Get Wi-Fi working on Dell Inspiron 1501 with Ubuntu

This howto would help you to get Wi-Fi card working on Dell Inspiron 1501 laptop with ndiswrapper driver on Ubuntu. It was tested by me on Ubuntu Feisty.

  1. Delete previous appearances of ndiswrapper in your system:
    sudo rmmod ndiswrapper
    sudo apt-get remove ndiswrapper-utils
    sudo gnome-search-tool
    ndiswrapper (type “ndiswrapper”, select “Look in folder” as “/” and press “Find” as it’s shown at the screenshot, select ALL found items and Move them to Trash [right click on selected items])
  2. Run again:
    sudo rmmod ndiswrapper
    sudo apt-get remove ndiswrapper-utils
  3. Get necessary packages:
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install build-essential
    sudo apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r`
  4. Get ndiswrapper:
  5. Get the Windows driver for your Dell 1501:
  6. Make folder:
    mkdir /home/YOUR_LOGIN_NAME/.drivers
  7. Now we will move ndiswrapper and R140747.EXE to the folder we just made:
    mv /home/YOUR LOGIN NAME/ndiswrapper-1.47.tar.gz /home/YOUR LOGIN NAME/.drivers
    mv /home/YOUR LOGIN NAME/R140747.EXE /home/YOUR LOGIN NAME/.drivers
  8. Uncompress the ndiswrapper:
    cd /home/YOUR LOGIN NAME/.drivers
    tar -xzvf ndiswrapper-1.47.tar.gz
  9. Blacklist the broken and useless bcm43xx firmware drivers that try to load in a default Ubuntu install:
    sudo echo blacklist bcm43xx >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
  11. Point your terminal to the ndiswrapper-1.47 folder.
    cd /home/YOUR LOGIN NAME/.drivers/ndiswrapper-1.47
  12. Compile ndiswrapper:
    sudo make uninstall
    sudo make
    sudo make install
  13. Use the Windows driver with ndiswrapper to get wifi working:
    cd /home/YOUR LOGIN NAME/.drivers
    unzip -a R140747.EXE
    cd /home/YOUR LOGIN NAME/.drivers/DRIVER
    sudo ndiswrapper -i bcmwl5.inf

    sudo ndiswrapper -l
    sudo ndiswrapper -m
    sudo modprobe ndiswrapper
  15. Test Wi-Fi:
    Wi-Fi light on your laptop should be illuminated, if not you can always turn it off and on with the Fn+F2 (Function & F2 Key). Try running this to see if your wireless card is functioning properly.
    sudo iwlist scanning

Please note: don’t forget to change YOUR LOGIN NAME with your login name! 🙂


Stefan Durand

My name is Stefan, I'm the admin of LinuxScrew. I am a full-time Linux/Unix sysadmin, a hobby Python programmer, and a part-time blogger. I post useful guides, tips, and tutorials on common Linux and Programming issues. Feel free to reach out in the comment section.

1 thought on “Get Wi-Fi working on Dell Inspiron 1501 with Ubuntu”

  1. Have tried to install wifi on dell 1501 laptop & have made it to step 6 and no farther. I an clueless on this. Using Limux Mint 8, 64 bit, so far it has been easy and time consuming.

    Any ideas???


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