How to Make DLink dwl-120 Wireless USB adaptor work with Windows XP

(posted 8/29/2004)- When you upgraded to Windows XP did your Dlink wireless usb adaptor stop working? Here's the reason, and a simple system driver fix.

As many of us moved off Win98 and ME onto Windows XP, we found that some of our USB devices stopped working. A specific case is the Dlink dwl-120 wireless USB adaptor.

The dwl-120 models which use the ATMEL VNET AT76C503A chip-set include hardware versions 1A, and B2 (refered to as the dwl-120a series in Dlink parlance). Windows XP, Service Pack 1 requires only a single system driver, vnetusba.sys and accompanying information file to operate with the series A's chipset. Unfortunately, the driver provided by Dlink is so ancient that it works only with the initial 2001 offering of XP (before SP1). The result, is a partial or non-functioning NDIS component that is not compatible with Windows XP-SP1 and beyond.

The fix is simple, even if the research wasn't. Here's the story: I went looking for other vendors that used the exact same chipset in their wireless adaptors. Turns out Linksys has a USB wireless adaptor (model WUSB11) that uses the same hardware. I hypothesized that the vnetusba.sys (XP system driver downloaded from the Dlink site) was not able to support XP SP1. I had previously noticed that the Dlink installation instructions included references to dialog windows for XP which looked different on XP SP1 installations. I downloaded the Linksys XP driver package and looked at the vnetusba.sys file version -- sure enough it was a later version ( So, I installed the ATMEL system driver from the LinkSys website with the updated vnetusba.inf file from the Dlink package (updating only the version fields in that file to match the newer driver). Viola! Problem resolved.

I've included the two files (updated Dlink vnetusb.inf and LinkSys vnetusba.sys) that you need to point-to when your dwl-120a hardware is initially detected by Windows XP. Just download them to a directory on your PC after clicking here on directory dwl120a_dvr ; then point to that directory when the hardware is detected using the 'look in specified location' option. The vnetusba.inf file is what 'instructs' the hardware wizard to load and initialize the vnetusba.sys driver.

I've performed this fix on 4 different machines (DELL, Compaq, IBM, and E-machines), and it has always cured the problem. I sent this info to Dlink but they're already 5 product versions ahead and can't be bothered to go back and fix 2+ year old bugs I guess.