Vista Hosed Thanks to Linksys WMP300N

A wireless card should never do this to a computer.

Vista hosed due to Linksys WMP300N

Furthermore, it shouldn’t mess a computer up so badly that even Windows repair or System Restore can’t fix it. But that’s exactly what a recently-purchased Linksys WMP300N wireless card did. In fact my desktop’s Vista installation is so far gone, I have no other choice than to perform a complete re-install. I’m using my laptop currently – I’ll get around to reinstalling Vista when the new computer parts I ordered get here, but that’s another story. (Remember the downsizing post a while ago?)

Following Linksys’ recommendation, I downloaded and installed the Windows Vista driver from their website and proceeded to install it before plugging in the wireless card. At the appropriate prompt, I shut down my desktop and installed the card. Attaching the three-wire antenna was painful enough – the plugs are the screw-type and are placed so closely together that only child fingers could easily screw them on easily. That was the easy part.

Booting the computer back up, I was greeted with the Windows is installing new hardware dialog, which I assumed was the correct behavior. A few moments later, the device drivers were correctly installed. Unfortunately, at this point, explorer.exe locked up. Furthermore, attempts to ctrl+alt+del led to the entire desktop background to fade, in Vista’s “I’m no longer responding to your actions” manner. With a completely frozen system, I had no choice but to push the reset button.  What a bad idea that was.

Long story short, my registry is corrupt and System Restore wasn’t able to complete. Meanwhile, I have a non-bootable machine, thanks to this Linksys WMP300N wireless card. Reading around on the web, I can see that I’m not the only one running into problems with this card on Windows Vista. Linksys, don’t plaster a Windows Vista compatible sticker on the box if it has this many problems! I don’t know how you even managed to get those Vista drivers approved. Where is your QA department? Seriously, I was happy I got a good deal on the card, but it was definitely not worth the pain I’ll have to go through to fix my computer.

Recommendation? Don’t buy the WMP300N if you’re running Windows Vista. Not until Linksys gets its act together in any case.

4 thoughts on “Vista Hosed Thanks to Linksys WMP300N”

  1. Recommendation? Use an operating system that has no registry to corrupt. You never did tell me if you were able to get everything up and running and try out Leopard.

  2. Rene – Actually, I did get Leopard running quite well on my M1330. The only major problem is the lack of driver support for the Intel 3945 wireless card I have… so I ordered a new wireless card. In fact, I can see myself using OS X as my default operating system on the laptop, since it’s mostly used for internet browsing and productivity applications anyways.

    Marf – We discussed this yesterday, but I guess I’ll reiterate my point of view for a wider audience: I don’t believe the problem lies with Vista itself, but rather with the hardware manufacturers who have not put in the necessary development effort and testing to ensure that their products are compatible, when they label it as such.

    Linksys clearly labels the product as Vista compatible, yet it is just as clear that it is not. The relationship between Microsoft and hardware vendors must be bi-directional. Vista itself (and by implication, Microsoft) gets the majority of the rap for problems, but if recent documents revealed in the Vista-Capable lawsuit are accurate, the operating system itself is hardly the main thing to worry about. In the end, it is still the responsibility of the hardware manufacturers to write functional drivers for their products. Microsoft provides the underlying foundation for driver support, but cannot write every single driver.

    I’ve had relatively few problems with Windows Vista, leading up to this instance. I’d go out on a limb and say that, at least for me, Vista is tried, tested and true. Hardware vendors’ drivers, on the other hand, are not.

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