PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM/WIFI BUILT IN COMPUTER


QUESTION: Hi,. I need your help, I have a Dell Dimension E521 running windows XP, I want to connect to Wifi using a Hotspot. How can I tell if my computer has  built in WIFI
How would I know, where do I look.
Also, If I needed to add hardware
what wifi Adapter Product would you recommend.

Thanks for your help. Kenny

ANSWER: By default, the computer model did not come with Wi-Fi built-in. Unless you or someone previously has installed a Wi-Fi card, your computer does not have Wi-Fi. You can check to see if you have a Wi-Fi card by going into the Device Manager and then looking under "Network Adapters". If you have any devices under "Other Devices" and you have recently installed a USB or PCI Wi-Fi device then you may need to install the driver. The easiest way to install Wi-Fi on your desktop is to get a USB adapter. I would get a USB adapter that has a USB extension cable then you can place the adapter dongle itself up high and give yourself a better signal. If you want a more permanent and cleaner solution you can also go for a PCI card but this will limit your signal if you have your computer on the ground. You can also get any size antenna for PCI card which could enhance your signal better than any USB dongle out there. You don't have that option with a USB dongle. At this point, the options are up to you. Regardless of which type of wifi device you acquire, they will come with a CD that will provide the driver needed to make your device work with your computer.

Hope this helps, have a great day!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Clinic Hi thank you for your help, in regards to getting a WiFi adapter, are there certain specs that I should closely look at. Im looking for one that works with XP and Windows 10. What other specs shod I be concerned about
Thanks Kenny

You shouldn't have any compatibility issues between either OS. There are different specs between wifi adapters, but it will mainly be signal dB strength and supported wifi bands. Either way, anything you buy should function just fine.

Have a great day!

PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




I can answer most No POST problems, compatibility between parts, upgrade options, troubleshooting, etc. Before you ask me a question, please do some research. I do not give PC speed reviews for video games.


Many, many years of experience working with the hardware components of many types of computers including desktops, laptops, kiosk computers, and even running Windows 3.1, 95, and 98 on the PSP (Sony PlayStation Portable). I've replaced capacitors on desktop motherboards making them working like new again with a high success rate. This is my hobby/job every day.

Associates of Science in Computer Information Technology

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.