Sunday, July 23, 2006

Q I bought a Netgear wireless card over the weekend, installed its software and plugged it into my computer. It connected right away, but we couldn't get to any sites on the Web. What setting did we miss?

ALet Windows XP handle wireless networking instead of the software included with your WiFi hardware. While the configuration tools bundled with many wireless add-ons may offer a host of options valuable to tech professionals, they often require excess tweaking.

To use the simpler interface XP has offered since Microsoft's Service Pack 2 update, go to the Start Menu, select Control Panel, choose the "Network and Internet Connections" category and click "Network Connections"; right-click the wireless-connection icon and select "Properties."

Then click the "Wireless Networks" tab and click the check box by "Use Windows to configure my wireless network settings." (If you can't see that tab, your WiFi receiver's driver doesn't support this Windows feature. Get a newer driver from the vendor's site; if one isn't offered, return the receiver.)

This not-so-simple step cleared whatever had been blocking Internet traffic for this person. Unfortunately, it's not available to anybody running pre-XP versions of Windows; those folks are stuck with third-party WiFi software.

Your recent item about getting e-mail and Web favorites out of AOL didn't mention messages saved in the AOL program's "Personal Filing Cabinet." Can I save them, too?

Although AOL's free, Mac OS X-only AOL Service Assistant handles that task just fine on a Mac, I haven't been able to find a comparable free program for Windows users. Instead, try a $24.95 application called ePreserver ( ), which has received high marks from Web reviewers as well as a reader who wrote in to compliment the tech support provided by its developers.

-- Rob Pegoraro

Rob Pegoraro attempts to untangle computing conundrums and errant electronics each week. Send questions to The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071

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