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Hello. Trying re-posting on the Networking board. Be sure to tell them which operating system you have.
After an operating system installation you should follow the order of installation. You can skip the 1st item if you don't have it (Dell System software) but be sure to install the next item, Intel Chipset driver.
All of your drivers are on the Inspiron N5050 downloads page. You have to select your OS in the dropdown box, and if you navigate away from that page and return to it with your browser's back button, you have to re-select the OS -- unless yours is the default OS.
I tried to install the Intel Chipset driver that was on my Dell CD
Dell doesn't usually include discs anymore. I wonder if you could have been sent one by mistake, not meant for your model, because that Atheros driver you said is on it is not meant for an an Inspiron N5050.
You could download the Intel Express Chipset software through that link I posted, but be sure to select your operating system.
I assume that means the new hard drive already had a OS on it?
I have never heard of a new hard drive with Windows pre-installed on it. Which version of Windows is it? Dell only fully supports Win 7 on the N5050.
For what it's worth, the other option on my backup CD for Network drivers is Realtek RTL81XX PCI-E Network Connection. I installed that but it keeps wanting me to plug in a cable as if to say it's not a wireless network driver.
I think the Realtek RTL81xx PCI-E is an Ethernet device. By that, I mean the internet connection where you connect an Ethernet cable from a modem or router to the computer's network connection port.
There are some wi-fi drivers on the N5050 downloads page, in the Network category. Looks like there are a few "Dell" branded wireless drivers. That is probably for wireless hardware made by some company like Broadcom but using the Dell brand name. Probably one of those drivers is what you need.
This is the Laptop Audio board and this stuff is outside my particular area. If you post on the Wireless board those guys should be able to tell you how to determine which wireless hardware you have and which driver you need for it.
I did mean the Intel Express Chipset.