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Beginner
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Why doesn't my non-Dell branded Centrino WLAN card work in my Dell?

When I go to replace the WLAN card in my Dell laptops with the exact same Intel card minus the Dell branding, it always fails with error 10, device cannot start, even after removing the drivers and trying Dell's or Intel's drivers.

For instance, I have a Dell system that came with an Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 WLAN card. I needed to replace that card, so I bought a card of the same Intel model but without the Dell branding on it. Windows will recognize the new card but can't start the driver for it. It gives me error code 10, device cannot start. I've tried completely removing the driver, then trying either Dell's driver or Intel's driver, rebooting, etc. Nothing works. This is not the first time I've seen this issue with Dell vs Intel WLAN cards either. Does Dell make their Intel cards intentionally different for some reason?

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Community Manager
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Hello mberemand,

 

 

Thank you for your concern. However, what you're doing is not supported.

 

 

Wireless adapters are generally modified for each computer manufacturer, and in most cases are not packaged to be sold through retail channels. In your case it's possible that the replacement you purchased may have been intended for another OEM brand, and may carry customizations that will prevent it from working properly with your system.

 

 

Our recommendation is to purchase your replacement adapters only from your system manufacturer, and if at all possible, to leave it up to them to install it. Please refer to the following articles:

 

 

- http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/network-and-i-o/wireless-networking/000005846.html Why Doesn't My Laptop Recognize My New Intel® Wireless Adapter?

 

- http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/network-and-i-o/wireless-networking/000005687.html Regulatory Information Regarding Wireless Installation or Upgrade.

 

 

Best regards,

 

Carlos A.
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Beginner
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Why do manufacturers do that though? Shouldn't PCI-E be universal? I can't think of any design reason or regulatory reason that makes this a good idea.

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Community Manager
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mberemand,

 

 

In some cases there may be a need to, for example, lower the power consumption, limit features, or the transmit power of an adapter. They may do this to meet certain regional regulations that a specific laptop model is being marketed towards.

 

 

Some OEMs may even limit adapter compatibility through a white list, to prevent un-approved models from being used. I'm sure they do this to try and avoid legal liability.

 

 

Because of this, in cases where working with the OEM to replace the wireless adapter is not a possibility, I usually recommend an USB wireless adapter instead.

 

 

We hope this information helps.

Best regards,

 

Carlos A.
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