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This might seem only as a Windows issue but please bear with me, I'll explain.

I have a low-end laptop that has an internal MMC storage chip (60GB) running Windows 11 without a problem. The laptop has a free SSD M.2 slot, so I got a 256GB one, plugged it in and installed Kali Linux image. Now, because the linux installer image does not contain all the drivers for my network card, after the installation I need to usb-tether my phone connected to home wifi. After I run apt update and apt full-upgrade and reboot, I can safely disconnect the tether and Kali linux is able to access the Wifi card and connect to the wireless networks available.

Here's the thing, when I'm done in Linux and boot to Windows, something happened and even when the network card is detected, it cannot detect any wireless networks. I need to remove the SSD with linux, reinstall windows and then it starts working again.

I've tried disabling fast boot in Windows, enabled/disabled secure boot, used all the troubleshooting steps described on the Microsoft forums, but I can't get it working. When I plug an external USB wifi thumb, both Windows and Kali detect it properly, install the drivers and can search for Wifi networks. I have even reinstalled all windows drivers and the wireless card drivers (provided by the manufacturer) to no avail.

I was wondering if installing Kali Linux's GRUB or running the apt update/upgrade might have messed something up inside windows on the other drive, or if Kali somehow does anything with UEFI/network chipset? I am not technically skilled enough to understand what happens on that layer of technology.

Thank you for any tips or troubleshooting steps.

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    Please, use another distro. Kali is for advances security researchers only. Any software which Kali supplies, can also be had on any other distro. Kali is not named after the Hindu god. What can't Kali just die?
    – Bib
    Nov 28, 2023 at 11:47
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    Thank you for stating what I already know. I have no problems with using Kali itself. Please move on.
    – Pajda
    Nov 28, 2023 at 15:02

1 Answer 1

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Here's the thing, when I'm done in Linux and boot to Windows, something happened and even when the network card is detected, it cannot detect any wireless networks.

Perhaps the Linux driver for the wireless card is so new, the developer has not yet implemented the correct "shutdown" sequence for the card, so the Linux shutdown will leave the card in the right kind of state that the Windows driver can take control of it. A complete power-off after running Linux should fix that in most cases, though.

For example, the mt76 driver for Mediatek/AMD wireless cards received fixes for such shutdown issues early this year.

I need to remove the SSD with linux, reinstall windows and then it starts working again.

Have you disabled the Windows Fast Startup feature (different from Fast Boot: Fast Boot is in BIOS settings, Fast Startup is a Windows setting)? If not, Windows will essentially hibernate instead of shutting down, and the WiFi driver may be confused by Linux changing the state of the WiFi card to something different from what the hibernated Windows remembers.

If the hardware and software states combine in an unfortunate way, then after using Linux, you might need to first power down the laptop to reset the WiFi hardware, then start Windows and select "Reboot" to perform an actual full reboot, to discard any hibernated WiFi driver state. Reinstalling Windows should not actually be necessary, unless the Windows driver does something very specially brain-damaged.

For more specific advice, you should have identified your wireless card: the appropriate line of output from lspci -nn or lsusb would be a good way to do that.

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  • Yes, I meant "fast startup" which I disabled. Sorry for the confusion,
    – Pajda
    Nov 28, 2023 at 14:57
  • One other thing I have observed. Without any reinstalls of either Linux or Windows, when I physically remove the SSD with Linux and boot to Windows only, Windows problem disappears and they instantly connect to the known network. When I put the SSD back and boot Windows, there still is no problem. When I change the boot sequence and start GRUB first and from GRUB I boot to Windows, there still is no problem and Windows can detect and connect to known networks. However as soon as I boot into Linux first, that thing somehow mess up Windows and they don't see any networks from now on.
    – Pajda
    Nov 28, 2023 at 14:59

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