Wifi on Sony VAIO - adapter randomly stopped working  

  1. Posts : 110
    Windows 10 Pro 21H1 (19043) x64

    Wifi on Sony VAIO - adapter randomly stopped working

    Hi all,

    Hoping someone can help me as I'm a bit lost with this one.

    A friend whos laptop I've done some maintenance on has given me another of his friends to do much the same - including upgrade to an SSD and add more RAM. It's a Sony Vaio (VPCEB4J0E). The laptop was described as "painfully slow" and it's not far from the truth.

    It was also woefully out of date - still running Windows 10 1511 (2015) and Malwarebytes found 159 detections. So I got to work on updating Windows to the latest 20H2 and doing things such as disk cleanup, defragging etc as well as reducing the ridiculous amount of startup apps (it's currently got 3GB RAM as the RAM isn't arriving until tomorrow) I wanted to get everything cleaned up and updated before cloning to the SSD.

    So after installing Windows 20H2, at this point WIFI still working fine.

    After this I ran Windows Update again to get the latest cumulative updates etc since the release of 20H2, and these installed, laptop restarted - again, at this point, WIFI still working fine.

    I decided to run another scan in MalwareBytes, just to make sure everything was clean. I also removed AVG with the intention of reverting to Windows Defender. At this point still the WIFI was working fine. Malwarebytes found something in a downloads folder - I think it was a copy of Utorrent, which it flagged, but it wouldn't have been running or anything as it was an installer, so I removed this, and it asked me to restart the PC.

    I restarted and now WIFI is not working at all. The adapter shows fine in Device Manager, with no issues. And when I click on the globe icon in the system tray (globe with an X on it) it doesn't show me active WIFI connections to connect to, it just says something about turning WIFI back on either "Manually", "In 1 day" etc. I ran the network troubleshooter and it says the WIFI radio is OFF and to use function buttons on the laptop to turn it back on. This is determined by a switch on the front side of the laptop - however, I haven't touched this switch at all, and it's already in the on position.

    Also before all this there was a green active LED next to that WIFI switch on the front. Now it's off completely - although it does come on during the Windows boot process, and then goes off again once the login screen appears.

    I'm totally baffled. I can't see anything untoward in Event Viewer. The adapter is fully enabled and apparently working fine. It's using the same driver as before. I'm lost.

    Any ideas with this one?

      My Computers

  2. Posts : 13,170
    Win10 Version 21H2 Pro and Home, Win11 Pro and Home

    The mention of new memory prompts the question of whether Windows is the x86/32-bit version or x64/64-bit version. The 32-bit version can't display the full 4GB of memory but the 64-bit can do much more.

    For Wireless/Wi-Fi issues I keep a USB Dongle 802.11n or 802.11ac on hand to test the connections, helps to decide to dig further into the problem.
      My Computers

  3. Posts : 110
    Windows 10 Pro 21H1 (19043) x64
    Thread Starter

    Thank you for your fast reply.

    The system is a 64-bit version of Windows. It has 3GB RAM, with 2.7GB usable. The max it can take is 8GB, so I'd ordered 2x4GB modules which should be compatible. Unfortunately though, before even getting around to that, this WIFI issue is giving me headaches.

    And that's a good point about the dongle, I think I have one, somewhere.

    I will give it a try but I not long ago realised System Restore is enabled on this laptop, and it had restore points for 4PM this afternoon, for when those Windows updates were installed. I've figured this is worth a shot, however, it is just sitting on a screen saying "System Restore is initializing" with a spinning wheel, and lots of hard drive activity. Is this normal for System Restore as I haven't used it since the XP days.
      My Computers

  4. Posts : 13,170
    Win10 Version 21H2 Pro and Home, Win11 Pro and Home

    With the mentioned issues I'd say SR is doing the best it can and just have to wait.

    RE your signature, me too, '92.
      My Computers

  5. Posts : 110
    Windows 10 Pro 21H1 (19043) x64
    Thread Starter

    Berton said:
    With the mentioned issues I'd say SR is doing the best it can and just have to wait.

    RE your signature, me too, '92.
    You're right, the patience paid off in the end but it must have taken over an hour and a half to do system restore, sat on the "initializing" message for most of it.

    Windows successfully restored to the snapshot from 4PM this afternoon pre-Windows Updates and now the WIFI is working correctly again. The problem is obviously it will want to install the updates again automatically. And it will probably break again. Is there any way of determining which update could be causing that to happen (if indeed it is down to the Windows Update and not something weird like uninstalling AVG) It seems weird that a Windows Update would break it because none of the updates were for drivers or anything, just those cumulative updates.

    And yeah, crazy how much technology has come on since then isn't it. I actually started using PCs in 1997 and our PC still had Windows 3.1 for a while after that so I spent a good few years on it!
      My Computers

  6. Posts : 227
    Windows 10 Home 21H1

    I have to tell how much I loved these SONY VAIO laptops back in the day! They were high quality, really nicely built ones. It's sad Sony doesn't make them anymore.

    Anyway. Good call on the SSD and RAM upgrade. About your wifi problem, well, you are not alone! Windows 10 has a bad habit of silently updating drivers, not only missing drivers, but also perfectly working drivers as well. This is often fine with recent hardware but not with older ones, like yours.

    A driver change happens in the background and in many cases needs a reboot to finish. You might have just done that and that is what caused it to stop working.
      My Computer

  7. Posts : 110
    Windows 10 Pro 21H1 (19043) x64
    Thread Starter

    Thanks for the replies.

    I've got the RAM upgraded to 8GB now, and the SSD cloned and fitted. It is like a completely different laptop now (it'd be even faster/better if I was able to do a clean install, but this person has a lot of very specific apps and also Microsoft Office 2007 on there and I don't have the media for all that so I left well alone) Still, it's so much faster.

    My only concern now is Windows Update. Obviously as I mentioned in my first post, the laptop was severely out of date, no updates had been installed since 2015. I don't quite know how that's even possible, because I would have thought Windows would have been doing this in the background, as apparently the laptop is regularly used. But yeah I'm now a bit apprehensive about running Windows Update and installing any latest patches in case it borks the WIFI again. The WIFI is only working again because I did that System Restore. But I am still not 100% sure it was Windows Update that caused it. Do you think it's worth doing a system restore point and then running Windows Update to install any of the latest patches?
      My Computers

  8. Posts : 873
    windows 10

    Here it talks about the wifi problem due to windows update and also how to Use network reset, and more ...

    Before using windows update try to find the currently installed driver to download, to reinstall it if windows update has changed it.

    Find the latest driver for the computer's network adapter.

    As a last resort Use network reset indicated in the link. Yes made a restore point.

    If you install optional windows update driver updates, do not install the wifi driver anymore if it is in these updates.
      My Computer


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