There were a total of four CDs (one system disc and three recovery discs), and after the laptop backs up from the third recovery disc, it requests for the system disc but when I put it in, it restarts the entire recover process. There seemed to be no way to restore it to the factory settings.

In the end I decided to install TinyXP on the laptop (I will discuss this in a future post), but the radio still seemed to be disabled. And then after I Googled for more help, I found the gem of an answer which solved this simple issue:

It’s so infuriating that there is such a simple answer for such a simple problem! Even Acer doesn’t seem to have these kind of help files.

Anyway, the solution is as simple as this: there is a radio switch at the front of the laptop. It doesn’t look like a switch because its design makes it look like a status light instead. To switch on the radio, all I had to do was press it.

Here’s where the button is:

Radio hardware control switch on the Acer Aspire 5003WLMi
Radio hardware control switch on the Acer Aspire 5003WLMi

They should have just said so in the error message!

10 Replies to “Enabling the Acer Aspire 5000 series radio hardware”

  1. Good Post.
    I guess something like this would be helpful for finding a switch that in my opinion really doesn’t need to be there.
    I don’t get how some companies still don’t put any thought into good design like adding redundant switches, I’m lookin’ at you DELL. And these are great companies mind you, great companies with whole lot of money but not enough spent on ergonomic research.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Lionel. Yes, I totally agree with you. And these switches are placed in such a way that it’s so easy to accidentally bump into them and switch them off. I once accidentally switched off the Wifi button on my HP laptop and didn’t know it; and I was wondering why I couldn’t connect to the network. Tried restarting and all the usual attempts until I finally realised that there was such a thing as a “Wifi” button and it was off. I know that I sound like such a laptop newbie but hey, my older laptops didn’t have them and it had never been a problem last time.

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