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One of several laptops cannot connect to the WLAN anymore

Hi,

I have 2 PCs and 3 (sometimes more - guests) laptops on a WLAN. One laptop stopped connecting automatically weeks ago, and then, at times, intermittently, got connected again. Since a few days, it NEVER gets connectivity. As previously, it sees a lot of (also protected) neighbouring networks, but not the SSID I want it to use. So, it's not hardware, it's not the setting of the adapter - I compared all that, although this comparison was made difficult because the hardware is different, and I have XP, Vista and Win7 - and different languages (but that's Europe, I'd day ;<).
I noticed the apparance of a strange network called TEST, and I eventually figured that this was something I probably created myself, a long time ago, trying to share files from computer to computer, and eventually share printers. (This works fine with all other systems since - including a wireless multifunction device. Same SSID.)
I can't connect to this TEST network either, and it disappears after each attempt for a while (hours). I also never see it from any other system.
My questions:
1. Is there a chance this phantom network ''shadows'' the one I really want ?
2. How can I get rid of this (presumably) home network ?
3. I stayed clear of ad-hoc, it's all infrastructure - but would ''public'' or ''private'' (which I understand are just security settings) be candidates for trouble ?
4. What is the best reading if all this is just due to my ignorance ?
5. Is there any way to avoid just re-installing XP (would that fix it btw ?) or
6. Simple upgrading to a newer operating system ?

Hmm, curious to see whether I can motivate anyone to dive into this, solve the issue and make my education while we are at it.

Seriously, any help appreciated,

With my best regards,

Tom S.

Also (more info):
- Win XP home service pack 3 Build 2600
- AVG antivirus
- the thing came with ConfigFree (connectivity doctor) which did not help, but which I remember having ''collided'' with windows setting parameters (differently). I don't think this is the trouble source either.
- Win Firewall standard recommended settings - always worked
- 1 gig of memory, netbios is Toshiba v 1.60 nov 2005 (but remember it worked for years)
- the ISP changed the DSL router a few months back - but it did work a few times after that

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For information and instructions of securing your wireless network, configuring the wireless router, and configuring the wireless cards in the laptops/computers, please click on this link and follow my instructions :-
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http://www.fixya.com/support/r3559120-wireless_router_disconnecting

Posted on Jan 31, 2010

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