Solved: Dell Wi-fi 6 AX201 Device Cannot Start

Solved: Dell Wi-fi 6 AX201 Device Cannot Start

I recently got a Dell Inspiron 7490 at home and was so impressed with it, when I needed a new one for work, I asked for the same model (though a lower spec).

When it arrived, everything was as expected except for one thing: there were no wifi networks visible.  When I dug in, it became apparent this is because there were no functioning network adapters at all!

A quick dig in to the Device Manager of Windows 10 found the the network adapter installed but with an exclamation mark saying that the “Device cannot start“.

I did a clean install of Windows and all seemed well, I downloaded and installed the wireless network drivers from the Dell Support website, did a BIOS update, rebooted and again everything seemed fine.  I then install the Dell SupportAssist software to pick up any further driver updates “from the horse’s mouth” so to speak, at which point there were a few including one for the wireless.  I installed, rebooted and hey presto – the wifi problem had returned.

I then did another clean install and the problem was there from the outset – the wifi wouldn’t work but I remember something I’d seen on a forum somewhere:

Unplug the power cable and hold down the power button on your laptop until it does a hard shutdown.  On older laptops you could remove the battery but this is the closest you’ll get to pulling the power from the wifi adapter card on modern laptops with sealed cases.

Upon reboot sure enough, the wifi adapter was back!

So in summary I recommend the following steps:

  1. Clean install of Windows
  2. BIOS update
  3. Install the drivers
  4. Do NOT install Dell Support Assist
  5. If you have the Wifi card problem, do a hard reboot or remove power and battery (if you can).
Bob McKay

About Bob McKay

Bob is Director of Operations at Perfect Image, a full time father and husband, part-time tinkerer-with-wires, coder, Muay Thai practitioner, builder and cook. Loves love, tolerance and co-existance. Hates hate. Is aware of the irony of hating hate.

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