How I fixed my WiFi driver that Windows Updates broke

Note: My laptop is a Dell Latitude E6510 running Windows 7 64 bit.
 

I usually do not have any issues when installing Windows Updates, but this last time it severely crippled my networking capabilities. As soon as I installed the latest updates and restarted my computer, my wireless card was gone. It wasn’t in my network adapters, device manager didn’t recognize it, Windows Updates couldn’t find a driver for it, Device Manager couldn’t find a driver for it when I told it to search, and worst of all Dell didn’t have a driver for it.

I spent almost two weeks off and on trying to fix my wireless adapter. I finally figured out what I needed to do: use Linux to figure out what specific wireless card I have and then search for a driver online somewhere. I was never able to figure out what specific wireless card I had with Windows.

Using the lspci command, a coworker with the same laptop was able to tell me that the wireless card was a 03:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM43224 802.11a/b/g/n (rev 01). Armed with this information, I set out to find a driver online, but had no luck. I eventually figured out that I could tell Windows what my device is using the following method:

  1. I found the device in Device Manager (not hard because it was the only one with an exclamation mark and it was preselected because Windows didn’t know what it was). It knew enough to call it “Network Controller”, however.
  2. I right clicked the device and selected “Update Driver Software”.
  3. I selected the second option in the dialog: Browse my computer for driver software”.
  4. Now instead of actually giving it a path and letting it browse for driver software, I clicked the option at the bottom of the wizard that says “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer”.
  5. At this point I was able to use the information my coworker had given me about the specific type of wireless card to select the manufacturer (Broadcom) and the network adapter type (Broadcom 43224 AG 802.11 a/b/g/draf-n Wi-Fi Adapter). NOTE: If your network adapter isn’t in the list you may need to download and install the driver. For my laptop, the driver can be downloaded from wireless-driver.com, but you may be able to go to your manufacturers website or somewhere else.
  6. I clicked Next and the wizard gave me a stern warning about the possibility that I’m screwing up my computer, but since it was already screwed up, I dismissed the warning and it installed successfully.
  7. Without even restarting my wireless started working. 🙂
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4 thoughts on “How I fixed my WiFi driver that Windows Updates broke

  1. Thanks for this – had the same thing happen on my Mac running Bootcamp and needed the actual driver for the Broadcom device instead of Apple’s installer. Found the same one you did and installed using good ol’ “Have Disk!”

    Like

  2. After several try to reboot Windows and reload older version of my WiFi card I was hopeless.
    Then I’ve found this blog. I’ve browsed several hours without hope and you solved my problem.

    I don’t know who you are but there’s a place in heaven for people that help other people

    Like

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