Even Windows' wonderful plug-and-play feature lets us down sometimes. It might happen that a device you connected to your machine, be it by port or wireless, is not recognized by Windows and thus cannot be installed.
A common reason for that to happen with wireless devices is that Windows already tried to install the device once but failed for unknown reasons. The device will stay unknown and is not tried to be installed any more, no matter how often you reconnect it.
To solve that you need to go to the Control Panel, Hardware and Sound, Device Manager. Search it for the unknown device, right-click it and uninstall it:
Afterwards, try to reconnect the device once more. If the error does not persist, Windows should now be able to install its drivers and get it working.
Most mobile devices are capable of establishing bluetooth links these days. Although it is rather slow, it provides a handy way of sharing limited amounts of data wirelessly. Here I will explain how to do that on a Windows computer capable of bluetooth.
First, you need to check if you have enabled all services that you need to do so. Look them up by searching for Services in the main menu. Start all services with 'bluetooth' in its name by right-clicking them and selecting the appropriate action. Afterwards, close the Services window and search for Bluetooth File Transfer in the main menu. Then
- Select if you want to send or receive files on your machines. The other action must be performed on the corresponding machine.
- If you send files, after you selected the device to receive data, the corresponding machine will be shown a security code, which you have to enter on your side
- If you receive files, give the code shown to you to the sending machine so it can perform the sending.
Data you receive via bluetooth is stored in a temporary location while the transfer is in action and will be moved to the Documents directory after completion.
You can only do this to view passwords of connections that you are or have been connected with, you cannot use it to retrieve passwords of connections you have never been logged in with! That makes it a tool to remember what password you set here or there.
To view a password, left-click the connections icon in Windows' taskbar and go to the Network and Sharing Center:
On the left pane, click Manage wireless networks. You will see a list of items here, these are all the wireless networks you have been in so far with your machine. Right-click any of then and select Properties. In the appearing window, switch to the Security tab. You can see the encryption type as well as your password here. Just click on Show characters so the clear text will be visible:
It may occur that by default your computer won't connect to wireless networks after starting up the system. A way to solve this might be to install the WICD network manager which is available in the Ubuntu repositories.
Just fire up Synaptic Package Manager and search for WICD.
During installation, you will be asked to add system users to the netdev group - check the users that you would like to use WICD with:
Proceed with the installation and launch WICD through Ubuntu's/Mint's main menu. In the program's interface, check the network that you would like to connect with on system startup and try it out by rebooting your machine.
A connection should now automatically be build with the chosen wireless network.
If for some reason, you have a wireless connection stuck in your system's selection that doesn't go away, it's not that easy to figure out how to do so:
To remove such an entry,
- left-click on the connections icon and on Open Network and Sharing Center
- in the left pane, click on Manage wireless networks
- click on the network you want to remove once
- click on Remove network above the list