I've seen this before once. It was caused by spyware trying to modify the registry at the same time as the installation. Only one program can scribble to the registry at a time. Methinks (not sure) that Linksys non-cleverly tries to hold the registry open and locked for most of the installation. If another program comes along and wants to make changes to the registry, you get a lock error or some bogus error message.
Yep. That's it. My traditional guess(tm) is spyware. However, with all the installs and removals of software you've been doing in the last day and a half, methinks it best to roll back the system to where it was before you started. You didn't bother to specify the operating system, but if it's XP Pro, run the "System Restore" and roll it back to before where you started. If XP Home, my may be lucky and had some program create a restore point for you. The Dell C600 comes with XP so it's a fairly good guess.
For Spyware removal, I use two programs as I can't seem to find one that catches everything. Ad-Aware and Spybot S&D. Both are free and available from:
Time for a mini-rant. You should try doing system troubleshooting over the telephone. It's not easy. It's like back seat driving while blindfolded. However, you're correct about their lack of insight. The common trend in this newsgroup is for people to supply a detailed and often artistic description of what they had done, without supplying any information about what problem they are trying to solve or what hardware/software they have to work with. That makes "insight" important as my crystal ball and Ouija Board run on insight.
That should be a clue. The chances of two different card drivers having the same error are quite small. That also limits the cause of the problem to something in your operating system.
Ok, you have it partially installed. The monitor icon in the system tray probably (not sure) is initiated (started) by the driver. If the driver doesn't start, the icon won't appear. Methinks you're seeing the effects of a partial driver install, not a seperate problem.
The Netgear monitor icon and Wireless Zero Config are mutually hostile. I've seen systems where either the Netgear monitor, WZC icon, or sometimes both appear. However, this is the first time I've heard of neither one appearing. I suggest you dive into: Control Panel -> Admin Tools -> Services and disable (not remove) Wireless Zero Config, and see if the Netgear icon appears.
Ok, you win, maybe.
Hold on. My idea of "connected" includes delivering a DHCP assigned IP address from the router. What did you get? Start -> Run -> cmd to get an MSDOS window. Run: ipconfig If the wireless IP address is 169.254.xxx.xxx, you didn't get a DHCP assigned IP address. If it's 192.168.1.xxx, then it's working. If it's 0.0.0.0, the driver is toast or you didn't give it enough time.
Ok, so we can assume that the router is working normally on the LAN ports.
Oh good. It's working, maybe. However, it doesn't sound like this is going to be a particularly reliable connection if it takes that long to connect. Something is still busted. Incidentally, while you're in the Network window in the Control Panel, see if you have a "Network Bridge" icon. If so, remove it as it screws up connectivity. Here's what it looks like:
Yep. Tech support is responsible for fixing what methinks is a screwed up XP system. Methinks if you tried some of the other vendors tech support, your results and probably your opinion of their "insight" would be similar.
Well, let's see.... You probably spent about 2 hours on the phone with free tech support. My guess is that cost Linksys for outsourced support about $60. The WPC54G cost about $50 with about $5 profit to Linksys. Therefore, if 12 people bought WPC54G cards, and you were the only one to call tech support with a problem, Linksys would break even. How much more are you willing to pay to have support improve?