Posted 19 February 2009 - 04:31 PM
Did you reinstall Windows from a rescue disk or a rescue partition, or did you use a store-bought copy of Windows?
Usually you can turn your laptop's wireless chipset on and off with a special key combination, look for a blue "Fn" key in the lower left (looking at a client's Dell Inspiron 5150 I have right now). (It has to be turned on in the BIOS of course.)
Sometimes it helps to install software BEFORE the hardware (ATI's video-capture cards in Win98, and various wireless cards in various Windows versions). The wireless module is easily removed on many laptops (phillips head screws to remove a cover) but you should NOT attempt this unless you are comfortable doing so.
Do you have access to a DVD of Knoppix? It takes a while to detect all your hardware, but it starts a full linux system (in RAM, it goes away when you turn the machine off, doesn't disturb any hard disk files). I don't remember where the hardware detection stuff is in Knoppix, but it may prove that it is detected, which would rule out hardware problems.
Hope this helps.