Problem 1) The PC is a Windows 7, 8GB RAM, desktop with Avast Antivirus, and Zone Alarm firewall. A few weeks back, I moved from Talk Talk to Virgin, and got a much faster download speed (50Mb/s). My PC doesn't have a wi-fi built in, so I had to buy a PCI wi-fi adaptor (made by Tenda), installed it, installed the driver from the CD, it detected the Virgin signal, I entered the passkey, and everything was great. I tried a couple of broadband speed websites (such as http://www.speedtest.net/ and http://www.broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk/) and they reported that my speed was 50Mb/s
But a few days back, the internet connection started to run slowly, so I tried the broadband websites, and they said I was only getting ~5Mb/s. I've not changed anything hardware or software-wise on the PC (other than the manditory updates to Windows and virus killer, etc).
I used my tablet (w-fi, of course) and it said that I was still getting 50Mb/s, so the problem was obviously with my desktop.
So I phoned Virgin, who couldn't find a fault over the phone, so they sent a bloke around, who checked the router (it was working, plus his device got the full speed over the wi-fi from it), and he connected a cable from the router to my desktop (which I couldn't do, since the desktop is upstairs, the router downstairs), and even by wire the desktop only got 5Mb/s, even though when stood next to the desktop, both my tablet and his phone/whatever got full speed via wire-less. So presumably the problem is not the wire-less PCI card or it's driver, since even if we use a cable then the desktop still only gets 5Mb/s.
I've uninstalled Avast! Antivirus (although I didn't think it would be that), and it's not helped, and I disabled Zone Alarm, and still no change.
Any ideas would be appreciated.
Problem 2) Anyway, every couple of months I create a 1:1 copy of my C: drive using Acronis Home Image (I used to use Norton Ghost years ago, until I discovered Achronis). So I thought I'd just put on my latest C: drive back up, and if it read the broadband at full speed, then I'd use that installation, and update the programs manually.
So I recovered the last backup, from a month or so back, and everything worked except the net connection. There was no wi-fi icon in the Windows 7 task bar (the ascending slopes made up of vertical columns), just the square with a plug icon that you get pre-wireless era. And when I try to access wi-fi, I get told that there are no wireless connections available. The driver for the PCI wi-fi dongle was installed (I must have made this backup not much after I went over to Virgin) but Windows wasn't showing the wi-fi icon.
I uninstalled and reinstalled the driver, but still no joy. Windows says that the device (the PCI network connector) is working perfectly, and Device Manager marks it as working (no yellow exclamation mark).
I went to my two earlier backups, neither of which have the wi-fi card driver installed, so I installed it, with the same result; no wi-fi icon in the task bar, and Windows says it can't find any wireless connections. So of course I though that the wi-fi card might have broke, or had some sort of setting disabled, but fortunately, before I'd reinstalled the backups of C:, I made a backup today, with the problem I describe in problem 1, so I reinstalled that backup (from today), and now the wi-fi card is working, although for whatever reason the PC is still only getting 5Mb/s.
So I installed the earlier backups, and no matter what I do, I can't get the wireless to work with those. And it *definitely* worked in the first backup before I made that backup (it worked and so I decided to make that backup, I wouldn't have made that backup back then if the wi-fi hadn't been working, I'd have fixed the problem first), so I don't know what the problem is.
Again, any light shone on this problem would be much appreciated.
Details of the adapter are:
Device Type: Network adapters
Manufacturer: Ralink Technology, Corp.
Location: PCI bus 1, device 8, function 0
Driver Provider: Ralink Technology, Corp.
Driver Date: 19/04/2011
Driver Version: 184.108.40.206
When I use
CONTROL PANEL > DEVICE MANAGER > NETWORK ADAPTERS > 802.11n. Wireless Lan Card
in both backups (the modern one I made today, which is of course the one where broadband works but only at 5Mb/s, and also the backup from a month or so ago, where the broadband can't be read for some reason) then I get the same values in all of the tabs, except that the IRQ is listed in the
CONTROL PANEL > DEVICE MANAGER > NETWORK ADAPTERS > 802.11n. Wireless Lan Card > RESOURCES
tab in the working (but slow) backup as 0x00000013 (19) whereas in the broadband-not-working backup, the value is 0x00000011 (17)
Windows won't let me edit the entry (in the tab's box, I don't know where else to edit it).
Can anyone help, please.
Apologies if I haven't explained this too clearly. Basically,
1. For some reason, my desktop has stopped receiving broadband (via wireless) at 50MB/s, it's now around 5MB/s. Other wireless devices still receive it at 50MB/s, so it's not the router, it's the desktop (as confirmed by the engineer who Virgin sent, and who wasn't allowed to make changes to my PC, only to the router). Even wired up to the router, the desktop only reads 5MB/s, which makes me think it's not the wireless itself at fault.
2. I've done a clean boot (from an Avast! CD) and scanned the PC, no viruses or malware. I've reset the router. The desktop still only downloads at 5Mb/s, whilst my tablet downloads at 50Mb/s (this is according to various "how fast is my broadband?" site.
3. I have various backups, from a month back, total images of my C: drive. So I thought I'd reinstall one of those, as that would surely not include whatever corrupted file or wrong setting that is causing the problem now. So I first made a backup of the current state, in case I needed to go back, then put the last backup on my PC. But for some reason, that backup (and the two earlier ones) will not see any wi-fi connections, even though I've reinstalled the wi-fi driver, but there's no wi-fi icon in the task bar.
I'll include all available data that I think might be important, in the next post (it's long!)