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Sunday, December 5, 2010

NDISwrapper for USB wireless adapter

You can't use Vista drivers with NDISwrapper. WinXP drivers only.
Once ndiswrapper has been configured (it really should be a last resort), it has a nasty tendency of taking over. We will have to edit some config files to make this permanant.
First we remove the ndiswrapper configuration:
sudo ndiswrapper -e netr73
(if error, try sudo ndiswrapper -r netr73)
Then we can remove ndiswrapper all together, it's only in the way.
sudo apt-get remove ndiswrapper-common
Then comes the (maybe) hard part. We have probably lost the ability to hotplug this stick. Either you can keep doing this setup manually (sudo modprobe rt73usb) every time you want to plug the card in (and you have to do the sudo modprobe -r rt73usb every time before removing it, and make sure there are no errors), or you can place rt73usb in the /etc/modules file, which will require you to keep the stick plugged in from boot to shutdown (premature removal in either case could do anything from confuse networking to lock the system solid), or we can go through the trouble of finding what udev or other files ndiswapper messed with so we can undo the damage and possibly get hotplugging back (this can be drawn out).
...You could also try reinstalling gnome-applets, no guarantee.
Back to problem at hand, if you don't mind having to keep the adapter plugged in all the time, we should be able to do this the easy way, no manual intervention. The network stick will need to be plugged in from power on to shutdown to maintain system stability.*
Do this, only once, and there is no feedback when done right.
sudo echo rt73usb >> /etc/modules
The next time you boot, the module should automatically be loaded.
*It actually not a big deal if the card is not plugged in at boot, the module will either load in the background or fail to load for missing hardware. You'd find out which when you plug the stick in. However, once the card is active, network stacks build on top of it, so don't remove it.
I got around it by actually getting a root prompt with this command:

sudo -i
And yes, this gives a root prompt in Ubuntu, a system without root!

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