Then, by accident, I found a weird quirk. When I moved my TV remote control to a certain spot, the speed jumped from 1mbps to 5-6mbps. If I moved the remote, it would drift slowly back down. The next time, the remote had to be in a slightly different spot. The sweet spot kept changing. But it was a noticeable difference.
I started here in the win xp forum and then the malware forum before discovering the cause. The last experiment tried was to use a different EXTERNAL wireless adapter with all different drivers, and that worked normally, which indicated that the internal wireless adapter was bad. With all of the previous data I decided to replace the internal wireless card, which appears to have done the trick and corrected the issue.
Now, here is my question (or questions):
1. Can I assume that the problem is REALLY fixed? I mean, it seems like it's no longer doing the bad things, and all the evidence supports it, but am I REALLY done?
2. Can someone give me a non-techie explanation of why playing with the signal path with my hands or a remote object would improve the signal and speed of a bad adapter card? The card is near the keyboard and the antenna wires run up to the top of the lcd display screen, so why would a bad card not stay bad? Once it's bad, it's bad, right?
3. Is it certain, given the above, that the original hardware wifi card was hosed?
4. The malware forum member told me to completely remove the old wireless from my installation. When I try to uninstall in device mgr, it won't let me, saying device is needed for boot. But the old device is gone? The new, identical wifi card has been assigned "wireless adapter #2" by windows. The old one should not be active? How do I perform this?