Earlier today, my son told me that the internet connection on his Asus Eee PC 1000HE wasn’t working. He’d been streaming a movie on Netflix when the connection “suddenly” dropped. I always dread having to troubleshoot Windows issues, especially when it comes to networking problems, but I waded in…
My first stop was the Network Settings. Unfortunately, it appeared as if the computer couldn’t see the wireless card. Next stop, the Device Manager. Here again, the network card was invisible. Unlikely as it seemed given that the computer is just under a month old, I started thinking that the wireless card had died. The good news was that we were still within Amazon’s 30 day return window. The bad news was that I’d have to re-configure the computer if we needed to swap it out.
Just as I was losing hope, I decided to IM a friend for help. He asked whether or not there was a switch on the side of the computer to turn the wireless card on/off. Being a Mac user, I had never heard of such a thing — in Mac OS X, the wireless card is controlled by a pulldown menu in the menubar. On top of that, the wireless card remains visible in the Apple System Profiler even when it’s turned off. Thus, I wasn’t holding out much hope that this would be the solution.
Unfortunately, there was no switch for toggling the network card. The question itself, however, made me curious enough to do something that I rarely ever do… I cracked open the User Manual. And guess what? I found the solution.
On the Asus Eee PC 1000HE, the wireless card can be toggled on/off by pressing Fn-F2. Apparently my son inadvertently hit that key combo (what are the odds?) thereby shutting down the wireless card. Something else that I learned was that, unlike the case with Macs, the wireless card on a Windows-based PC can’t be seen by the Device Manager when it’s turned off.