I really don’t like the drivers for the Netgear WG511.

Actually, it’s not the drivers, it’s the smart wireless utility that’s included with the drivers. Netgear doesn’t have stand alone drivers for the WG511v2 or the WG511T. They have an installation utility that installs the smart utility along with the drivers. I haven’t been able to extract just the drivers.

In most cases, this wouldn’t really be an issue, but my laptop is a bit strapped for resources because I an running Windows XP on an 850MHZ with only 256meg RAM, so I just didn’t want the programs running that I don’t need. *see this older post on optimizing XP on an older machine.

Also, the smart utility isn’t really that smart. It was not able to detect when I moved the laptop from one SSID to another. Windows XP is able to manage this, so there was no reason to keep the smart utility. One problem though, when I uninstalled the NetGear software, I discovered that NetGear had replaced the Windows LOGIN and didn’t put it back properly when uninstalled.

It may have been because I tried two different NetGear cards, or that I didn’t uninstall the cards in the correct order. Either way, after a few attempts to uninstall, reboot, not be able to login, restore a prior system restore point, try again, try to let Windows “Repair” my system, I decided it was time to backup the files and start over.

This time I didn’t want the smart software, so this is what I did. I went ahead and installed the NetGear software on another computer, but never put the card in the system. Instead, when prompted to “insert the card”, I brought up TaskManager and killed the install task (PKERNEL). Then I looked in the \WINDOWS\INF folder and found a WG511v2 folder, which I copied to a USB drive. (The \WINDOWS\INF folder is where Windows copies drivers when you install new hardware).

Then I uninstalled the NetGear software. When I put the card in my laptop and Windows prompted for the driver disk, I pointed it to theWG511v2 folder on the USB drive and viola, it worked.

So, there you have it. How to install the NetGear WG511v2 card WITHOUT the smart utility.

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