Fixing Control Panel crash on Dell (Win 7)

Ever since I got my new laptop, I’ve had this annoying problem that whenever I start the control panel for the first time, explorer crashes. In fact it happened the very first day. I didn’t think much of this at the time since I never did visit it that often and I had created a shortcut to Services on the start menu.

But I just figured out it’s a utility called the DW WLAN utility (talk about redundant) that was the cause. Fairly simple to discern as I took a screenshot of the control panel pre and post crash. Only the DW WLAN utility and the Intel Graphics icons are missing. Note : The icons on the control panel are arranged from left to right in classic view.

I knew it couldn’t be Intel Graphics as the utility was already running in the system tray and I never used DW WLAN.

How to fix it?

First make sure you have a directory called C:\Drivers\network. If you do and see a couple of release folders already, then you’re all set. But first download the latest BIOS and Application utility updates but don’t install them yet. This will be a painful experience.

As a safety net, you may also want to have a wired connection to the Internet.

Then, go into Programs and Features (after the crash, of course) and uninstall the DW WLAN utility. Now in the Device Manager, you’ll see the Network Controller is unidentified. Install all those BIOS and Application utility updates, reboot and come back to the Device Manager. Right click on the Network controller, select “Update Driver Software” and then navigate to the above C:\Drivers\network folder for the search location.

If everything went right, you can now use your wireless connection without DW WLAN and still be able open the Control Panel without crashing.

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