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Problem allowing Enable/Disable WiFi Adapter with Non-Admin Account


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#1 cswarts824

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 05:28 PM

Let me start by explaining what led to my problem.

I work for an electric utility, and we issue Panasonic Toughbook laptops to our linemen containing our mobile mapping and AVL (Automatic Vehicle Locating) software. They are all running Windows XP Professional SP3. Our AVL software requires an internet and VPN connection to our AVL server at the office (we currently use Verizon Air Cards and the Cisco VPN client to achieve this). Since implementing this, we have found that Cisco VPN and the Verizon Air Cards do not work well when the wifi network adapters are turned on (or enabled). When they are turned off (disabled) everything works nicely. We can't just disable the wifi NIC's and call it good either because our user's need the faster wifi connections to perform database syncs in the mornings (via hotspots inside each garage bay). Once they are all synced up and out of range of our wireless network, the wifi NIC's are no longer needed. Since the wifi NIC's and Air Cards don't get along, we have been having our users turn the NIC's off using a hardware switch on the Toughbooks cassis. However, some of our older models (CF-29's to be exact) do not have these hardware switches. Our solution was to create two batch files and place them on the users' desktops; one that turns the wifi NIC on, and one that turns it off.

This brings you up to my current problem...

Our userís logon to a non-admin account and because of this, they do not have the ability to disable/enable a network adapter. However, this was easily fixed by modifying our Group Policy settings. This policy change allowed them to go into network connections and right-click on the wifi connection, and then enable or disable it. However, we were hoping to make it even simpler by adding the two batch files (mentioned above) to the desktop, which when ran, disables/enables the wifi NIC from the command line using DevCon.

The batch file command to disable (vice versa for enable) the NIC is simply:

cd C:\
devcon disable *<device ID here>*

When ran from the Admin account, these two batch files work well and do exactly what we want them to do.

However, when we run them from a non-admin account, they fail, and an error message pops up that says:

"Unable to open the driver specific registry key for this device"

I tracked down the registry key in question and gave full access to the non-admin userís profile, but all this did was prevent the error message from popping up; the batch files still failed to enable/disable the wireless NIC.

At this point I am at the end of my rope; I have no idea where to go from here. My guess is that it is a permissions problem with DevCon, but I don't know for sure.

Does anyone else have experience with enabling/disabling devices with DevCon on non-admin accounts?

Or perhaps, does anyone know of another way I could write these batch files (besides using DevCon)?

Any help would be much appreciated!

Thanks,
Curtis
Curtis Swarts
GIS Technician
United Power, Inc.

"Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else."
~Will Rogers

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#2 cswarts824

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 03:36 PM

I take it that's a "no"?
Curtis Swarts
GIS Technician
United Power, Inc.

"Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else."
~Will Rogers

#3 cryptodan

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 03:50 PM

There should be a key combination to turn the wifi adapters off when not needed usually its the FN key plus F2 or something like that.

#4 cswarts824

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 04:18 PM

Unfortunately, our Toughbooks don't have a key designated for the wifi card, just other standard functions (e.g. screen brightness, standby, etc). I guess we could potentially program a key to do that within the BIOS?
Curtis Swarts
GIS Technician
United Power, Inc.

"Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else."
~Will Rogers

#5 cryptodan

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 04:20 PM

What is the exact model number of the tough book?

#6 cswarts824

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 06:01 PM

The model number is a CF-29, the CF-29L/M (mk4) series to be exact.
Curtis Swarts
GIS Technician
United Power, Inc.

"Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else."
~Will Rogers




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