Wireless on Older Laptop

Dear Computer Lady,

I have an old HP Pavilion n5310 laptop and would like to wi-fi enable it. Trouble is, all the adapters I’ve seen require Windows XP or newer, whereas my OS is Windows ME.

Is there an inexpensive way to wi-fi this laptop, or should I bite the bullet and buy a new one?



Dear John,

This is the problem that we all run into sooner or later with our older computers.

While I don’t have an inexpensive solution for keeping Windows ME and finding an adapter that will support this older operating system, I do have another option for you to consider.

If you can find a wireless adapter that supports Linux, you could erase the hard drive on that laptop, install a free version of Linux, and use the wireless adapter.

I have not used too many versions of Linux over the years, but I do use Puppy Linux quite a bit. You can learn more about Puppy Linux at: http://puppylinux.org

I use Puppy Linux almost every week to recover files from computers that need to have Windows re-installed. I simply boot the computer from a CD and I can access all the files on the computer, and copy them to an external hard drive.

You should be able to test any wireless adapter with Puppy by booting to the CD and trying out the adapter. That way, if it doesn’t work, you still have Windows ME on your computer.

I hope this helps.


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