Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

XP SP2 and Wireless Problems

6 weeks on and the only major problem I’ve had with XP SP2 seems to be an inability to obtain an IP address on a wireless connection. I haven’t said anything yet because I’ve been trying to single out the cause, but:

  1. Wireless worked fine under XP before updating
  2. The network I have been trying to access works fine over and ethernet cable and other people have had no problems with it
  3. I’m currently booted to Linux on the same machine and posting this message over a wireless connection.

Microsoft did implement big changes to the way wireless worked in XP SP2 and I’m wondering whether there’s still some bugs lingering from that. In any case, I’ll have a play around with DHCP to see if that’s the problem. In the meantime, this is as good an opportunity as any to update my Linux installation. 🙂

Oh, and May the 4th be with you.

Update: DHCP seems to be in order. Repairing the connection does nothing. Under Windows, the connection only ever receives 1 packet, and after not getting an IP address it defaults to an automatic private address. ZoneAlarm doesn’t appear to be blocking anything and the Windows Firewall is turned off. I really am at a loss as to what’s up here.


  1. Strangely, my SP2 update has stopped my DVDRW working in VMWare, I now get errors regarding ATAPI commands and that I should use DMA. Good job I’ve got a backup of the old one until this is fixed.

  2. I had some issues with my NetGear WG511 and Motorola 802.11g cards in my SP2 setup as well. However, it was fixed when I opted to choose either the built in wireless software that came with the cards or the Windows Zero Config. If I ran each separate, they worked like a charm. If they were both active, it would cause problems. I know the NetGear and Motorola software installs as a service so I disabled them when I activated the Zero Config.
    I wound up sticking to the Zero Config because I got much better performance out of my NetGear and Motorola cards.
    Perhaps this can help you out?

  3. make sure if your wireless router has an enhanced or “turbo” mode that you disable it.

  4. i had the same problem – happened to be a driver issue with the intelPro wireless card and WPA (new wirless encryption) in xp sp2 – just updated the driver and worked…
    Hope this helps

  5. yeah im getting exactly the same issues, DHCP from Windows 2003 Server, very pretty dialog that sp2 has but it would be nice if it picked up a lease 🙂
    I do eventualy get it to connect after a few mins, I imagine theres some kind of race condition going on here so it may well have passed under the noses of microsofts scrupulous testing 🙂
    Id love to know if you resolve this issue, would somone email me