So my sister’s laptop had been unable to connect to the internet for a couple of weeks. It’s a 2-year-old Dell Inspiron 1545 running Vista Home Basic.Before I arrived here, I’d established that the PC could connect to the router via ethernet. (I’ve always made sure there’s a spare ethernet cable plugged into the router so I can jump into it without relying on potentially-flaky wireless or needing to use someone else’s computer in case it’s the cause of issues.)
Despite knowing a wired connection worked, I’d been unable to guide folk here into making this slaptop the target of VNC and hence letting me see what the system-tray connection icon had to say. It turns out that Dell have made their F2 keys’ primary function to be toggling wireless on and off. It’s far too easy to hit it, especially if you’re a fat-fingered hunt-and-peck typist like me. (I’ve done so at least twice while typing this post.) Bah – shouldn’t this tool have been built into software or made far less accessible?