03-08-2018 02:38 PM
Think we have an almost full picture now.
The news gets worse, I'm afraid.
An older thread from about 10 months ago contains comments about "Airplane key stopped working" with various HP notebooks so the wifi was unable to be turned on. The mix of O/S is always Win7 and Win10.
One comment gave advice to download and use an HP programme called HP Wireless Assistant.
So I did. The HP download page advises that the programme is for Win10, 8, 7, Vista, XP ... this page is still there, one can see it at:
This programme will *NOT* now install on Win7. The message is that "the programme is not supported on this system". I tried this on both a G5 and a G6 - same result. Extracting the files from within the downloaded exe showed file dates of May 20, 2010.
So we have an Intel driver for Win7 for the AC3168 that installs perfectly yet the wifi remains unuseable, without power.
We have an HP programme designed for exactly this situation, loudly labelled as compatible with Windows O/S's from XP to Win10, but which will not install into Win7.
Such an unpleasant stench, it would appear.
03-08-2018 03:02 PM
The HP connection manager software does exactly the same thing, and superceded the HP wireless assistant software.
It will install and work fine on W7, but when you turn on the wifi adapter, it will tell you that the radio is turned off.
This package provides the HP Connection Manager for supported notebook models running a supported operating system.
03-08-2018 03:17 PM
Thanks Paul, we tried that earlier. Same result, as you know. Connection Manager installs but cannot help.
I had vague hopes that an earlier programme may not have been spiked ... oh well.
Such an irritating little problem. Letting forced marketing overrun me is so against the grain
03-08-2018 03:26 PM
You're very welcome.
Had the HPWA software installed, it would have worked the same way the connection manager did and would not have turned on the wifi.
It is definitely a shame to get this close to a solution and fall short.
There is no excuse for this.
W7 works fine on that platform and it is still a supported operating system until 2020.
03-08-2018 10:34 PM
This is about my last gasp at the situation. (In any case, the external usb3 adapter fix is working fine, was inexpensive, and is neat as the adapter is literally thumbnail size).
I now think jorkki was near enough right about the issue being in the BIOS (embedded there to help force market W10).
I have reverted the OS in the Celeron 250 G6 from Win10 as bought back to Win7 by preference. The Airplane (wifi) F12 key is the power on/off hardware controller. According to both Device Manager and the Registry entries - which I found by searching the Registry for entries noted in Device Manager - the AC3168 adapter in the G6 is in a power on state labelled D0 (ie. power on), so the F12 hardware key is obviously separately defaulted to off now, mute to being pressed.
This is *NOT* so in the hp250 G5, which was delivered with Win7 factory-installed. On this machine, F12 works exactly as it is supposed to.
I examined the BIOS settings of both machines. The G5 (F12 hardware key works in W7) was already in Legacy mode to allow W7 to load and function. For the G6, I had to change the BIOS setup from UEFI to Legacy and use DISKPART to place the hard disk in MBR mode (not GPT) - this changed the in-situ BIOS settings to allow W7 to install.
As an entry in System Configuration/Boot Order, both BIOS's, "HP factory keys" is listed. This entry remains unreachable in Legacy mode in both machines, but reverting to UEFI allows it to be viewed. Back to Legacy, the entry becomes unreachable again.
The BIOS versions are different, of course. We seem to have gone a very full circle. In Legacy mode, the G6 F12 hardware key cannot be activated, so the power for the AC3168 remains unavailable. Kaput, says Cassandra.
03-09-2018 05:49 PM
Thanks Paul - you've been pretty handy yourself
A quick review of this topic under various guises in the HP forums shows you've been dealing with the HP Airplane wifi on/off key problem for nearly ten years. Vista, Win 7, 8, 10 ...
One might have expected HP to develop a simple generic driver for this key, standalone-downloadable on purchase of an HP notebook. Not so, it seems.
A pity, as HP notebooks are mostly good value and reliable. But the Fn12 airplane wifi key is a decade long mess from the evidence in the forums here.
03-09-2018 10:35 PM
Finally, mystery over.
The initial installation of HP Wireless Button (ie. F12 key) is done by preload in the Recovery partition of an HP factory install. This is so for Win7, 8 and 10 although the versions obviously differ.
The preload directory is unreachable through normal consumer operation (in fact, my file explorer is actually forcibly closed when attempting even just examination). So whatever preload programme is installed in my G5 Win7 machine (which allows the F12 key to work) cannot be analysed. HP know, of course, but I cannot find that information.
When a factory-installed Win10 is converted (reverted) to Win7, re-partitioning from GPT to MBR has to occur so that Win7 may install and operate normally. Repartitioning destroys the Recovery partition with its' preload directory. So the F12 key control cannot be initiated. So upgrades to the Wireless Button cannot work since the initial object is not there to begin with.
Perhaps someone has already extracted the contents of a Win7 preload ?
03-10-2018 06:18 PM
I haven't followed this conversation for a while as I'm for the most part a happy camper with WIndows 10 (I know, it can change with any update)
But earlier I had enough curiosity to download a bootable Fedora-Workstation-Live-x86_64-27-1.6.iso just to see how it would behave in my Pavilion 15 with the Intel 3168 WiFi adapter.
Turns out it worked just fine with the F12 Airplane mode switch and all.
If it would work in your hardware as well, maybe someone with enough skill could dig up the neccessary bits of information from the Linux sources and come up with a small utility to turn the **bleep** thing on.
Of course the sad reality is that Intel is in control of the microcode and that could be entirely different for the Windows driver. The Linux driver is loading about 1MB of code to the adapter so it is not the simplest contraption in the world.