After spending about 5 hours today sorting software issues out on an Acer Aspire 5315 laptop, that kept throwing up BSODs 10-20 minutes after boot-up on Vista Home Basic setup (shudder), the only thing I hadn't fixed was the wireless internet, which was 'sort-of' working earlier in the day, as it allowed me to install IE8 and some other updates in between BSODs, then once the updates and a copy of Eset NOD Antivirus 4 had been installed the laptop wouldn't connect. I had finally cured the BSODs which were Norton related (surprise ) and there were no obvious hardware faults showing up, so it had to be the router.
The lady who owned the laptop showed me a card and sticker which was reported to have the router access password - no worries, or so I thought... it just refused to connect. The ADSL router was a Sky badged Netgear, so I typed in 192.168.2.1 - the default router login for most Netgear routers - zilch. I even tried permutations of most router login IPs I know and it wasn't having any of it. I even tried resetting the router to factory default - nope, not having that, either...
Eventually I figured out that the laptop had downloaded the updates via another local insecure wireless network!
Having come away determined to get this sorted, I found out a shocking fact; Sky lock you out of the router, so you can't log into the home page to change the wireless password or any other settings!!
After much consulting of the Google oracle, I came across a site that allows you to enter the MAC address and serial number of the Sky router and it coughs out the wireless password. Somebody has sussed out the algorithm of Sky's router password encryption.
The wireless password had been changed from that shown on the card!! I thought that those on Sky Broadband should be aware of this, as a hard drive or an OS crash could you leave up that familiar creek 'sans paddle', so to speak. I would recommend that those with a Sky router find out what the router wireless password is just in case and keep it in a safe place. Note that you do need the MAC and serial number, so it can't be used to directly hack into a wireless network.
This sad episode only underlines my deep hatred of the following items.
1. Vista, with it's UAC that needed disabling before the laptop would do anything;
2. Norton 360, which infiltrates just about everywhere on a Vista install and took 3/4 of an hour to finally rip from the registry;
3. Acer laptops that create data partitions that even the user isn't made aware of.
4. iTunes, that installed 10Gb of music onto a 30Gb partition and slowed everything to a crawl. I had to move the 10Gb to the spare partition as the laptop only had 400Mb of free space when I got to it!!
The last bit I suppose should have gone into AmiRant but sack it, it's staying here now.