Wireless LAN Troubleshooting

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Fix for Wireless connection problem on a Lenovo T430 after Windows 8.1 Ugrade

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

Last night I upgraded my Windows 8 to 8.1 and this morning my wireless connection was lost on my Lenovo T430 machine. Remembered last time I had to manually download bunches of drivers from Lenovo site after I downgraded Windows 8 to Windows 7, so I quickly went to the site to download the driver software for Wireless LAN. I chose “Intel Wireless LAN (11abgn, 11bgn, 11ac) for Windows 8.1 (64-bit), 8 (64-bit), 7 (32-bit, 64-bit) – ThinkPad” to download and realized that the Windows 8.1 upgrade had already done that automatically and saved the driver at “grw208ww_64,exe“; without much suspect, I went ahead to run through the installation and it completed successfully but the “limited” status still showing below my wi-fi name.

I even upgraded the BIOS using the BIOS Util software downloaded from Lenovo site for Windows 8.1 but nothing changed. Well, as it turned out, Windows 8.1 upgrade automatically upgraded the driver software for wireless LAN but obviously the newer software wasn’t fully tested on every model of ThinkPad and it did not work on mine! So I ran the  “grw208ww_64,exe” and selected the “Uninstall” option to rollback. After that I located the previous driver downloaded several months earlier, “g1w216ww_s64.exe” and executed that. Immediately after the installation process completed, the yellow exclamation sign next to my wi-fi name disappeared and the wireless connection returned to normal.

So, this might be what had happened:

  • Intel heard Windows 8.1 coming and released an newest version of driver for it
  • Lenovo software QA director got inspired by the Healthcare.gov and ……the driver went live on Lenovo support site
  • Windows 8.1 upgrade tool automatically search for the latest driver from each vendor website that sold Windows 8 with their machines, found it, downloaded it and installed last night  (thank you Microsoft, appreciated that!!!)
  • But the newer does not mean better, it screwed me for 2 and half hours, plus 30 min to write this note up so it might save others from same frustration I went through.