My sister’s laptop (which is the Acer Aspire 5003WLMi) had a severe virus attack recently which prevented her from being able to login to her Windows. She was quite upset about it because there were a lot of personal files which she hadn’t backed up; and we couldn’t even login to Safe Mode.

I managed to extract and back her data up, and then I proceeded to do a complete reformat and OS installation. I will go into the way I managed to back her data up in another post, as I would like to talk about a different issue in this post.

It came pre-installed with XP Home, but I wanted to give her a different OS so first I tried to install XP Pro. Everything was fine… except that her wireless wouldn’t come on. I tried Googling and read up threads in many forums which all suggested downloading the latest driver from the Acer website. I tried that, but it kept saying that the radio was disabled.

I was boggled because when I tried to look up the settings, the radio was enabled. So I decided to try restoring the laptop to factory settings… only, the recovery buttons don’t work. I found the recovery CDs and tried reinstalling them, but for some very strange reason, the recovery CDs don’t work. There were a total of four CDs (one system disc and three recovery discs), and after the laptop backs up from the third recovery disc, it requests for the system disc but when I put it in, it restarts the entire recover process. There seemed to be no way to restore it to the factory settings.

In the end I decided to install TinyXP on the laptop (I will discuss this in a future post), but the radio still seemed to be disabled. And then after I Googled for more help, I found the gem of an answer which solved this simple issue:

It’s so infuriating that there is such a simple answer for such a simple problem! Even Acer doesn’t seem to have these kind of help files.

Anyway, the solution is as simple as this: there is a radio switch at the front of the laptop. It doesn’t look like a switch because its design makes it look like a status light instead. To switch on the radio, all I had to do was press it.

Here’s where the button is:

Radio hardware control switch on the Acer Aspire 5003WLMi
Radio hardware control switch on the Acer Aspire 5003WLMi

They should have just said so in the error message!